Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How We Write

Hemingway wrote standing up to avoid the gut. Capote wrote with a notebook and pencil, either sitting or laying down. Stephen King sits at a desk, behind a closed door, loud music on.

I write in pajamas, because once I'm showered and dressed I want to go out.
Sitting in my comfy, squishy, writing/thinking chair.
First with pens on loose paper, then on the laptop.
Completely isolated. Door shut. No phone, internet or music.

How do you write?

53 comments:

  1. Usually sitting indian style on my couch after the kids are in bed. Or, at a table in a nook by a window at the library. I'd love to have an office where I could shut the door, but that's not going to happen unless I steal a bedroom from one of the kids!

    I try to bring a notebook/pen with me so when I'm waiting to pick up my daughterling, I can write. I can reach a different place with pen and paper than I can with keyboard. Once the ideas are flowing, though I crave the keyboard because I can get it down faster (and with less hand cramps!)

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  2. I write exactly like you except I alternate bewteen paper and compter ;) No noise. hate noise. door shut. If my door's open either the dog or S walks in on me and interrupts my flow. I can listen to music o be inspired, but never WHILE I'm writing.

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  3. Sitting at my laptop with my door closed and my window open. I need fresh air when writing so my brain gets it's fix. Not usually any music or food around. If I'm writing non-fiction then I might write on paper as a first draft to get all my thoughts straightened out.

    Jai

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  4. I write first thing in the morning in my jams at my kitchen table with a pen or pencil and school notebook, but I must have classical music playing. It can only be classical though! Mozart being my first choice. It seems to help my thought process. Other than my music no other interruptions or noise. I usually edit onto the computer.

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  5. I'm fortunate in having the smallest bedroom as my writing room. I use a laptop, on the desk but often like to kick start the day's writing with scribbling on a notepad.

    I wear comfy clothes and shut the door. Husband is musical so I can't exclude his sounds, but I am so used to it now that it is background.

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  6. I'm the opposite--I like to get dressed and ready before I sit down to write. I usually write at my desktop listening to my wip's pandora station; sometimes I'll write on the loveseat in my office on the netbook. But almost always with music, and almost always with my water bottle nearby.

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  7. I write in cafes on my lunch hour, on buses that aren't too bumpy, and on the couch. At the moment I'm writing by hand and typing it up later. My typing is done on the couch, usually with 30 Rock or Doctor Who on in the background, and I edit as I go. My original drafting is done in a notebook, with a black pen - it MUST be black, in fact a friend and I recently arranged to purchase black biros in bulk from his workplace supplier. Sometimes I do original writing at home, but not that often.

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  8. Sometimes, formally, at my desk. using the computer. But, in addition, wherever and whenever using whatever is to hand : notebook, laptop, mobile 'phone. Sometimes even in the car, which is tricky I can assure you!

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  9. I love writing in my pajamas! I usually stick to my writing area with my computer and pads of paper. However, in the summer, I like to sneak out to the fifth wheel and do some writing where I can be completely alone.

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  10. I have two kids under 7, and a full time job, so I write whenever and wherever I can. If I were picky, I would never get any writing done.

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  11. I write on a laptop, my backside comfortably parked on an old leather sofa in our den, after the theater god has gone to work and the house is quiet enough for me to hear the story. Sometimes I'm still in PJs, sometimes I'm dressed & ready to roll. That part just depends on my mood.

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  12. I write naked, in the bathtub (usually). It is the only place my family will leave me alone... I do a little in comfy clothes at my computer, but the naked me taps better into emotional stuff (or funny, or horrible)--the dressed, computer me is more clinical.

    [I heard a rumor JD Salinger wrote in the bathtub, so I figure I'm in good company]

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  13. right now, with a 21 month old, the only thing i need in order to write is for my KidLit to be asleep.

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  14. In my chair with my laptop, or at my desk. But not matter what, it's gotta be quiet. No noise. At all. No distractions. Nothing but silence. ;-)

    ~JD

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  15. I'm a touch claustrophobic. No doors in my writing area - a wide opening into the entryway. Blinds open at the windows. Lots of light. Usually two dogs, one on either side of my chair. Music if I remember to turn it on. Definitely on the computer.

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  16. I like going to coffeehouses to write. It's a combination of my favorite things: caffeine, chocolate (which includes more caffeine) and writing. Somehow I don't mind working in a noisy atmosphere if I'm in a cafe.

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  17. I HAVE to get dressed first, otherwise I'd be in my jammies all day! On Sundays though I stay in bed and write on my netbook until lunchtime, unless we have other plans.

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  18. In a notebook, in the evening, with music playing. Loud. Sometimes the TV is on, too.

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  19. Squashed into an awkward position on my bed, facing the only place I can put my PC, on a chest of drawers. Both me and it are on the wonk. It is FAR from ideal, but we are managing! I also like loud music on, although this comes and goes - sometimes it has to be silent.

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  20. I have a small movable writing desk and a laptop. I also have a comfy chair and dog that sits on at or on my feet. I write well to music too.

    CD

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  21. On the laptop at home, sitting in a kind of bucket chair I freecycled from someone who didn't want to take it back home to New Zealand or wherever.... though story and revision ideas usually start out on sticky notes if they catch me at home, or on my phone if they come up and get me while I'm outside!

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  22. If I use pencil and paper, I'm sitting in a recliner, feet up, with a lap desk. When I'm at the desktop computer in my office, I want absolute quiet with no interruptions.

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  23. Kitchen table. Notebook and a cup of tea. And silence. Sometimes I play, music to invoke an atmosphere or era, but not often. Later, i type up onto laptop. Thats my least favorite part till I get going. Sometimes, for poetry, I write in bed, with hot milk and a favorite notebook. For those times, I keep the Staying Alive poetry anthology by my bed.

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  24. In my pajamas, at my desk, on a computer. Absolute quiet and a cup of Starbucks are also required. :)

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  25. I absolutely MUST have music. And I'm usually on my bed, laying on my stomach, in sweats and a T-Shirt. Yes, I am THAT glamorous. ;)

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  26. I like to write in the dark, at night time when everyone else is asleep, the house is quiet and email is no longer a distraction. And of course I'm in my pjs :)

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  27. I've discovered that approaching writing like a REAL job means getting up, taking a shower, getting dressed and then walking downstairs to my office with a cup of coffee.

    So I get ready, head downstairs, put on my noise reduction headphones,mood music and I write. I take a lunch break, and on bad days when the words don't flow, I get up at dinner time and leave the office.

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  28. I'm in my office, surrounded by a completely silent house. Ahhh....

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  29. Like Zoe, I am in my study, surrounded by silence...(with the exception of the washing machine!)

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  30. Oh I need a silent office area! but within reach of treats and the internet! LOL!

    Take care
    x

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  31. In our office, already showered and dressed (or else I'd never get up and do it!) I must have no other distractions. I must have lots of water and Lifesavers!

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  32. Favourite place is in bed with laptop on lap. Only the laptop gets hot and warms up my legs too much, so I'm distracted from my seamless prose by shifting about to stop this happening. That's my story, anyway.

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  33. Lately I've been writing either in the dining room or the patio, on my laptop, with SOFT music playing ;)

    I've distanced myself from writing on my desktop, because my desktop is for "fun time" and I get too easily distracted. Laptop is for "work time."

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  34. Good question :)

    I usually write on my bed either in sweats or pjs. I usually have the TV on - or music. As long as it's not quiet! I always use the laptop - nothing on paper.

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  35. I mostly write in a study at a desktop computer on a good chair.
    Things are as quiet as possible, any noise can distract me.

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  36. Often I write showered and dressed on my love seat, with my laptop perched on the wooden arm of the love seat. There's coffee to my right on the coffee table and the Bose behind the coffee plays my iPod shuffle. Bliss!

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  37. I love to write in sweats or even my boxer shorts. I couldn't do that while I was in banking for ten years. Writing from home has its advantages.

    Stephen Tremp

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  38. Music playing loudly in the background, eyes closed for a quick meditation and then onward. That are at work, on my computer, in my inbox... it's when I have the best ideas!

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  39. Wherever I can! sometimes it's in a coffeeshop, sometimes in a quiet room in my house. I'm adaptable!

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  40. At my desk, on the sofa, in the vineyards or coffee shop. Clothing = naked or casual and comfortable. Rarely naked in the coffee shop or vineyard...;0 lol

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  41. This has been great, reading how everyone reads!

    I write sitting at my desk, often wrapped in a blanket whether I need to be or not (I like the feeling!) and staring out the window.

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  42. And I've done it again. Karen, I don't know why, but your blog seems to have a power over my fingers to type different words than what my brain tells them to.

    I meant: 'how everyone WRITES'!

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  43. I write with Amos on my lap, his head on the keyboard, Annie on the back of the chair. A box of kleenex next to me for the cat allergies, my ITunes playing, 42oz Diet Coke at my elbow. Maybe that is why my blogs are always so short....

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  44. i'm like you. I like to be in comfy yoga pants, sitting in my squishy couch with my laptop on the coffee table or sometimes on my lap:)

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  45. I have to shower - it comes immediately after coffee!
    But I write best when sitting on our comfy couch with a notebook in my hand - and no computer to distract me!

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  46. I grab a notepad or note book, after morning chores have started, machines are running. I make my bed and happily fall into the pillows. I grab a magazine and some books at random open pages.
    Something will grab my attention and then I hen scratch away. My writing is terrible, so once I think I have the key points, I run to computer to get it down. I think the vanilla, lavender spray on my pillow, helps a bit, calms me down. ;-D
    Thank you for the award, haven't forgotten, just been flattened. I didn't think it was possible to have a sinus infection, cold and allergies at the same time. I, now know better~

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  47. I have to be at my desk to get started. Once I have a rough draft, the bed works too! I also feel like writers are always writing (ex. I formulate ideas on the subway and even during conversations with people..okay, wait, that might just make me a bit crazy...) I love this question!!

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  48. Sometimes on my laptop in the living room, sometimes at my desk... sometimes on a notepad in the car. I don't seem to need a particular location. I just try to be ready when ideas hit me, and they do that at an alarming rate!

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  49. Tunes and coffee, at a desk or table to be in a 'formal' posture, and I'm good to go! Thanks for the mention, I've got 2 new followers, and found 2 great Blogs out of the deal!

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  50. I write alone; empty house; dead silence.

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  52. I write in pajamas! (With some cookies. And some tea. And a kitten...)

    - Corra

    The Victorian Heroine

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