We are at a lull for the moment. Trips are planned. Family are coming to town. For the most part, though, we are in a holding pattern as we wait for the research to pay off. I’m doing my best to take advantage of this time to start writing. To see if we can actually make a book out of this. We know there is a story that wants to be told, but the trick is trying to figure what the story has to say. As we wait, we try to build a story. Today I want to share my writing process, which, as it turns out, really isn’t a process at all. For me, writing is a free form exercise.
There are a few necessities:
- I need a drink in hand. This could be coffee, sweet tea or whiskey. The time of day will help decide what I am drinking. If it is a lazy Sunday, coffee is undoubtedly filling my cup. If it is a late night, it’s a toss-up between tea and whiskey. Whiskey is likely to abbreviate my night.
- I need a soundtrack. It needs to be something familiar, something I can nod along without thinking about it. Sometimes mellow, think Andrew Combs or John Moreland. Sometimes loud, think Lee Bains & the Glory Fires or Rise Against. Sometimes something in-between, think Jimmy Eat World or American Aquarium. There are days where the music is picked before I sit down, but more often it is a feeling out process, flipping through iTunes waiting for it to click.
- Where to right is a lot easier to figure out. There are only two choices, in bed or at the dining room table. After completing school on line and always studying in bed (it was the most comfortable and private place), I have a knack for getting a lot done sitting in bed. It is not always ideal as naps are far more accessible. The downside to working at the table is that Brutus (my Pekingese) insists on sitting next to my laptop so he can monitor my progress.
With those three things, I can get to work. I see people set goals for themselves, which is probably a good thing. I tried it. I don’t like it. I write until the well is dry. This is free form exercise for me. If it is a cup of coffee and a few lines that don’t match anything, I let it be. If it is sitting in bed with a gallon of sweet tea and six pages to show, even better. Writing is one place where I don’t exercise a great deal of discipline. I have days and times set aside to write but I don’t force it. I let the page dictate the day for me. Some days it isn’t much fuller then when I started, so I simply try again the next day. None of this is likely to be helpful as I don’t have a set system, so I can offer any advice on how to write. I guess what I am getting at is to do what works.
How do you write?