This Is What We Find

(Ian Dury and the Blockheads reference!)

Wow.  Has it really been three months since I posted?

Well, I haven’t been idle.  I have been challenged — sort of — to step outside my comfort zone and write a different sort of book.  So I am working on my first YA novel. Of course, I had to put my own spin on it. More details once I’m further into it and more sure of where it’s going.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to encourage said friend to get back into writing herself.  I think it’s working a little, since she posted a few questions on Facebook for her “writer friends”, asking about their writing habits, preferences, etc.  I decided I’d post my responses here for anyone interested.

CAVEAT: This is just “what works for me.”  Your mileage may vary. Find what works for you and go with it.

MY FRIEND’S ORIGINAL POST:

To all my writer friends out there, I’d like to be nosy & ask you all a few questions. Feel free to answer in as much or as little detail as you’d like via comments or even via private message. I’m not picky about what kind of writer you are either. Whether you write screenplays, novels, articles, blogs, or anything in between, I want to know your answers.

1. What tools do you use? Pen & paper. Word processor. Typewriter. Computer. You get the idea.
2. What is your process? Music on or off & if on, what kind of music? Do you outline first or just dive in.
3. Where do you feel the most productive? Home, work, Starbucks, etc.
4. Do you set goals for your writing? Daily, weekly, monthly, etc. And if you do, what is your ideal goal?
5. Do you ever participate in events like NaNoWriMo?
6. Do you belong to any kind of writers group or taking any classes on writing?
MY RESPONSE:
1. I will usually brainstorm with pen and paper, but I have a “Notes” file that I put it all into since I often can’t read my own handwriting if I go back to it later. I generally do my actual writing on a computer in Word.
2. Music definitely on. What it is depends on what I’m writing. (Sometimes where and when I’m writing affects this, too — see #4 below for particular writing situations.)
You can get an idea of some music I listen to on my blog under “Playlist”. Right now it’s a lot of 70s and 80s (or 80s-style). Stevie Nicks. Alice Cooper. Fleetwood Mac. Night Terrors of 1927.
Outlining doesn’t work for me. That “Notes” file I mentioned in #1 — I keep track of certain scenes I want to include and a general overall story arc, but outlining doesn’t allow your characters to take off and do what they want.
3. Anywhere I can put on my headphones and zone out. Honestly, I had one of my most productive nights this week in the lobby of the local Agricultural Extension Office while my sister was in a meeting.
4. No goals other than to write. The only time I keep a word count is if I have a preset word limit (like a magazine article). Failing to hit a word limit is still failure, and writing should be fun, not a guilt trip.
While I don’t put a goal, sometimes due to where and when I’m writing I have to put a time limit in place. When I write on my lunch hour at work I will sometimes listen to a particular CD because I know when it ends, I have to stop. Forever Changes by Love is just about 40 minutes long, so it was a good one for that situation.
5. Never done NaNoWriMo. It’s still a “word count” issue, you just have longer to do it.
6. I don’t belong to a writer’s group, although I know of a few local groups. I tend to write on my own, then get feedback from a few selected friends and family members.
“I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.”
Well, that’s it for this time. I promise it won’t take as long for the next update!
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