Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Well, I Never.

This month's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog topic is from Lydia: "In my writing, I always/never ____"

Like Lydia (who mentioned this in her own post last week), I also hate absolutes. Always/never thinking is almost always maladaptive, and I've seen "you always ..." and "you never ..." statements flung about the therapy room like the poisoned darts they are. But also, I know they are almost never accurate statements.

Still, there's something clean and simple about always and nevers. So here are mine.

In my writing, I never:
  • Restrict my inner editor. I know a lot of writers who bemoan the inner editor, but I feel differently. We're friends. I edit as I go, and I do it pretty obsessively. It doesn't slow me down, as far as I know.
  • Get sentimentally attached to my words. I love some scenes, but really, if I end up deciding it doesn't serve the overall story, it's toast. I don't even flinch. In fact, I kind of enjoy mercilessly chopping my own stuff. I find deleting things rather cleansing. I know there are more words where those came from.
  • Sit at a desk. I hate sitting at desks and avoid it whenever I can. I usually sit on my bed with my laptop on one of those little table/tray things (what the heck are those called?) or sit in one of my living room chairs with my feet up. I'm probably a chiropractor's nightmare.

In my writing, I always:
  • Start out a writing session by reading over some already-written scenes. Sometimes I'll even read part of one of my other projects. I don't know why I do this. I guess it gets me into the groove.
  • Require a minimum block of time of at least two hours to really write. I get a lot done, but I need blocks of time. I can't do thirty minutes here and there. Perhaps because I spend so much time reading to get myself in the mood for writing.
  • Listen to music while I write. I listen to certain bands while writing certain projects. Most of my characters have their own songs. All my projects have their own playlists.

You can find Laura's always/never writing post here, and next week, Deb will post hers! And what about you? What are your writing absolutes?


  1. Ah, these are interesting. I love to hear other writers quirks/needs. I can't listen to music when I write. I never do. For some reason, the words of the music get tangled up in what I'm trying to write and my brain just can't handle it LOL. Great post.

  2. I have to have a desk. Especially a big, clicky keyboard. I can revise on a laptop, if I have to, but I can't actually really write on one.

  3. I always listen to my inner editor too. I don't see them as separate.

    I have many non-absolutes. Sometimes I listen to music. I can write anywhere, any time, for any length of time.

    And it took me a while, but I no longer get attached to my words either.

  4. I can't listen to music. I get too caught up in fantasies of rockstardom to get any work done! :P

  5. I never bemoan my inner editor either. What's the point. She saved me from having to edited my ms 10 times before sending it to my CPs. Okay, an outline might have always been responsible for that.

    I can't listen to music. It's too distracting. I end up singing (badly) instead of writing.

    I'm also a block writing kind of person. :D

  6. Like others, I never listen to music. I might listen to some BEFORE I start to get the juices flowing but I need silence during the actual writing.

    And I never start with a line of dialogue. Ever.

  7. My inner editor is always loose too. It's not possible to tell her to be quiet.

    So true about the absolutes! They are always/never set in stone, LOL.


  8. ohman! i really have to work on the getting sentimentally attached to words thing! i die a little inside each time i have to machete a darling (not really... but sort of). i think that's because my internal editor makes me obsess about every sentence while i draft, and so each one took a lot of time and consideration and work- so i hate to see them go, you know. but i know you're right. it's just so hard!
    i used to think i couldn't write to music. but my hubby suggested it once, and it drowned out all the other noises in my circus-like home. now i can't write without music, or the other things distract me like crazy! :)

  9. I do fight with my internal editor at times, but I usually end up listening to what she has to say...cuz she's usually right, LOL!

    I don't tend to write at a desk either...I like pillows and cushioning too much, I guess!

    Nice post! :D

  10. Sometimes I edit as I go, usually for larger things that I need to fix in order to move forward. I find my process changes slightly from book to book, (makes it sound like I have 20 huh?) But one thing that never changes is that I'm a pantser. I can't outline. I've tried!

  11. Must sit at a table to write - always! Otherwise, my list is very similar to yours. :)

  12. I have a real keyboard attached to my laptop. If I'm handwriting I use my lap desk. I prefer a big long working space but that almost never happens as I have a lot of stuff. ;)

  13. You and I seem to be very similar.

    Except for the Internal Editor. I keep him muzzled for as long as I can, because I edit everything out in my rough drafts. Even the potentially good stuff.

    It leaves me with a whole lot of bland.


  14. I definitely need the chunk of time. If I try to write with only 30 minutes, then whatever it was I was supposed to do after that gets pushed back or I'm late. I have ditched my Bible study group because I couldn't stop writing!

  15. Ooh, great post. I love sitting with my feet up too! And I have to read over what I wrote the day before, it sets me up for my writing session and gets me in just the right place in the current scene.