Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Where/How Do You Like to Write?

Thanks to everyone who has chimed in during the past few days on the first/third person post and the Holy Grail (so many really smart comments!). The wise crowds have spoken and the crowd says: a Holy Grail that will predict bestsellers is not possible, nor would people really want such a thing to be possible. Sigh. I guess I'm just going to have to go back to relying on gut instinct and hunches. (Let's hope they're better than the hunch that told me it was a really good idea to try one of my dog's chicken treats since it smelled so good.)

On another note, I'm always fascinated by how people write. Superman has his fortress of solitude, Batman his cave, but what about authors? Bestselling author Po Bronson, for instance, writes in a closet. Jack Kerouac typed out ON THE ROAD on one continuous roll of paper. James Joyce wrote in red crayon on huge pices of paper.

So how do you write? Paper and pen, typewriter, laptop? What's your favorite spot? The hammock? The basement?

Spill it!






53 comments:

Michele Lee said...

I sit on my bed. First drafts go in notebooks, then are typed on my laptop. This works for me because my room is often the coldest/warmest place in the house. Both notebook and laptop are easy to put down if I need to answer the door or chase the kids (and the computer can be passworded so the kids can't shut down my work while I'm not looking.) First drafts go on notebooks after I learned the hard way that laptops and baby vomit doesn't mix. A few pages of paper are easier to replace than a motherboard.

Sitting in my room (besides the air conditioning and heat) also lets me "set the mood" which often includes having CSI, Law and Order or, more recently, Snapped on. It's strange how much more focused I am when something like that is playing in the background. I don't pay a bit of attention to it, I just flow better with it on.

On a sensory level, I also like to write with gel pens. It makes me feel like I'm painting the words.

Marti said...

I believe the public’s tastes are too fickle (or flexible, to be nice - lol) to be able to predict what will be a hit.

I always write on the computer (which is a stationary PC in the living room, so I'm on the couch in front of a low desk)

I love being able to see the words typed out as opposed to handwritten - it just gives me a much clearer picture of how it would read when printed.

I also love speelchecker (snicker - if only there were such a thing to catch me when I start to spiel - LOL). Plus changes are so much simpler. Saves scratching out or drawing through when I want to edit.

Chad Gramling said...

So often, I write in my mind on the way home from the 9-5. Unfortunately, almost as often, I forget what I wrote. But there are times I am able to recall and transcribe onto a notepad, scrap of paper or use the keyboard to get it into electronic format. Seems like I am all too often finding random scraps with two or three sentences scattered thoughout my house. When I am in full-scale writing mode, it's simply me, my Toshiba and whatever random movie that I've already seen a hundred times on USA or TBS for background noise. Oh . . . and last fall, I ventured into the back yard and pecked away on the keyboard as a fire crackled into the night. That was fun and I'm looking forward to giving that another go when the weather cools down again.

Scott said...

I have all kinds of fantasies about my ideal writing nook (my Schreibwinkel), a nice room or maybe a cottage where everything is perfect and there's a wonderful creative atmosphere of calm and peace that helps the words just flow and a few goats eating on the grass roof while i listen to sea lions through the open window.

Here's the reality. I have a laptop, and can write wherever. My ideal spot, such as it is, is probably the kitchen table because it's comfy and has plenty of space. But it's also adjacent to the family room, which means that writing there means listening to the same annoying music and plastic clicks over and over while my kids try to conquer the next song on Guitar Hero II.

It also means I'm out in the open, and therefore I'm existing for the sole purpose of being talked to ("I got 98 percent on 'Trogdor' and I was playing it at the hard level, Dad!"), complained at ("tell him it's MY turn to play Guitar Hero II!"), asked stuff of ("Dad, were you REALLY alive when 'Surrender' was popular? That's so cool but you're really old. You should try playing it on Guitar Hero!"), or demanded stuff of ("Dad, I've been playing Guitar Hero for hours and I'm exhausted and my hands hurt. Can you fix me something to eat?")

We also have a covered patio that's comfortable most of the time, when it's not 100 degrees outside and when the air's not filled with smoke from all the wildfires. But there's no outlet out there (yet), so I can only work as long as my battery holds out, which is usually only until I get to a part that requires concentration--but that's also when kids open the kitchen window to tell me their latest score on "Misirlou" because they know I like surf rock.

In reality, I do most of my writing in my room, on my bed, while my wife watches whatever she wants to watch on TV at the same time (because she can't wrest the good TV away from the kids who are playing Guitar Hero on it). She's pretty good about not interrupting me, but does sometimes comment to me about the stuff on the tube, as if I were actually paying attention to it.

I have my eyes on a little bedroom that would make a perfect den, if only I could get a kid or two to move out...

And take Guitar hero with him/her, because the room's right off the family room and you apparently can't play guitar hero at a low volume. At least there's a door.

In my last house, I had a dining room with a fireplace, with a big window and a great view. That was a great place to write, even if the kids were in the adjacent family room. It felt nice there. It's the only thing I miss about that rat trap.

So, after all that, I guess my answer is: wherever I'm able to find relative quiet (and with teens and their friends running around all the time, I really mean "relative") for a while.

What it comes down to is that my lunch break at work works out pretty well most days.

But I really want that Schreibwinkel. First I need a smart, attractive, and all-knowing agent to recognize my talent and help us both get filthy rich so I can afford it...

Tom Burchfield said...

I'm very boring. I have an office/slash storage area, where I sit and write at my computer every morning. Ideal? No . .. a few weeks ago, I happened across a documentary about David McCullough on Book TV. *He* has a cozy little 19th century cottage separate from his 19th century house . . . I'm green enough to print money.

Lauren said...

At home I have a Toshiba laptop that has served me well for almost 4 years now. I've been known to write in 3 or 4 different rooms during one writing session, usually going from a relatively hard seating surface to progressively more cushy ones.

But lately I've really liked coming to my day-job office early and working on my novel before anyone else comes in. It's dead silent, I get to watch the sunrise from my window, and I've got a great dual-monitor setup that's perfect for editing. Plus, knowing that I only have 2-ish hours before everyone else arrives and I have to start doing my work makes me really buckle down and stay on task with my novel. When I write at home at night, I often get distracted by the Internet and poorly-played games of FreeCell.

Fluffy said...

I write mostly on a laptop, but I carry five notebooks and use them liberally for writing, sketching, plotting, and taking note of things like grocery lists and class notes. I also edit by hand and then retype.

Reid said...

I'm never without a notepad, so I can jot down ideas whenever they strike. When I sit down to write, I'm in a comfy chair with no distractions and my laptop. I prefer to write late at night when the world is quiet, and belongs to me.

Usually, I'll put headphones on and listen to Coltrane or Miles, music that indirectly expands my preceptions, and gives me a soundtrack to create.

Liz said...

I write upstairs in the attic or as they call them in the south, the bonus room. I'm surrounded by an odd assortment of furniture, toys, puzzles and books. The room is never clean and this time of year, a bit warm as the a/c struggles to keep up.

Of course, like most writing moms, I also write in the mini van. I keep a spiral notebook by my front seat just in case I need to jot something down.

Maybe someday, I'm hoping before year end, I can get a laptop of my very own and write wherever I wish!

Anon1058 said...

Some ideas start with a scribble on the back of a receipt while I'm stopped at a red light. But that's really just the manifestation of a thought/idea that has been brewing for a while.

I think the best discipline is to write at the same time, same place, every day. I've got a computer room, and my dictionary, CMS, and thesaurus sit atop my desk alongside various stacks of drafts (all very neat, I assure you!), and doom to him who dares to mess with my stuff.

I don't even like to share my dictionary--I don't think other people are as respectful of the book as I am. They might bend a page or crack the binding, oh my gosh, just put it down, okay?

Later in my day, I appear to be doing dishes or some other land-of-the-living type chore, but really I'm wherever my characters are.

BTW, Nathan, I know you rep YA, but your listing on PM includes juvenile fiction and children's fiction as "genre specialties." Do you rep MG, particularly younger MG?

Nathan Bransford said...

anon1058-

No, I don't rep middle grade, just high-school age and higher.

Anonymous said...

I have a laptop and nice office with a desk and a comfy chair. I use the comfy chair to write, and only write. I sit at the desk for everything else.

This time of year, comfy chair gets lonely, because I get to write on the deck. If I cut out of work early, I have about an hour before the sun comes under the umbrella and incinerates my laptop.

After dinner I get another hour or so because the sun had disappeared behind the trees. It's quite lovely, with trees and flowers, and a little brook not too far away, and birds, and happy bugs.

I'll remember it all fondly this fall when the rainy season sets in. Hello, comfy chair!

A Paperback Writer said...

When I write poetry, it HAS to be with a pencil on real paper. I just can't stand doing a first draft on the computer.
For the stories and novels, I scribble out notes with a pencil on paper first, and sometimes the whole first draft is done that way. Then it gets typed onto my computer, which is currently a 2004 iBook G4.
My favorite notebooks for scribbling are the brightly-colored, spiral bound ones that Old Navy sells. I just love those things, and I've got at least a dozen different ones to match my moods. Ordinary spiral notebooks just aren't as much fun.
Before I discovered the Old Navy notebooks, however, rough drafts of poems got put on whatever paper was available: napkins, the backs of hall passes for my students, the water bill....

Anonymous said...

Basically... I'm able to write anywhere, anytime. I've left works incomplete in the middle of a sentence for weeks and one day sit back and finish it without thinking much about it. I write on whatever I have accesible for me at the time, notebooks, randoms sheets of paper, laptop (be it MS Word or my own email) and the more speedy receipt from the day's shopping.

I've written in the back of a bus, before going to sleep, just woken up, in the bathroom, while cooking, while eating, while reading, while watching TV... I just need to feel inspired, because I rarely let those moments go aways uncontested.

I milk my muse's teat until there's not much else that gives.

Then again... if you distract me while I'm writing... you'll get the burning stare of doom... and it burns... lots... trust me... I've looked at myself in mirrors...

Dave said...

I write almost exclusively on my laptop with Microsoft WORD and all the correction crapola turned on.
If I am not at my computer, then I have a moleskin notebook where I can I scribble a draft.
I can write anywhere, anytime. I shut out everything else and just write. It's a learned thing.

Julie K. Rose said...

I always write on a laptop, though I will write longhand in a notebook in a pinch (usually during meetings at work...shhhhhh). My best writing time is from 5-9 a.m., so I sit at the kitchen table and write and watch the sun rise. As a matter of fact, here's some photos of the view. Light a candle, put on my music, and I'm ready to go! The other place I feel really comfortable is on an airplane on a business trip - usually San Jose to Dallas - because I know I have about 3 hours' worth of uninterrupted, no-Internet/checking email time.

pixy said...

I'm a laptop writer. I love to go to Barns and Noble and hang out with my frappuccino and bagel, surrounded by books, and just type, type, type. Don't get to do that very often, but it sure is fun when I can. I get so much done.

Otherwise it's all about those late night jam sessions after the kids are in bed.

I also keep a note pad with me at all times--three actually, if we're really confessing here. I'm always getting flashes from my story and can't let them get away from me or they disappear forever.

DeadlyAccurate said...

Pen and paper in the living room while listening to alternative rock from Yahoo! Music (commercial-free). Then it gets typed into my computer. However many pages I write at a time varies. Sometimes it's only five or so; other times it's about fifty. Editing is always done without music. First drafts are always done with. Distracts my internal editor enough to let me focus on writing.

jennie said...

I write best at work, when I'm not supposed to be writing. I just open up a little file in the corner and sneak words in.

Stolen writing is the best writing.

Laura Kramarsky said...

Fountain pen on paper that takes ink well. For fiction, that is. For analytical and academic writing, I type directly onto the computer.

And I write anywhere *except* at home. Often at Starbucks or Borders in the cafe area.

Liz Wolfe said...

I use the family room as my office and I write on the computer. I can make notes on paper but when it comes to actually writing, I need that keyboard. Maybe it's because I see a scene as a movie and it's easier to just let my fingers get it all down quickly. I can't write that fast with pen and paper.

Jen said...

I was working two jobs when I wrote my first novel. A good portion of that book was written on the pink "while you were out" slips during the day job, and register tape in between tables at my night waitressing job. I still have my gazillion little slips of paper. (g)

I prefer to write on my laptop now -- but will occasionally break out pen and paper. I'm a firm believer in the idea that it doesn't matter what you use -- as long as you have a pencil and plenty of _something_ to write on, you'll be good.

That goes for location -- write whenever you have time, no matter where you are.

Loquacious Me said...

This will be a long train of thought, but bear with me.

I used to write long hand. I had to have a certain kind of spiral notebook, and a certain kind of gel-pen. (color didn't matter, but the ink had to flow smooooooth)

Then, I got into the habit of writing directly on my computer. I grew addicted to the insta-edit capabilities (as opposed to scratch out and write in margin, in long hand).

I have a violent aversion to laptops.

Therefore, I have to write where my computer is, which is at my desk and sadly right in the middle of the main walkway of my house. *sigh* My alternative is writing at work (which I do) but again, it's interspersed with the things I'm actually SUPPOSED to be doing at the time.

Determinist said...

Favorite place - somewhere warm (New Zealand winter feels colder than a Canadian winter, strangely enough). A heated back room in front of my desktop.

The paper and pen happen for overall planning, taking notes and editing at the end.

Katie said...

I write either in the family room on the main computer (preferred), or in the kid's room on their 10-year-old computer when the family room is too noisy for me to concentrate (usually because the kids or hubby are watching a movie), or, when both computers and/or rooms are occupied, or I'm in a sit-somewhere-comfortable mood, then I'm sitting somewhere comfortable with my writing notebook and a .05 mechanical pencil! I rarely get more than 5 pages written that way before I get a chance to type them into the computer, though... it just takes SOOOO much longer to write than to type!

original bran fan said...

My sister asked me "What do you write with?"

I said, "Coffee."

Because, really, there is no writing without it.

joycemocha said...

During the school year, I get up at 4:30, grab the pages I edited the night before, and if I'm lucky get more than that done for a total of around 500 words to start the day. Then I print that out.

On the way to work I think about the book I'm working on, unless I know I have a crazy situation ahead of me. If I have time, I edit the morning's work for five minutes before I go on duty. Then, at lunch, I'll edit and maybe get some more written.

In the evening, after catching up on my news via the Web, I'll type up the day's edits and get some more written. Then I get ready for bed, edit and handwrite some more new stuff.

Right now since I'm on break, I try to get in a good 700 words first thing in the morning, go about daily stuff, then write some more with a goal of 1500-2000 words a day. However, I'm also editing the two novels I have sitting in rough draft as well as developing a marketing plan for the one I have out at an editor right now, and am doing background work for a couple more novels.

I'm also marketing short stories as well.

The pattern is changing slightly since I just got a laptop--otherwise I've been tied to the desktop computer. I like the mix of handwritten and computer work--I seem to edit better on paper.

Angelle said...

I have a 1960's chair - the cube-ish kind, with broad low arms - that I've reupholstered in long pile purple fur. Did the same to an ottoman. Looks a bit like I brought Grimace home as a hunting trophy, but the cats seem to like it.

When I'm working, I'm sitting in that purple chair with my feet up, an antiquated Toshiba Satellite on my lap. The key to all this: it has no networking capabilities, so no nosing around the internet when I should be putting words on a page.

I have also been known to cart the Toshiba to a white plastic chair from Rite Aid out on my deck, but Ohio's been too damn hot for much of that this summer.

Erica Rodgers said...

I used to have a nice little writing nook, but at this point I can usually be found sitting at the kitchen table. My toddler makes it impossible to lock myself away. I sit cross-legged in my cushy computer chair and bang away on my laptop...and then save to my hard drive, my jump drive, and a disk so that when I spill my sixth cup of coffee all over my keyboard I won't lose it all...that hasn't happened yet, but it's only a matter of time for those of us who are, shall we say, clumsy.
Erica ;)

sex scenes at starbucks said...

On my 'puter in my office, with various kids and a dog frolicking about my feet.

mkcbunny said...

I *should* write at my desk, because of an old arm injury, but I spend so much time at my desk for my work-at-home-jobs that I tend to get tired of sitting in one place and move to the bed to write.

Also, I often have a crazy pile of hand-edited drafts, written notes, and Post-Its that I like to spread out for reference. It's much easier to organize them on the empty bed than the desk, which is full of printed pages, notes, and Post-Its for work.

Other Lisa said...

On couch, with laptop, cat competing for space on lap. Ideas come mostly on walks or in the shower (the latter must be an Aquarian trait).

Oh, and I compulsively back up everything, and always take at least one backup method (flash drive or portable firewire) when I leave the house in the AM. You can't be too paranoid.

Scoot said...

Late at night or dawn. First draft in pencil before typed up and printed. Use pens to edit.

Read about 'decluttering to open up soul for creativity', so decluttered with a vengence. Uh uh, it takes moments to put six double sided illegibly scribbled pages through an industrial shredder and eight hours to tape together. Don't try this at home, folks.

Tried typing directly on 'new' secondhand laptop. No more lost papers. Wow, this is great. Until it crashes. Everything wiped out. For ever. No one said laptops could crash so I didn't back up as for a comp.

Wot larks.

original bran fan said...

Other Lisa,

Oh, the idea in the shower thing isn't just an Aquarian trait. We all get them.

There are these shower fairies, you see, who give you ideas only when you can't write them down. Same thing happens when you drive.

Anonymous said...

First draft - in a notebook with a blue Pilot G2, anywhere the mood strikes; parking lot, friend's backyard, the lake, train, anywhere but the living room.

Second and Revisions - on the laptop, always at home in the living room, with tea, music, and a fun smelling candle. My papasan is super comfy and faces out the sliding door, so whenever I need a mental break, I can stare outside and get my bearings.
-Christine, Maryland.

Josephine Damian said...

I had a new house built 4 years ago, a custom house with a huge bay window specifically designed for a writing area.

What I built was a place to write and the rest of the houes came with it.

The window faces the yard and woods beyond (where buzzards gather - if you read my Forensics Diary blog, you'll know what that means - lol).

My Pottery Barn desk is 5' long, plus I have a 4' long matching table with shelves on one side, and one those double project boxes (great organization tools) that Levenger sells is on the other side of the desk.

I use a HP PC with the finest, most eye-friendly monitor money can buy. I can write for much longer periods if my eyes don't get tired. The better monitor enhances productivity.

A wireless key board and mouse make for a more ergonomic writing experience for me - more productivity.

It's nothing but the sound of silence for me when I write, and scented candles lit as a kind of Pavlovian signal to me that it's time to begin.

I keep index cards and my WIP notebook in the room for when ideas hit me and I'm not on the computer.

After writing my first novel and sceenplays at my old house seated at a creaking card table in the master bedroom using a laptop, I was ready for a big change.

Becky said...

I work on my laptop, but if I'm trying to work out a problem with one of my characters or feel stuck, I get more done away from my computer on my daily walk. It's amazing what it does for me. I walk my dog by myself every day for an hour, the same route, so my brain can go on autopilot. At first I don't get much done writing-wise--I'm making lists, thinking about my kids, the daily chores etc. of life, but within about fifteen minutes I'm back to concentrating on my latest project. The exercise gets my creative juices flowing and I always come back thinking more clearly.

R.J. Anderson said...

I am amazed that so many people work on laptops. Maybe they have much better laptops than any of the ones I've tried? The keyboards on those things drive me nuts.

I write in our home office, at a desktop, when my kids are sleeping. If inspiration hits during non-writing hours, I grab my notebook and pen and jot it down -- but I can't write longhand for more than a few lines before my hand cramps. So without my trusty desktop computer, I am lost when it comes to getting any real writing done...

Calenhíril said...

I write on my iBook. Sometimes that's at work (shh!) but most often it's on my bed, with the computer on top of a pillow (those things get pretty warm, you know?).

I find that sometimes I think too fast to make writing ideas down in longhand feasible, so typing is ideal. But when the muse strikes (usually when I'm in the shower or on the way to work) I pull out whatever notebook I have stashed in the room (yes, there's a notebook in the bathroom) or in my bag and jot down as much as I can.

D said...

I generally write in the evenings; I pick a public place like a 24-hour restaurant without wifi access and drag my laptop with me. Early on I learned that there is no way you can guarantee yourself a quiet, private space to work, so I adapted.

Tori said...

I would love to say I tap away at my laptop in Starbucks, but alas, that dream won't come true until September or later. Where I actually write is ... well, wherever I am. On a ferry, in the living room, at the dining room table, at Starbucks in Chapters, at Starbucks by the grocery store. I have a blue Hilroy notebook I write in if I'm out and about. Otherwise I write on the computer. (Unless I have writer's block, in which case I may write longhand.)

Good question, thanks!

Matt said...

I write in three different ways, each of which is important for its own reasons.

The bulk of my writing is done at my desk, first thing in the morning. This is the ritual that makes me feel as if writing is the most important thing that I'm going to do that day. I wake up and fire up my manuscript draft while eating breakfast, and I don't allow myself to go to class/work without getting my time in.

If I really need to focus--or if I have some free time--I head to a coffee shop that doesn't offer Internet access. This is my most time-effective writing strategy, because I've got no distractions. At the same time, I don't like an overly quiet atmosphere. Plus, hot drinks (coffee or tea) always have been a big part of my writing ritual.

Finally, I step away from the computer if I need to do deep thinking about a story. If I'm at my computer, I want to be writing--staring at the computer screen is the number one thing that will stall my progress. If I'm stuck, I'll grab a notebook and a pen and head to a coffee shop, bar, park, or anywhere else where I can sit and let my imagination wander without feeling pressured.

Hopefully, I'll soon be able to say that these methods got me through my first published middle-grade novel (I'm at the agent-querying stage at the moment).

Anonymous said...

Times have changed -- not a single person has mentioned booze, yet Starsucks seems to be a common theme.

Is that Hemingway I hear rolling in his grave?

And TV as background noise?? Gahhh!!!

Dan Leo said...

Sometimes I write on my laptop in my comfy rocking chair. This chair happens to be about five feet away from the TV set which my living-companion likes to keep on during my writing hours. I have become a master of letting the antics of Becker and Seinfeld and the "Still Standing" gang dance around in one side of my brain while the other side composes Great Literachure. If I'm at a knotty juncture in my writing and I find that Kramer keeps sliding through the door at particularly dramatic moments in my narrative, and weather permitting, I'll take the laptop out to my deck. If the weather is bad I'll move to a table in the living room out of sight of the TV screen and plug in headphones and listen to opera or the Grateful Dead or late-period Coltrane while writing. It's all about getting yourself in writing mode and just letting it rip.

Eric said...

I write a lot in my head as well, and usually keep a black V7 Pilot pen and package of Post-It notes in my pocket. I type a lot of early drafts, print them, then edit by hand. I long for a manual typewriter. I only write with fountain pens, V7 Pilots (cheap and close enough to liquid ink), and pencil (I hate ballpoint pens). I have written on the backs of grocery lists, receipts, napkins, myself, other drafts, and shower stalls (dry erase marker). Sometimes I e-mail myself. If I had text messaging, I would no doubt text myself, too.

Most of my post-first-draft writing gets done at my laptop, in my bedroom, either around 3:00 PM (weekends) or 3:00 AM (the rest of the week). Currently my schedule is Sunday - Thursday, 1,500 words per day.

isak said...

Anywhere and everywhere; so I always have a notebook on hand and I've been known to write on napkins at bars, old receipts, and I'll even just ask people for a piece of paper and/or writing utensil--the hard part is keeping track of all the bits and pieces. Although, when I do that, its usually with music blasting in the background, and for a switch, sometimes I write in total silence.

(Yeah, I know this is, like, two days old, but I felt left out. Nice to know everyone's got quirky writing habits, too...)

Eric said...

Additionally, I refuse to allow myself to take off my tie until I meet quota. This has resulted in waking up at the computer around six in the morning, still in yesterday's clothes.

mkcbunny said...

Love the shower fairies. And the walking fairies. And the I'm-nearly-asleep fairies. It would be helpful if they could take written notes.

Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed. said...

I keep notebooks and pens in my purse and jot down thoughts, perceptions and ideas as I experience them. Often I am not sure where I will use them in what part of a story or which book until later or I add the place in which book I think they will fit on the page. I keep a camera handy too so I can take a picture of something or someplace I want to describe later.

I have files - the accordion type that have a cover that snaps shut and I file the notes and photos in the files. I have at least one file for each book. I also add travel brochures and tickets, receipts etc to the file so I can use them as pictures in the books. These notes are written on location, in coffee shops etc.

If I am travelling I use a lap top and sometimes sit long into the night if the flow is good.

All the actual writing and adding of different documents is done on a desk top computer in my consulting office in my home. I am blessed with my dream location after many years of kitchen tables and keeping crayon drawings off papers.

I have a blank wall ahead of me, over the screen, so I can shift my focus into the scene and feel the emotion. I use a form of self hypnosis to really get into the scene.

I love the scraps and photos as they help me recall scenes and if I use hotel writing pads it adds even more to stimulate my memory. I write on personal growth through travel so this works for me.

Kristen said...

It changes from project to project. I have to move around from project to project so each new place is allowed to absorb new (sigh) "creative energy."

Oh - but it must be on my laptop. No writing by hand unless I'm jotting notes.

Chumplet said...

Most of my story building happens in my head while I'm falling asleep. The story expands and develops night after night, until it seems almost solid.

Then I hit the laptop, put on earphones, turn off my family and write. Sometimes I'll go late into the night, other times I do a chapter during a lull at work and email it to my home.

I keep a small notebook in my purse for emergencies, or when I'm waiting in the car for the kids to finish school.

For a while my old Thinkpad was held prisoner in the dining room because of a fried keyboard, so I was confined there with an external keyboard while the family watched TV in the adjacent living room. I tuned them out with the headphones.

I finally picked up a used Powerbook G4 and I can escape to any room with my wireless connection. Sometimes I surf too much when I should be writing.

Miri said...

For the better part of time, I write at my desktop in the back corner of my bedroom. Quiet, private (though not as much now that there's a phone there), with two windows that I can stare out of if I need a break.

However, I've also become very adept at writing on transpacific plane trips. I'm partial to the back row of a Qantas Airbus 380.

A. said...

I write in my head when there is no means of letting the words spill out onto screen or paper. I write on cafe napkins, the back of old bank statement envelopes and Starbucks receipts, in the margins of old manuscripts, and other random pieces of paper I dig out of my bag. I write on my office computer, on Google documents or into an email I send myself at home in the papery chaos of the study I share with my husband. Sometimes I write aloud, speaking words that are part of a story I am imagining writing, just to hear how they sound. I write with my life, looking over my own shoulder and memorizing what I see for the retelling. I write when the urge strikes--in the bathroom (honey, can you bring me a pen?) or in the middle of the night, sleepless, slipping quietly from under the sheets and the crook of my husband's arm. I write by force of will, when words are too ordinary to make me happy and the cursor blinking at me is like a fog horn to a woman with a hangover. I write in my sleep, waking to the lines freshly emblazoned on my memory, and my fingers still twitching.

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