03 January 2012

Writing Routines

It's said that a lot of writers have routines, behaviors they repeat every time they sit down to practice their craft. Stephen King shuts himself in his writing room from 9-5, viewing it as his job. Some writers have special emblems or totems or "lucky" clothing. Some only hand-write while others only type. If you think about it, we can be just as superstitious a group as actors. (Some of the actor superstitions I've encountered include an actor who repeated the same pre-show routine from the first tech run to the final curtain to the point he arrived at the same time each evening, left at the same time, and did the same things in the same order. I knew a pair of actresses who would only let one technician tape their mics in place because that was the tech who did it during the first dress rehearsal.) Enough about actors. On to some of my writing habits/routines.

Hot Beverages This habit, I believe, is a throwback of learned behaviors from NaNoWriMo. When I sit down to write and it's not school related, I have to have some hot caffeinated beverage within reach. Even if I completely ignore it til it's ice cold, it has to be there from the start. I end up drinking it cold 90% of the time. Lol.

Energy Drinks If I don't have coffee, I'll reach for my energy drink of choice - Monster. There's not much like the feel of wanting to get up and not letting myself do it. When the only way I can burn excess energy is through my fingers moving across the keyboard, man do I get a lot written!

Change Scenery There are times, I just need a change of scenery - for myself, not my characters. One of my best writing days was in a coffee shop during NaNoWriMo. I wrote over 6k words that day. It's amazing what a simple change of scene can do for your mind.

Handwriting When I'm handwriting, it has to be lined paper and it has to be black ink. That is all.

Talk it Out Proof that most writers are a little nuts. I'll sit and discuss dialogue with myself, talking it all out and visualizing the entire scene.

Dare to Write Badly or The What If Universe When I talk things out, I often come up with a lot of things that, while entertaining to write, I know will never fit the story or the characters. So what do I do? I write it anyway and get rid of it later. Sometimes, it's one small moment in the impossible scenario I've dreamed up that will spark the next legit scene in the story.

Write or Die An amazing online program, a lot of my friends think I'm sadistic because I use Write or Die on kamikaze mode - this means that if I sit with the program open for too long without typing, the program will start to automatically delete words. Talk about incentive.

BICFOK The best advice I've ever received - tied, of course, to NaNoWriMo. BICFOK isn't the newest swear word; it's an initialism. Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard. Sometimes, that's the only way to get things done - sheer force of willpower.

"One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological, and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating." -Niyi Osundare
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