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  • Writer's pictureTantra Bensko

What I Do When Writing

Updated: May 28, 2018

The coffee you see in this picture? That's the LAST thing I would ever do when writing a novel. Other than, maybe, stand on my elbow. Maybe.

A few days ago, I broke my rule of zero caffeine because I made raw cacao truffles for a friend's birthday. I took a couple teeny tiny nibbles in the process to decide on ingredients. BAD IDEA.

Caffeine is my bugaboo


Oh, I wrote, alright. Starting that morning, and all day and all night. And it's now a few days later -- I don't even know. The days run together when there is nothing resembling a night.

Adrenals Don't Like Over-stimulation, No, Not One Itty Bitty

No decaf coffee, no theobromine (I know, technically raw cacao has that instead of caffeine, but whatever.) My adrenals don't care. I get shaky, weak and pale and I have to recuperate so I can't write as much in the next days. #amwriting.

What I Do Instead

“Sedentary is the new smoking.”

I get up every hour and pace, dance around the house, act out character walks, expressions, and gestures, direct the emotion of a scene like a symphony conductor, interpret the plot line with my body. I get exercise but it's not random movement; it's targeted to help me generate new ideas, get a better idea of my story. If I'm writing a male POV, I do testosterone-inducing movements. If I'm writing a fragile elderly lady, or a child, or whatever, I move in a way that gets my hormones and mind-set appropriate.

That Revs Me Up

When I dance around during breaks from writing, I usually am silent, to keep the words, moods, and ideas from being influenced by the outside. But other times I listen to a Pandora station that my character would listen to. For example, the characters in Floating On Secrets are really into Neo-Psych Rock. Luckily, so am I! (Though I like a lot of other kinds of music too.) The woman, Flair, tends to go for the softer side of the spectrum and Austin likes the heavier. With Pandora, I can skip ahead to the next song if a soft one comes on while I'm writing in Austin's POV.

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