Writing by candlelight has always been my favourite way to write. I am lucky to have the perfect location for it, on the third floor of my grandma’s ancient home, at a large wooden desk set by the window. Most are not fortunate enough to have this kind of arrangement, but it hardly makes a difference. Candlelight has the ability to make even the most dreary location beautiful. Here are five reasons why you should be writing by candlelight:
- To take a break from screens and electric light. These days, much of our time is spent in front of screens. It’s often difficult to get away from laptops, the t.v., and especially handheld devices. Writing on a laptop all the time is physically tiring to the mind as well as the eyes, and even writing on paper under the glare of electric light can be exhausting. Light a candle. You’ll be saving electricity as you write into the evening, while simultaneously giving your poor mind and eyes a break.
- To eliminate distractions. Good writing requires a lot of focus, and usually for longer periods of time. Distractions can put this focus on pause, or even destroy it completely. By writing solely by candlelight, you will be eliminating the larger distractions which require electricity and artificial light, like the internet, television, and texts from friends. Using candles as a light source also decreases visual distractions within the room (you can literally only see the page you write on), allowing for the most focused mindset possible.
- To keep a schedule. In order to write by candlelight, you must be writing at night. This may not be your preferable time to write, but if you do choose to write by candlelight, you will be forced into a schedule. Whether you write one day a week or seven, your mind will become accustomed to jumping into a creative mood at the end of the day, when the candles are lit. Keeping a consistent schedule, at least in the time of day that you choose to write, leads to habit, and habit leads to constant practice and improvement in writing technique.
- To relax. Because writing by candlelight necessitates writing at night time, it also means that you will be emptying your mind of ideas and thoughts before going to bed. Speaking from personal experience, writing before sleep has not only relaxed me, it has been in all ways therapeutic. It may not be the same for everyone, but consistently I have been more happy and satisfied with the day after writing in the evening. Give it a try!
- To set the mood. Whether you are writing a poem, a story, an academic paper, a letter to a friend, or a list of things to do the following day, lighting a candle is a very simple and effective way to enhance the atmosphere in which you write. Creative writing can be especially influenced by the writer’s surroundings, so lighting a candle the next time you work on a piece of art is definitely a good idea. There is simply something inspiring and freeing about being tucked away in a corner with a notebook, a pen, and one burning candle. There is an air of mystery and privacy to it. In the quietness, and in the dark, every word written seems suddenly vital. With only one small ring of light to work by, the real world falls away, and the world of the page, the world of writing, pushes prominently into existence.
The next time you want to express your bright ideas, try lighting a candle. It may give you that extra kick you need to make your writing that much better.