People don’t typically ask how you write. They seem more concerned with the content or what drove you to write, but how a writer accomplishes their task is just as interesting. The writing process is so different for each person that I am always interested in learning how others “get it done.” I have found there are a few writing stereotypes that I fall into.
The Procrastinator: I love to write, but sometimes I have to complete everything on my to do list before I can get my creative juices flowing. The dog needs a walk, it’s lunch time, my room is too dirty, the excuses abound. It isn’t until everything is perfect that I can start to craft my stories. It’s difficult to encourage creativity when your brain is going in a million different directions. To fight the procrastination monster I try to keep the distractions to a minimum. So turn off the TV, give the dog a bone, and put on some soothing music… I’ve been enjoying Adele and the new Decemberists’s album. The key is to remove tempting distractions and get down to business. Also, I always make sure I have a drink and a snack near by–just in case.
The Homebody: More often than not I try to write at home. I love the comfort of my bed and a big glass of Diet Dr. Pepper to encourage me, but it seems like whenever I write in my home my characters aren’t as interesting, or my scene ends up flat. As much as I love writing in the comfort of my own bedroom, I know that I do my best work writing in the company of others. I love hitting up a Starbucks or Barnes and Noble and just occupying a chair for a while. The people are great creative fodder and having rows of books surrounding me keeps me focused on my goal. I can just imagine one day having my name grace those shelves.
The Determined: This happens to me a lot. I want to write a scene so badly that I force it. I am determined to finish a chapter so I rush through the details. I am so involved with fitting my writing time into a block of space that I forget to let it happen organically. The need to complete a page or section is a powerful motivator to get things done, but it all happens in good time. I try to carve out a chuck of time for my writing–say an hour everyday– but some days I just need more time. I have a busy schedule, but writing is my passion. It is important to not confine creativity. I struggle with rushing through paragraphs, so to slow myself down I think about all the time I will be spending editing that same page. Knowing I am going to need to fix it later and probably spend more time doing so really drives me to take the time and get it right.
Do you fall into any of these stereotypes? Do you have any others? Speak up! It is always interesting to hear about other writing processes.