Guest post Stephen Zimmer

Today Stephen Zimmer is stopping by on the blog for his Spirit of Fire Blog Tour. Spirit of Fire is the third book in his Fires in Eden series.

My Writing Environment: Setting the Right Mindset 

All writers certainly have their quirks, and I am no exception. In a recent interview, I was asked about what kind of coffee shops or bookstores I like to write in, and I had to chuckle because I’m afraid I would completely flop in any attempt to write in such public places. I really admire the ability of those who write in that kind of environment and can keep distractions at bay. 

As for me, there is nothing exotic to my particular method, but I have found that the approach I have come to embrace really works for me in terms of setting the right mood.

There are some intrinsic components to establishing my optimal writing environment.
The first involves the computer I use for writing. It is an older model that has been dedicated solely to my writing for several years, and is located in another room entirely from the one where my much more current PC and home office is. Even further, my writing computer is not connected to the internet. This is very much on purpose, as I do not want any lines to blur between my writing and the million and one things that involve the home office.
The second main component of my approach involves music. Some people don’t like to write with music on, but I do, and it serves a definite purpose. I have lived in a suburb during my writing years, and I have found that music brings me a very practical benefit. It creates a bubble of sorts, erecting a barrier that shields out the sounds of the outside to a large extent.

Further, hard rock/metal music has always been very conducive to my imagination, as it is a genre of music that often uses fantastical themes, as any listener of Black Sabbath or Rush know (Rush’s latest release is a steampunk-themed concept album, in fact!) The energy in it is something that meshes very well with the things that I write. I do not concentrate on the music when I am in a writing session, but the flow and energy in it certainly helps my vibe!

Speaking of energy, I have always kept caffeine handy when writing. No, I am not a big coffee drinker, but I have developed a rather significant affinity for Monster Energy drinks, to the extent that at my latest hometown signing I had one wonderful individual bake me cupcakes that had both cake and icing made using Monster Energy drinks, and another lovely individual bring me a full can to drink during my evening presentation!

Yes, I may have gotten a little bit of a reputation in that regard, but it is true that I absolutely love Monster Energy in all of its forms. It has been my undisputed favorite since I had my first can of the classic flavor about 8 years ago. I do not over-consume it, but I do feel a nice boost and strengthened focus that does not leave me jittery like sodas tended to do farther in the past. I sip it and savor it when writing, but it has become quite a fixture at the overwhelming majority of my writing sessions.

The topic of energy also applies to the final main component, that involving my level of fatigue on any given day. My schedule is incredible busy nowadays. As any author in the modern publishing climate will tell you, you have to wear many hats, and things can get a little hectic just in terms of supporting my own work, not counting all of the PR work I do for other SSP authors, the part-time broadcast job I still have to do, duties for a convention I’m serving as literary track director for, and several other things in my life.

My writing now happens in the morning, when my mind is freshest and not distracted. There are times that I do another writing session at night, but only under certain conditions. I have found that when I write under the weight of significant fatigue I end up having to rework everything pretty extensively, so I don’t push things when I am feeling tired. If heavy fatigue is there, then it is best not to do a second session for the day.

So that’s pretty much it in terms of describing my own best environment for writing. The main focus of it is to eliminate distractions, which is why I am amazed at how many writers are so productive while writing in public places like coffee shops.

My approach is best for me, though, and I have found that the components described above have helped me come to a point where I snap into a writing mindset mentally when I am seated at that particular computer, with music shielding me from the outside noises, a Monster Energy drink at hand, and a mind that is clear and focused. I suppose you could say that when those conditions are in place, I am ready to rock in a literary sense!


Want to learn more about Stephen Zimmer? You can find him here:

Deep Within Everyone, There is a Spirit of Fire...
A maelstrom of war engulfs lands resisting the designs of the Unifier to bring about a new order, of a kind that has never existed within Ave. Battered by a massive invasion force from Gallea, the tribal people of the Five Realms and their Midragardan allies are being driven eastward, towards the sea, while the Saxan lines are wearing down ever thinner on the Plains of Athelney.
Time is running out quickly, as an ancient creature of legend soars through the skies with a brave young Saxan. They carry the desperate hopes of two realms sorely beset by a voracious enemy.Diabolic entities conduct a great hunt, as a malignant darkness deepens across all of Ave. Exiles from another world must gain refuge, or find themselves ensnared by the long reach of the Unifier. The very nature of creation itself stands in the balance.
It is a time when the honor and fortitude of many are put to the test, and terrible prices are paid for resisting great evils. It is also a time of awakening for many, old and young alike, some of whom may yet discover the spirit of fire that lies within.

Also don't forget to check out the first two books in the Fires in Eden series:

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