Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Writer Do / Don't

We've all seen them -- 10 Things Writers Shouldn't Do; A Dozen Writer Tips; FIVE Way to Better Writing -- etc etc etc ad nauseam.

So today I'm going to give you some tips from the two sides struggling within me.

     Now I'm sure you had a frown cross your brow with that one. A good writer can't have any distractions and a window is just asking for trouble. Something moves and just that quick your mind has been hijacked to gaze out and see what it was. Don't ever put your work area by the window. 
     What crap! Sit that desk right beside the window and you will have a marvelous Muse to start-kick your writing. When unsure of what to do, gaze out the window and let your mind wander. Ms. Muse works wonders with a blank canvas.

     If your mind is working on a piece, the last thing it needs is some idiot singing in your head, especially via headphones. The quiet solace of a private area allows the freedom of thought and gives you the ability to create.
     More bull. Music relaxes whether it be symphonic classics, soft, melodic New Age stuff, head-banging, nerve jangling rock, country or just plain rock and roll.  Music soothes the soul and allows the creative juices to flow.  Give me something to allow my body to move to while I think of the next group of words to type. Absolute silence kills.

Desktop vs Laptop
     A writer is a professional and as a professional, they should have an office with a full computer set up as a place to work. Secretaries don't bounce around from place to place as they do their stenography work; they work at a desk as a professional.  A desktop computer forces the writer to realize he is a professional and put him or her in the proper mindset since it is located where he or she will work.
    Get a laptop, don't waste your time with that big clunky-ass computer that gives you a triple hernia each time you have to move it. A laptop allows you, the professional writer to write wherever and whenever Ms. Muse slaps you up the back of the head. Do you really want to sit in a doctor's office waiting room for twenty minutes while your mind wanders down a fabulous story line? Trust me, by the time you get back to the 'professional writer's desktop computer' the train of thought and all those wonderful words will be a lame and fading memory.

Work Medium - I originally had this labeled as 'Medium' and decided it sounded like a size or spiritualistic type meeting.  Changed it.
     As a writer you need to establish a location where you write and have your quiet time and can be left alone.  Consider placing your desk in a spare bedroom made into an office.  This lends itself to you knowing you are a professional and also tells others in the family you are working when in there.  This also allows you place working notes on the walls and to enhance the experience you can shelve books of writers you enjoy, place encouraging quotes on the walls and paint the walls a cheery color to help calm you.
     This is a pile, a very big pile of you know what! Your office is where you work. If you work on the kitchen table, the kitchen is your office. My desk is in the master bedroom, not far from the bed. Much to my wife's chagrin, when the mood strikes, I can bounce out of bed and work.  I did have a spare bedroom made into an office and the family knew when I was in there I was to be left alone. It alienated me to some extent but my granddaughters didn't understand why grandpa was in there and they couldn't be; so they'd join me.  My wife would yell at me to help her with this or that. The idea of going into a separate room and being left alone by the family is a dream only a single person can truly enjoy with only the front door and telephone to be ignored.  Family can not and will not be ignored.  Life is as life is and family is a part of your life, even for the writer.

     This must be kept away from the work area at all times. When a writer needs something, if it is filed properly away, it will be easy to retrieve. Everything has a place and there is a place for everything. Neatness yada yada yada.
     Yeah, right. A neat desk is the signature of an organized person. NOT!!  A clean desk means the person is spending too much time making sure everything is just so when they should be writing. I am of the cluttered-desk-persuasion and know where close to 90% of my notes are when I look at the stacks of papers, etc.  I'm a crappy filer.  Years ago I had four HUGE piles of paper on a small table in the corner, we are talking about piles of documents stacked about 18 to 24 inches high. My boss came in and wanted a copy of a certain document. I looked at the stack and thought for a minute. She realized it was somewhere in the stacks and started to walk out with a 'Nevermind.'  I told her to wait a minute and I had the document she wanted in less than 2 minutes of searching. My co-worker, the organized one, couldn't find his copy of the document. My wife cleaned my desk at home and it took me 3 days to locate everything, AND I didn't let her throw away the 'trash' as she saw it.  Yes, I scribble notes on sheets of scrap paper which appear to the untrained eye to be nothing more than trash.

In closing I can only state the obvious.  Writers are a mixed lot; do what you feel is necessary to achieve the goal - writing the story.  I would have said 'getting published' but some writers don't want that, they only want to write.  If you are a neat-nik and enjoy head banger music while gazing out the window in your office, so be it. Or if you're the harried mom with a laptop on the kitchen table; the bottom line is -- you're a writer.  Enjoy.

Until next I ramble on...

1 comment:

  1. I love this! We writers get a lot of "how to" advice on everything from writing to publishing and marketing. It's important for us to each find our own way and to honor what works for us.