Your five senses are wonderful tools to tap into when you need focus on writing a novel.
Tricking your senses into bringing you into your created world can be one of the best ways to realign your focus with the task at hand.
By controlling your environment you can alter your mood to suit your goals. I’ve chosen my novel writing mood enhancers based on psychological articles, magickal and incense burner pagan texts, homeopathic sources and my own personal preferences. Fell free to adjust the suggestions below to your liking. Nobody knows how to tap into your creative thought process better than you.
Sight: A burning candle, lit at the beginning of your work and ceremonially snuffed out when it’s time to put the work to rest is a wonderful visual aid. A yellow candle is used in candle magick for creativity (among many other uses) so it tends to be my colour of choice. Another useful tip is to keep notes of inspirational quotes around your work area.
Hearing: Having some relaxing sounds or triumphant classical overtures can really set the mood for your scenes. The sound of waterfalls, wind chimes, or a full orchestra can help you focus on the task at hand. Myself, I prefer silence. No television or radio, just the tap tap tap of my fingers on the keyboard or the sound of my own breathing when brainstorming.
Touch: Is the smooth feeling of pen in hand or the giving release of the keys under your fingers enough of the sense of touch to fulfill this sense? Perhaps, perhaps not. What about during the brainstorming period when no writing or keyboarding is being done? Different textures in your hands can help. Some people use a stress ball, some tap their pens, and some bounce a ball against the wall. Personally, I knit. Putting time aside to indulge the touch sense is a wonderful brainstorming tool. Another note on touch can be the clothing you choose to wear when you write. Not that you need a specific set PJs or a track suit that you must wear every time you work on your novel, but maybe a bracelet, a special scrunchie, a scarf, a particular pair of slippers – something, anything that you wear only while you are working on your project.
Smell: It is well known that smell is one of our most powerful senses for memory. Lighting a stick of incense, or even doubling up the sight/smell by using a scented candle can do the trick. Vanilla scented incense is my personal favorite, but let your nose do the choosing and pick a scent that might appeal specifically to you.
Taste: When you are sitting down to do your writing, you’ve most likely shut off the rest of the world and have put the time aside to focus on your project. It could be for a short burst or a good long haul. Regardless of your pattern, having a special drink you treat yourself too when its time to focus on your project can help remind you that this is “work time”. It adds to the atmosphere that this is your world, your time, your novel. I make myself a cup of Aveda comforting tea if I know I have more than an hour to focus and a cup of Earl Grey if my time is more limited.
Following these tactics is not something you want to start when the creative juices are NOT flowing. You want to start using these methods as early as possible, including the brainstorming phase.
Though this article is directed towards writing a novel, any creative project can be optimized by tapping into all of your senses.