I don’t know about you, but I love hearing from other writers about when/where/how they write.
Writing habits are just so interesting. Some people do it in the early morning before the sun comes up (bless those writers, I don’t know how they do it). Some write late into the night. Some do it on their lunch breaks, while others write on and off all day. Some only do it a few days a week, or only on weekends, or only when they can steal some time for themselves. Others have to be in total silence, or at their desk, or in a busy cafe, or outside with a notebook.
All the ways we write are fascinating. I think people who don’t identify themselves as writers assume strange things about those of us who do write. For example, I get the funny feeling that sometimes people in my life think I sit around all day picking at my cuticles and watching Dr. Phil because I work from home. Ah, hardly. (Although I do watch Dr. Phil if I need a break at 2pm during the week. What? Sue me. I’m only human.)
This is why I’m so interested in hearing about what works for you as a writer. We don’t really talk about writing habits that often and because of that, it seems like writing is shrouded in some kind of mystery. There’s really no mystery. It’s work, no matter if you’re writing for a client who will pay you next week or an audience of fiction readers who will maybe pay you someday.
So, when do you write? Do you have a set schedule? What hours work the best for you? I tend to write throughout the day because I work from home. I like writing in the morning, but I don’t stick to a set routine. Although, to be honest, I have been wanting to force myself into a writing schedule. Not sure if it will help or hinder me, but it’s something I want to try.
Where do you write? I know a lot of writers who have to write in their spot. I like changing the scenery, though. I have a desk in my home office where I tend to get a lot done, but I also set up shop in the living room (sitting on the couch is easier on my back), and now that the weather is nice, I’ve been holding my writing sessions out on the deck. Sometimes I head to a coffee shop or the library, but usually I stay close to home.
How do you write? Most of us use computers nowadays. But are you the type who has to write outlines by hand, or carry a notebook everywhere, or scribble ideas on scraps of paper or the back of Starbucks receipts? How you write is just as interesting as where and when. I like to take notes by hand, whether it’s for an article, something I’m learning about, or thoughts for a story I’m writing. Lists are always handwritten, as are thank you notes. I journal sometimes and when I do it’s always by hand. But when I’m actually working on the meat of a project, I type. But when something needs large-scale edits, I’ll print it out and make changes by hand.
I think understanding our writing habits and what works for us individually can help promote productivity. If I know I’m always exhausted by 9pm, I’m not going to put off my work until the wee hours of the night. And if I need it quiet to write, I’m not going to blast Lady Gaga and assume I’ll get anything accomplished. Maybe this all seems obvious, but how often do you stop to really reflect on your habits and your preferences as a writer?
Leave me a note in the comments about your habits. I’d love to hear from you!
Photo courtesy of Paul.