By Chase Maser
We all have an image of ourselves typing away late into the night. Our creativity is flowing at maximum levels, the words seem to spill onto paper like water over the falls, and time feels more like a friend than a critic. It’s hard to get into the mindset of the craft, but there are many things you can do to set yourself up for a promising session.
All of us at pspoets want to see your artistry thrive, and that means that we want to do everything we can to make sure you’re getting the most out of your work. Sitting down and forcing yourself to hammer out a few words will only get you so far, so here are # ways for you to get inspired before writing.
1. Make a Cup of Coffee or Tea
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to start your writing sessions with a ritual. For me, I automatically put myself in a position to focus and create when I make a hot cup of coffee or tea. Since 2018 came around, I made a resolution to scale back on the java (each day is a struggle), but I’ve found that making a cup of black tea with a little almond milk is a close second.
The simple act of putting water on the stove, choosing a special mug, steeping a favorite flavor, and sitting down at the desk inspires me to get to work. The warmth of the beverage helps shake away any anxieties about starting, and I always love to see the steam rise from the cup as I’m contemplating the last lines of a stanza.
p.s. Having a beer or a glass of whiskey can also be a great way to get in the mood if that’s more your taste. After all, Bukowski is sort of our mascot.
2. Open the Windows
At times, I can get so caught up in an assignment or a creative project that I’ll keep myself in a dungeon for hours—ultimately weakening the quality of my work. I’ll realize that I completely squandered a beautiful morning, or maybe the rain has been falling all afternoon, and I haven’t even opened the blinds to enjoy it!
Now, I always make it a point to pull back the shade, open the windows, and let the air stream in unencumbered. Even if it’s a small amount of interaction, recognizing the day will ignite you with energy. Plus, if you’re aware of how beautiful it is outside, you’ll be encouraged to get your work done and experience it!
3. Write Outside
To go along with #2, if you’re fed up with your space indoors, pack up your work station and transfer it to a patio or front porch. Maybe there’s a park close by to your house, or maybe you’re only a mile or so from the beach? For me, most of my writing has to happen online for other clients and deadlines, but that doesn’t stop me from pulling a Thoreau and embracing nature. I’ll grab an extension cord from the closet, run the cable out to my little alleyway on the side of my building, and I’ll post up in a lawn chair with an ice cold Pacifico.
Getting some sunshine brings a whole new approach to your writing, and the environment will always instill passion into whatever you’re creating.
4. Do Some Reading Beforehand
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down at my typewriter only to stare at it for an hour before I wrote something down. Throughout my development as a writer, I’ve learned that unless I have an idea gnawing away at me, or a feeling that I’ve been ruminating with for some time, I always need a little bit of guidance from other writers to get my poetry in motion (pun intended).
Who better to seek advice from Kerouac, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe? We collect books and pile them onto our shelves and dressers for a reason—to help us find a voice of our own in the midst of humanity. If I’m feeling at a loss for words, I turn to those who have multitudes to say, and their words always help me find a place of my own to start from.
5. Take a Nap
This may seem counterintuitive to the writing process, but for me, taking a nap—anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour—always revitalizes my brain and energizes my body. Think about it, if you’re straining to keep your eyes open, and a 3 O’clock lull hits you like a freight train, why not unplug and find a quiet place to realign?
I equate it to driving while your eyes are heavy. You can’t just power through the freeway and nod off, so you might as well pull over, roll the windows down and count a few sheep. When you wake up, you’ll feel refreshed, and you can make up the time later by burning the midnight oil.
6. Use a Typewriter
If all else fails, the best thing you can do for your creative writing is to use a typewriter.
There’s something comforting about using a device with a specific purpose. Too often, we resort to logging onto the computer or pulling out or phones to capture our ideas, but our reliance on electronics stifles our overall efficiency. I don’t know about you, but when I’m typing on my laptop, I constantly am distracted by emails, Facebook messages, and catchy news articles. In the span of an hour, I’ve probably only had 20 minutes of pure writing, which is basically a total waste when it comes to getting something finished. At that rate, it will take me years to finish a novel, and I don’t want to be an old man at my book release.
Switching your weapon of choice to a typewriter will keep you on track and eliminate outside variables. You feed paper in the top, set your margins, adjust your spacing, and then you let your soul do the work. You’ll be surprised at how much you can write when nothing else grabs your attention.
What’s Your Favorite Way to Get Inspired?
Keep in mind, these things are just suggestions based on what works for me. Everyone is different, and everyone will approach their work in a unique way, but hopefully these ideas will help you stay on track if you’re going astray.
We would love to hear about your writing tips and tricks! Post a comment below or send us an email to let us know how you get creative! We are always looking for contributors to our blog, so please inquire today!
By Amanda Ortiz
Spoil yourself + fellow writer friends this holiday season. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Personalized Leather Journal
2. Typewriter Patent Mug
4. Floating Letterboard
Let us know what gift ideas you have below!
By Denise Mckenzie
Charles Bukowski has long been an influence on me. I am not sure exactly what attracted me to his writing first. Was it his grittiness? His openness? I’ve always liked ’em a little rough around the edge… my favorite writers, my man, my friends, my life. There is a certain precarious charm to living on the fringe. I suppose I felt that I related to the old man in some ways. He wrote about being ordinary and I liked that. I think the first book I read was his very last novella, Pulp. I loved it. I read Post Office, Women, a couple others. Then I started delving into his poetry.
It is easy to see Bukowski as a surly, chauvinistic alcoholic man pig who can’t stop writing about his grubby life “mounting” as many fast women as he could in shitty 1970’s Los Angeles motels and rundown apartments, his weekly trips to the Hollywood Park Race Track and his general distaste for humanity. Not exactly a feminist icon or a role model at all. Most people probably wouldn’t even want to have a drink with him. But, fuck- was he real? Was he raw? More than any writers I can think of, especially of his time. He said things in his poetry that most people would not even consider saying out loud, let alone print on paper.
He chronicled his dirty, desperate drunken nights in bars across the city, at home with his women or alone with his typewriter. He did this in simple, poetic, relatable and at times, beautiful ways. He had a weak spot for horse races and Heineken. He liked classical music. He loved his cats. He even loved some of the women he wrote about, though he may have had a funny way of showing it at times.
Chuck was a real blue-collar type. A somewhat average Joe with a poetic soul writing about the mundane and seemingly meaningless existence of someone who works at a post office or some other mind-numbing job. He was a regular guy with gambling problems, relationship issues, possible struggles with alcoholism. A guy who could be very blunt about his obvious disregard for what you think, what Academia thinks, what the world thinks. He was someone who went home alone with a bottle of who the fuck cares and a pack of smokes to a machine with letters to type away the boring staleness that is unavoidable in all human existence. He was a cranky old bastard who was also a realist. No shame in telling you exactly what you don’t want to hear. This quality in a human can be abrasive but refreshing. I would have a drink with him.
I just picked Storm for the Living and the Dead: Uncollected and Unpublished Poems, the latest release of Bukowski’s works. The editor Abel Debritto intended to keep the newly published poems for the most part as they were originally written. Debritto has edited several other Bukowski editions and I think does a good job. So far, I am digging the Storm. I also hear that City Lights will be releasing something of Bukowski’s next year, which will be rad.
Philosopher’s Stone Poetry’s next event is BUKOWSKI POETRY NIGHT on December 5th at Gravlax in Los Angeles. We will be honoring the dirty old writer in his city of fallen angels by reading his iconic poems and sharing our most Bukowski-inspired work. I will be reading a poem from the new book and raffling off some of my artwork. Bring a friend, have some drinks and cheers to Chuck!
“To do a dull thing with style-now that’s what I call art.” – Charles Bukowski
Follow Nisi's Blog here.
By Amanda Ortiz
Nisi is a creative, talented friend who's also our social media manager here at pspoets. If you haven't met her yet, this interview will give a little insight into her awesome soul.
1. What is your name? Denise "Nisi" Mckenzie
2. Where are you from? Northwest Ohio
3. What is your profession? Poet, Creative Human... at my paying job I am a "Pinterest Specialist".
4. What are your hobbies? I like to travel, write, read, take photos, make art, listen to music, garden, cook...anything that allows me to be creative. I also took up snowboarding last year.
5. Why is writing special to you? For as long as I can remember, I've kept a notebook with my scribbles, poems, journal entries, etc. Writing has always been there and always will be.
6. Who is your favorite writer or poet? Lately, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
7. What is your favorite book? Also a hard one! The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño.
8. What inspires you to write creatively? Life, death, the seasons in between, the places I go, the natural world vs. the mandmade.
9. What is your best advice for other writers? Keep living. Don't get too caught up in yourself. Find the unsaid in the world around you and create a voice for it. Let everything inspire you.
10. What is your favorite thing about being part of pspoets? I've been looking for a group like this since I left college. After living in 3 major cities, I've found it! It's awesome to be a part of something that I am passionate about, and to watch it grow is pretty exciting.
Thank you for being you, Nisi! Check out her work and photos @nisipoesy.
By Amanda Ortiz
What is your perfect writing environment? Describe the temperature, lighting, and furniture arrangement from your perspective, as if you were sitting in the room. What color are the walls? Elaborate on the details of the space.
In 100 words or less, construct those observations into a poem.
Share your work below, or enter our poet of the month contest for a chance to be featured on the home page. Happy writing!
By Amanda Ortiz
Need some writing inspo? Check these out and give one a try!
1. Describe the sound of the woods breathing.
2. Describe the essence of a full moon on a cold night.
3. Write a poem from the perspective of a falling leaf.
4. Describe something you see everyday outside of your home.
5. What is silence?
6. Write a haiku about your favorite food.
7. Write about a place you only see in your dreams.
8. The open road is yours. Where are you going?
9. Write a poem about your lover as you would describe a fruit.
10. Find an object near you. Write a poem from the perspective of that object.
Comment your own creative writing prompt below!