Christi Corbett is guest posting on Pimp My Novel today. Her post is about ideal writing spaces versus actual ones and it's a fun read, and it got me thinking about writing habits. I find other writers' writing habits interesting so I think I'll post about my own (or, as my grandmother used to say, 'Enough about you, now back to me.')
I once shared her vision of the ideal writing space along with her beliefs about what it would do to my writing ability. Once I stepped into the magic writing space, everything would be, as William Goldman might say, even better than magic.
Not so. Anyone surprised? :)
Good writing happens in the strangest of places. On my current WIP, the best piece of writing that I think I've done so far (I bet the two people who've read it probably disagree) was done when I was on a temp placement in a very quiet office the week before Christmas. The phone wasn't ringing. I had no internet connection. There was only one staff member in the office and she was busy being important. I was busy being the 24 year old temp receptionist, bored beyond belief. There were no magazines to flick through, and I bite my nails down to stumps so I couldn't even file them desultorily.
Woe was me.
Eventually - after several hours, I'd like to point out - I remembered that I occasionally write things and had been working on a novel for ten months. I didn't have the file with me to work on (and couldn't have uploaded it to the work computer even if I had) so I picked a scene that I hadn't written yet but that I knew had to happen, and I wrote it.
I left the office that day beaming, skipping, singing and full of Christmas cheer.
Writing spaces, indeed.
In fact, if I didn't have a full-time job now, I'd probably be begging for placements at that company again.
My usual writing space is on the couch at home. I tend to sit with my feet curled under me like a question mark and my laptop balanced on the side of one thigh. My laptop is an almost 4-year old iBook (one of the nice white ones) and it 500MB of free space on the hard drive. It's an old friend and I love it, but it does tend to go on strike, cry, and rent its garments every time I hit 'Save'. Far from perfect, but it works for me.
I also write in cafes, during breaks at work, or with people when I can find spare time and another person.
When I'm blocked, I use Write or Die. That got me through the hardest portion of my WIP. You choose a word count goal and a duration, and then you have to keep typing until your time is up. If you stop, your computer will play a very annoying sound. I sometimes cheat and just keep typing and erasing full stops to stop the sound going off while I think about what to write next (I lack honour). I haven't been brave enough to try Kamikaze mode yet - that deletes what you've already written if you pause for too long.
It's the game element of Write or Die that I like. Can I manage four hundred words in ten minutes? Oh, I did, brilliant! Let's try 500 this time. . . I can keep that up for hours. I usually have to scrap at least half of what I write but it is good for getting myself warmed up.
What techniques and tricks do you use? Where do you do your best writing? Does it matter? :)