People are habitual by nature. We like our routines and habits whether it's a cup of coffee with our morning news or sleeping on the right side of the bed. These routines and habits make us who we are, individuals. The same can be said with our writing. In a previous tip, I mentioned finding your creative time a day. Are you a morning, afternoon or night person? Are you more creative the moment you wake up? Me, it's the moment I wake up. It could be 6am or 12pm, but the second I wake up, my mind is fresh and blank and new ideas starting filling it. On the weekends, this is usually when I start writing. I wake up and head straight for my computer or notebook. The week days are tougher with work, but I try to get the writing in. Once I figured out my creative time of day, I had to figure out and develop my writing routines and habits. Here's what I discovered:
1) I am more creative on paper. I am still an old fashion paper and pen writer. I like to use composition notebooks. Whenever I start a new story, I find that I have to start it on paper in order to really get it going. Sometimes I use a separate “idea jotting” notebook and then if I like it, I transfer it to a composition notebook. I do often find myself eager to write on the computer. When that happens, I write however long on the computer I need to. Then I print those pages out and tape them into the notebook. A notebook is also easier to travel with.
2) I like to write with black pen. I am a pen writer. There’s something about a pencil I don’t like. I was taught that pencils are for math and drawing. I guess it stuck. What I do tend to use are the Bic pens with an eraser. This way I get the smoothness of a pen with the erasing capability of the pencil. I also like the RSVP pens.
3) I write on the right side and keep notes on the left side. When I first starting using notebooks, I didn’t like the idea of writing on both sides of the pages, but then as I progressed I realized, that’s a waste of space. So I came up with an idea that worked for me. I write the full story on the right side of the notebook and keep notes on the left. These could be plot points I want to mention later. Research topics I need to look up on the internet. Revising and editing notes I need to remember for when I’m done with the writing phase. Anything that helps me develop my story.
4) I keep munchies on hand. I am a muncher, especially when I’m doing anything creative like writing. As such, I always keep my cupboards stocked with my favorites. This way, when inspiration strikes and I get momentum going, the lack of chips doesn’t stop me.
5) I always have background noise going. I can’t work in complete silence. I need something in the background, something that fills the space whenever I stop to think or ponder the scene I’m writing. Most of the time, this is the radio. Sometimes, I can even work with the TV on. I’ve always been good at tuning the background noise out whenever I need to.
6) I edit on paper using a red pen. We all know the dreaded red pen, but our teachers had something going with that color. When dealing with black or blue ink, the red pen stands out and makes those edits visible. I also print my MS and edit on paper. After I’ve written the story, I type it up (I make sure to save those random typed pages to copy and paste). Then I go through and edit it. I’ve never been able to read on the computer screen, too blaring. So I always print things out and my MS is no exception.
There are probably a few more things I can mention, but I’m sure you get where I am going. The idea is to develop your own routines and habits. Find out what works for you. You may find it easier to write once you do. One book I recommend is A Writer's Space by Eric Maisel. He talks about finding that idea writing space for you, the space that will open up the door to possibilities.
As I said, people are habitual by nature. Use it to your advantage.
Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining ‘Blog’ is a fool’s errand.