I am part of numerous Social media writer’s groups. One of my favorite topics to read are other author’s writing habits. I thought it would be something to share my 7 rules when writing, what I need or don’t want in order to successfully complete a story.
1. I DO NOT READ (While I am Writing)
I am a daydreamer, meaning that when I read I find myself daydreaming about after the happily ever after of the story I just finished. I fantasize about what comes next for the characters when I set a book down for the night. I am always worried that I will be influenced by another author when I am in the middle of a project. So no, I do not read anything (not even a chocolate chip cookie recipe) while writing. Same theory for television; I will not turn on West World or GoT. Sorry HBO – you’re going to sit idle until I get this out of my head.
That may not make sense seeing as how Indie Beginning is dedicated to reading the works of indie authors – but this is ok for me. We only receive the first 30-50 pages of a book, and when I’m reading it on air I focus solely on pronunciation and tone of voice. Most times; it’s a blind read – I have no comprehension of the piece, and barely retain any part of a page read. But I always do go back when I’m between projects and give each author’s submitted piece my undivided imagination.
2.- EVERYBODY SHUT UP
I have to write in a completely still house. If there is a noise, a child “trying to be quiet”, a cat shuffling across hardwoods, or the fridge humming in the background I can’t do it. No way, no how. Which you will find makes #5 on my list an oxymoron to what I just said, but I’ll explain…
3.- SAME SONG DIFFERENT DAY
I have a dedicated play list; it has been the same for about 6 years now. And I am so used to the notes that no matter how loud they flow through the head phones, I can easily put them into the background. It’s a modge podge collection of sounds from musicians such as Muse to Carl Orff. And it is insurance. A policy that no life noise makes it into my ears making me wonder what is going on in the outside world.
4.-A DARK AND DISMAL PLACE
My office is almost pitch black and until recently I worked off a desk top computer – I miss this computer; really REALLY miss this computer – with its outdated Microsoft and keys where the letters were worn off – not feeling the laptop that replaced it at all. The later the hour the better the juices flow, the darker the room the easier it is for me to write “pant less”- meaning without an outline or a distinct direction. Just words flowing from my fingertips to the screen as sentences.
When writing ACN I wouldn’t even ‘go to work’ until the kids were snoring away in the rooms above my office. I wouldn’t have a stopping point – I would write until my husband got up in the morning and reminded me I did have a day job to go to – I should probably go to bed for an hour or two before tackling the 9 to 5.
I did this very routine for just under a year and the outcome was a first draft of all 1,400 pages of the series.
5.-IF IT’S NOT CAFFINATED DARK ROAST I DON’T WANT IT
Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee – 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. COFFEE!! With cream, a little sugar, and cinnamon. Please and thank you. Luckily for me I have someone in my life who is a coffee enabler, so my pot is never deprived.
6.-EXCUSE ME CAN I BORROW A PEN?
While in the middle of a project, my brain never shuts off. Constantly I am writing things down, a sentence, a reference, an idea for the next project. My office is COVERED in post-its, or receipts that hold a single word scribbled across it, napkins with a blurred thought jotted on them. It has become a habit of mine to force myself to get out of bed and write down last minute thoughts – because we all have revelations in the seconds before sleep. Can I tell you where I’ll use it? Nope, no clue, most of them probably won’t even get used. But if I ever get stuck they’re there.
7. -GIMME A BREAK
The first draft is out there, on the screen, filled with little red lines and incomplete thoughts. This is when I stop. I step away from the computer and go back to life; reading, playing, catching up with family and friends. I won’t talk about my writing – I am not an author for a couple months. That way I reset with a fresh pair of eyes two or three months later, ready to start round two!
Every author has their style, their must haves, do and do nots. Those happen to be mine. What are the things you need? What is the perfect scenario for you to create in?