Monday, November 21, 2011

How Do You Write?

Lately I've been noticing some of my writing quirks, and it got me thinking about how I write and the circumstances I prefer while writing.

For example, while I was drafting I preferred to write OUT, like at a cafe. I also preferred to have a hot beverage, like coffee or tea, while writing.

Now that I'm revising, I prefer to write at home. Preferably on my couch. Preferably with a hot beverage. But I'm also noticing that I can't concentrate if anyone else is in the room. I've tried to put earbuds in and listen to music, but that doesn't really cut it. For whatever reason, I just cannot focus if someone else is there. As I write this, my husband is in the room and it's not distracting me at all, so apparently this just applies to novel writing. Anyway, because of this, my writing time starts around 11:30pm and ends around 2:00am. I usually never go to bed that late! But, alas, it's what's working for me right now. (Some of you might be wondering why I don't just go into another room. Sometimes I do! But I also concentrate better when nobody else is AWAKE and I'm REALLY alone :) I know...I'm only hurting myself here!)

I'm also learning that I like to use a fresh document every time I sit down to write. This is a really new thing that I just discovered last week. I noticed that if I see a ton of words in the document, all I can think about are those words and if they're good enough and if that's really how I wanted to execute that scene. But if I skim over what I last wrote to get into the mindset, and then start writing in a fresh, blank document, I can write more...and also write better. A blank page makes me feel more creative and free, if that makes sense. Then once I'm done I paste it into the original document. Voila!

I really do wish that I could write anywhere, at any time, with or without anyone in the room. I know that I COULD if I had to (though I DO think my best work happens under my preferred circumstances). I'm not sure if these quirks are temporary or permanent (hopefully temporary!), but they are what they are.

So, what I want to know is this: How do you write? Do you have writing quirks, preferred circumstances, etc.? I'm very interested to know!


  1. I would love a quiet house.. but I write with two little boys around me, doing what boys do, running, playing, fighting, tugging at me for snuggles or snacks.... it's a zoo in here.

    I can't write at night, my brain is in shutdown mode by 8 pm.
    I write as soon as we get up in the morning, which is usually by 6 am, and then sometimes after lunch for a bit.

    but I always have a hot beverage with me, always.. coffee if it's before noon, hot tea if after.

  2. I definitely write better if I'm alone, but I'm getting better at tuning things out. Headphones and music help, as does knowing the other person is busy concentrating on something else. If I feel like they're hovering around, or looking over my shoulder, my concentration breaks and can be hard to get back.

    I've also had some very successful runs of 'writing out'. Last spring, my daughter took a class at a college. I had to drive her there, then I'd go have a coffee and wait for the class to end. I got a lot done. The change of venue and tools (pen and paper) were good for me.

  3. I love to draft OUT as well, then revise at my desktop. It seems to work out well that way!