Thursday, February 26, 2009

Preparing to Write

Each of us must find our own style of writing and develop routines that support it. Just like being most at ease when we dress in a manner that's comfortable to use, when we follow our own style of writing rather than what someone else dictates, we become less self-conscious, we feel more authentic. Defenses are dropped. Now we can get to the real stuff.
(pg 9)

If you will take the time to write down all the differant rites and observances you go through to do your writing, you may surprise yourself. Some practices you didn't even know you performed may be an important part of the way you make your art. "Without even knowing it, I had developed a 'practice'," wrote Gail Sher in One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers. "Every day, no matter what, I wrote one haiku. In my mind I became the person who writes 'a haiku a day.' That was the beginning of knowing who I was."
(pg 8)

From Writing Alone, Writing Together: A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups by Judy Reeves

When I first read this six months ago I wasn't doing much writing at home, and when I did I certainly didn't have a set routine nailed down. I found that I could write in coffee shops fairly well and liked doing so because it forced me to focus on my writing and not be distracted by daily life.

However writing once every one or two weeks at a coffee shop is not nearly enough to write a novel in a timely manner, besides gas and that cup of coffee eventually make the novel cost more than it's probably ever going to earn. So I forced myself to figure out what I needed to do to make writing at home practical.

Requirement number one. I need to write in a place where I am comfortable sitting for a couple of hours. There are three places in the house that are comfortable, but two of them are in a public area. If any of my family members are home, or likely to be coming home soon, that opens up the serious possibilty of a number of interuptions. So I really have no choice but to write in my room. Fortunately, I like my room. Unfortunately, sitting on my bed makes me sleepy. So enter a routine to keep myself awake.

Ever since Regina Doman hooked me on tea last fall, I've been consuming it regularily. And thankfully, my favorite tea (Irish Breakfast from Twinnings) is caffinated. So it's a perfect drink for writing that not only sharpens my mind but is a great mood setter.

Then I pulled in the music. Playing a handful of songs from Mamma Mia! wakes me up and puts me in a good mood. Then I switch over to Danny Schneible's Sing Little Children which is a slower, more natural background music. (Love love love that CD of his!) And after that I just pick soundtracks that fit the mood of what I'm writing.

Then, since I want my writing to be in line with God's will because he is the one that gave me the gift of writing and creativity, I pray St. Augustine's Pray to the Holy Spirit. Regina Doman recommended it to us at the writing workshop last fall and I must say I like it.

(Regina Doman is connected to all three of my routine pieces. What can I say? She's amazing and one of my role models. And we're very similar in some ways.)

I'm the sort of person who likes routine, so I definetely like having all of these distinct pieces. Plus it lets my mind and body know "It's Writing Time! Sit up! Start thinking! Focus!" And believe it or not, it works!

So, I'm curious. I know some of my readers are writers as well. Do you have any routines that you use when you sit down to write? What do you find works best for you?


Hannah said...

I do my best writing curled up in front of the wood-burning stove in the winter or an open door in the summer.
Avra from NarniaWeb

Melody said...

I most often write on my desk-top computer, with the door to the room *closed*. I sit, open my document, crack my knuckles, and squinch my legs against my chest. This last action increases thought production and processing by 30%; I'm not kidding!
If the computer is not available to me, which often happens as I share it with my dad, I have to be writting in my personal note-book with a mechanical pencil.
I'm the finicky sort, I guess!

Lanta said...

Haha, I started to comment on this, and it got so long that I went and posted it on my blog.

Elena, could you post the prayer to the Holy Spirit? I don't know it, and I would like to :)

Lyceria said...

I've always used soundtracks that fit the theme of my stories, and other music. It helps me act it out so I can write it!
Btw: I want to be a film director, writer, and singer when I get a little older, and I think what you do is awesome!

Elenatintil said...

Music is so inspiring, isn't it? I love listening to something and then finding myself in the proper mood for a story.

That's awesome! Writing and directing and singing are probably my most favorite activities in the world. I wish you the best of luck and every blessing in your ambitions!