Musings on the ‘writing method’

The writing ‘method’.

It’s a term I’ve heard bandied about by more than one writer, and the meaning seems to be both flexible and indeterminate. For some, writing begins with outlining the concept of a story, then fleshing it out with details like character names, descriptions of the local(s) the story takes place in, before finishing the process off by actually writing the story.

For others, it’s how they go about getting themselves situated before they can begin to write. This can range from where they like to work, to how they arrange their work-space, making sure they have access to their favorite ‘writing beverage’, even the type of music (or lack thereof) they have to have before they can begin.

Some writers even insist that for them to write, they must be in the right ‘mindset’. Be it making sure they have nothing but the story in their minds, or nothing at all on their minds so they can let their muse in, it’s all about mental preparation for these writers.

For me, the term’s definition isn’t fixed. Most of my writing is done on a laptop set up on the table I usually eat off of. Music is important, but that’s because if I don’t have something to listen to, my ears get bored and start inventing things for me to hear. What music I end up listening to is limited by what I have access to, and it can vary not only from day-to-day, but hour-to-hour. My mindset? I don’t have one. Some days the words scream to get out, clawing at the inside of my skull trying to escape. Other days, there aren’t any words waiting. On those days, trying to write is as useless as trying to force the Sun to shine on a cloudy day.

Boredom can be a goad to get me to writing, and has been since I first started writing. Long hours of mind-numbingly boring work leaves the mind begging for an escape. Imagining a world, or a person, who I’ve never encountered, then letting your brain spin out the different ‘what-if’ scenarios, is a way for my mind to escape. Somewhere along the line, a story grows out of those musings and decides it wants to be written. That’s when I’d sit down and begin typing.

People who’ve seen me at writer’s groups, either with my laptop or a legal pad, typing/scribbling away, if you were wondered what I was doing…now you know. The topic wasn’t nearly as interesting as I’d hoped, or a speaker has become so tedious I can’t bear to listen to them anymore. So I let my mind loose and see what it will bring me. Often, it’s pure dreck, and some of it never goes beyond the bored musings stage…but every once in a while, something really good raps on the inside of my skull and asks to be let out. Those are the moments that make it worthwhile.

So how about the rest of you writers? Do you have a special place you go to to write? A time of day you prefer? Music you can’t write without? A special mental place you need to get to before you can begin putting words on the screen/paper?

Yes, I am seriously looking for input/anecdotes/even humorous moments in your writing process that you’re willing to share. If you’ve got a special pair of socks you just have to have on, but you’re afraid to admit it, don’t worry, I can promise anonymity on request. But I do hope that other writers will share their experiences.

After all, they say misery loves company, so why shouldn’t us oddball writer types be willing to share our quirks? Knowing you’re not alone in your oddities is a liberating experience, so come on, share

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2 thoughts on “Musings on the ‘writing method’

  1. There are magic socks? I want some! Just tell me where to buy them. But seriously, I write pretty much every day. Sometimes, I’m wrestling with edits from an editor. No matter what, time seems to be my constant opponent. I want more time in which to write. And to write well, we must read a lot, right? And so I wrestle with scraping out segments of time in which to read, where I’m not forced into a corner by other obligations.

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    • Thanks for the feedback, Melanie. The ‘magic socks’ comment was a reference to how some people feel a particular item of clothing is ‘lucky’ and always endeavour to have said item on when they want to accomplish something. If they really sold them, I’d be close to the front of the line. Good luck with your writing, and thanks for reading my musings.

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