A few days ago, I tried the “Ask Me a Question” feature on my Instagram story. If you haven’t used it, the feature allows you to invite your followers to ask you anything. Then you can respond to whichever questions you select.

One of the best questions I received was, “How do you get motivated to write daily?”

I responded wryly, “I check my bank account balance.”

My answer was cheeky but also true. I’ve always thought of writing more as a calling and a job than a high art form. While other writers engage in all kinds of creative exercises to awaken their muse, I get up and write even in the absence of inspiration because, well, that’s my job. I have to pay rent whether my muse shows up or not.

But when I began to write my fourth book a few years ago, I took a somewhat different approach. Rather than merely focus on producing content, I took seriously the space in which I produced that content.

I focused not just on efficiency of the craft, but also the environment. The more I thought of writing this way, the more I saw it as a multi-sensory discipline.

When I considered my eyes, I discovered that certain levels of light were more generative for me than others.

When I considered my ears, I learned that chaotic noise produced chaotic thoughts. This helped me recognize that certain types of music greased the wheels of the creative process. (Hint: Music without lyrics.)

When I considered my nose, I realized that pleasant smells had a surprising way of rousing the inner-writer. A lingering stench from last night’s meatloaf had a away of slowing me down, while a well-chosen candle sped up the process.

Over time, I noticed I had a favorite candle: Maison Louie Marie No. 4 Bois de Balincourt. It has rich notes that morph from sandalwood to nutmeg, cinnamon and vetiver. Whenever I sat to read, research, or write “Learning to Speak God from Scratch,” I burned this candle first. Overtime, it became a Pavlovian trigger for creativity.

Assuming a multi-sensory approach helped me write my best book.

Today, I want to celebrate YOU—my readers—by giving away a select number of these lovely soy babies in hopes that it’s varied notes will tickle your nose and perhaps stir your spirit, too.

You can enter MULTIPLE times for FREE by simply clicking the form below.

Jonathan’s Favorite Things, Week 2

WE’LL BE CONTACTING LAST WEEK’S WINNERS SOON: Mike Rosner, Sean Wood, Tara Cogdell, Benjamin Wesley, Justin Woulard

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Written by Jonathan