Summary: Pretty much what the title says. ;)
Date Of Completion: August 7, 2011
Date Of Posting: August 7, 2011
Word Count: 565
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: All essays can be found here.
Location, Location, Location!!!
I’d like to do a series of essays on How I Write, covering topics like the mechanics, inspiration, and a method to the madness, and the first one is pretty simple: how do I physically go about it?
I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t need absolute quiet nor do I need music or the right time of day or any of the other things that some writers do need to write. I can write on a plane, I can write on a train, I can write in a moat, I can write in a boat…;)
What I need is paper (usually a notebook) and pencil or pen, or a computer and keyboard. I have three methods of writing: all on the computer, half on the computer and half in the notebook, all in the notebook. Lately I’ve been writing most of my work in a notebook and then revising as I type, but it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. I’ve found that writing, while needing boundaries, does not need a litany of ironclad rules.
I have written in airports, on planes, on boats, in cars, the bowling alley (while waiting for my teammates), and in the doctor’s office waiting to be called for my appointment. I have written at cons during panels and in my room and in sessions with other fans. I usually write at home, and if I’m using the computer, it’s in my office. Otherwise it’s on the couch or in a chair or out in the gazebo.
Background noise for me is no problem. I used to do homework while watching TV and was a straight-A student, so my mind can compartmentalize as I write. While utter silence is my least favorite method, it sometimes works very well for me. Usually I’ll write with either sports talk radio on, or one of my CDs, though I don’t always match up the music to what I’m writing. I have found that the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight soundtracks can help me if I’m working on a dramatic or sad piece, and Superman Returns is for more upbeat stories. Superhero soundtracks can definitely work for more than just DC Comics fandom.
When I write Public Enemies fic, the soundtrack from the movie is a good backdrop, and so is jazz or swing. Classical music can go with just about anything, and then sometimes I’m in the mood for pop or rock.
Other CDs in my collection include Native American flute music, ethnic Italian and Irish music, and New Age pieces.
Unless I’m not feeling well, I can multi-task when I’m on the couch, watching TV and listening to the radio and writing in my notebook. If the TV program is a Patriots’ football game or a convoluted story, I’ll wait until the commercials to write. Tommy requires my complete attention! ;)
When I walk, I’ll sometimes listen to the radio, or just Nature. And when I’m taking that daily walk, I’ll often write scenes or entire stories in my head. It helps me generate ideas and work out logjams.
The setting is important, whether you need absolute quiet or a brass band marching through the room. Each writer is different, but there is one hard-and-fast rule that I do go by:
And that is the topic for my next essay. :)