Friday, December 2, 2011

Blog Chain: Where and When

This round of the chain was started by Tere. She asked:

What conditions do you need to get your best writing done? Closed door, crowded coffee house? Computer or notebook? Can you just sit down to write, or do you need to wait for the time to be right?

This varies for me. If I'm on a roll, I can usually tune everything out (TV, video game noise, fighting children) and just write. Okay, that's not entirely true. My oldest daughter has recently developed the habit of listening to her current favorite song over and over and over. And over. This is VERY distracting and does stop me from making progress.

Any other time, if I'm stuck or I find that I'm easily distracted by email, Facebook, Twitter, and other internet things, it usually means the story isn't going in the right direction. Once I realize this is happening--I'm slow, so sometimes it takes me a while--I'll grab a notebook and move somewhere without immediate access to my computer. And in this situation, I need quiet, so I can think.

Now, I'm not saying I can't find ways to procrastinate with just a pen and paper. My notebooks are filled with doodles in the margins and in between paragraphs. But those are usually pretty mindless and help me think. And I don't know what it is about notebooks, but they have this magical way of getting me unstuck. One time, I was stuck on a scene for over a week. Every time I sat down and opened Word, I made no progress. But as soon as I turned to the notebook, it all worked itself out, and it only took me a couple of hours. Totally magical. ;)

As far as time of day or location, it doesn't matter. With kids, I've had to learn to be flexible.

What conditions do you need to get your best writing done?

Be sure to check out Jon's post from Wednesday and Amparo's post tomorrow. :)


  1. I need classical music and an empty house. I have been toying with taking up space in the library lately though. I like the atmosphere of the library, it lends itself to concentration!

  2. Behold, the freeing power of the notebook. Who says computers make writing quicker? ;)

  3. Notebooks are magical for me too. I always turn to one when I'm stuck. In fact, I just got done free writing in one. It helped me move forward to the next scene. Amazing!

  4. I need to get back to writing in notebooks. It's been a while.

  5. I wrote an entire novel on small yellow notepads. That was something! I'm not sure I'll ever do that again.

  6. I can't write longhand for very long, but I agree that sometimes when you get stuck putting pen to actual paper can really help!

  7. No music, no distractions. Sometimes I have to unplug the blue cord from my computer.