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Sensory Overload and Writing Performance

Being easily distracted means a tendency towards sensory overload. It should go without saying, but it comes as a surprise to many that being sensitive to external stimuli is a common trait. Certain fabrics, background noise, and other mild discomforts can eclipse everything else in your thoughts and soon becomes something to hyperfocus on. While others can easily tune these annoyances if you find them overwhelming enough that it takes away from getting fully into your writing than it wouldn't hurt to pay attention to what bothers you the most often. Over the years I've come up with a writing kit that contains all the items that I need to be comfortable when writing. This is especially helpful when I'm writing away from home.


It puts the lotion on its skin. Seriously though dry skin drives me crazy. I have mild eczema so dry skin is more than just irritating it can be downright painful. I've learned to keep a travel size tube of lotion in my bag, so it's one less thing I have to fixate on when I'm trying to write.

Hair Ties

There's this movie called Over The Top where Sylvester Stalone has to flip his hat around to win arm-wrestling matches (yeah, I don't know either) but I can kinda relate to that. For some reason when I tie my hair back it gets me in the right head space to write. It's like a switch that tells me it's time to get down to business.

Lip Balm

See lotion.


Chewing, in general, gets the creative juices flowing. When I feel like I’m stuck, it helps unstick me. Bonus points because it keeps me from mindless snacking and it's non-perishable.

Small Notebook and Pen

I do the majority of my writing on a computer, but sometimes I have to physically write out a scene or mind map a story to fully get into a scene. I'm so over scribbling on the back of receipts and random napkins that just get lost or accidentally thrown out.

Cords and Charger

I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t be counted on to remember to charge my tablet, and it isn’t until I’m settled in at a coffee shop for several hours of writing that I realize the battery is dead or dying. Then the food comes, and I have to eat in sad silence as I kick myself for wasting time all because I forgot a power cord. Now I keep cords for my keyboard, tablet, AND phone with me along with an external battery in case I can’t sit near an outlet. (Truth time: I keep two batteries with me because I can’t be trusted to charge the batteries consistently either, or remember to put them back in bag...le sigh).


Background noise just kills my creativity. Bustling sounds of a cafe may be perfect for some, but if an irritating song comes on the radio or a loud customer sitting right by me talks over all the words in my head, it’s the end for my writing time.

Your kit can include anything that you need for a good writing session. Some people need candy to snack on or a fidget spinner to toy with as they brainstorm. If you have a lucky writing item that could go in there as well. Mine evolved over time as I made a note of hurdles to writing efficiently. Planning ahead isn’t something I'm great at so I just put all these things in a little pencil case and keep it in my writing bag at all times, so I don't have to even think about it until I need it.


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