The Writing Process (part 1)

Anne here. Over the past week or so, on our private loop, we wenches have been discussing various aspects of our writing processes. Writing goes through dips and troughs, periods of intense creativity and periods of fallowness, where we have to force ourselves to get words on the page, and I thought the collective wenchly wisdom of our discussion was worth sharing. Muse-with-lyre

The discussion started when I related an anecdote about a friend of mine who writes–and writes well–on trains (and I'm not talking about grafitti.) In a 90 minute return trip on the train, she regularly writes around 3000 words.

One of the wenches replied: I can do 3,000 in three hours when I'm on a roll. It's clay. Sometimes good clay. Sometimes junk. It's the way I write, and clearly I can't do 3,000 publish ready words in 3 hours, or doing that daily would result in a 90K book a month. Mine take most of a year. We all have our different processes.

(Anne again: I'm not going to label who said what, just change color each time it's a different person. And though there are eight people in this discussion, using eight different colors would look silly, so there are just two. So forget about trying to work out who is saying what — on with the discussion:—

True about processes. But I seem to labor so hard to get words on paper. The only good news, is the words tend to be fairly well formed. But I’ve been thinking that getting the clay out faster, then shaping, sculpting, would be a better process. Not sure I can change, but I’d like to.

The Muse
My Muse requires changing things up occasionally, so maybe yours does too. I finally learned to download non-interfering music to play when I hit a wall. It goes in one ear and out the other, but it seems to stir the subconscious and says WRITE! The sun also helps. But I have to keep changing things up.

 Dictation?
Maybe talking will do it for you. Have you ever tried dictation? Maybe not looking at the screen would be beneficial?

That’s an interesting idea! For some reason oral stuff usually doesn’t work for me—I do need to see the words to keep any coherent flow going. But maybe I should suspend preconceptions and give it a try. I’m open to anything that might jumpstart a fresh way of doing things.

As I understand it, the subconscious is activated differently in different people. Some people respond to motion, some to sound, some to visual images, etc.  The ability to focus is a different part of the brain, and is also stimulated by different things. I absorb information visually, focus with music, and create kinetically (rocking chair, writing by hand, etc). So it does take some experimentation to find what works for you.

Colored-pens-289486We all have certain hard wiring for process, depending on our brains and perception types – left, right or mixed dominance, or whatever proportion of visual, auditory, kinesthetic we are. Speaking programs don't work for me – I get nothing. I need that direct brain-to-fingers connection to write and create. Verbalization is more left brain, that ability to vocalize profusely. Not me. I think it's the artist programming that I seem to have, that brain/hand connection just works best for me.   

I can write pretty quickly at first, with ideas and research and all that honeymoon phase of a new book. Then I hit a wall and I creep and crawl for a long time, and change my mind a lot. I plan some, but too much pulls the plug on things. Eventually things gel, and clarity or panic – or both – takes over and I can fly through a book like a rocket. But that's usually the last third of a book.  

The motivating force of deadlines:
I've tried to be more structured and a steady producer, but I'm a hare, not a tortoise. And I have Uranus square the Sun, so that brings in a bit of lightning toward the end. Not good for routine. <g> 

Handwriting or not? 
For me the thing that's worked the best is going back to handwriting first. I have much less hesitation or doubt when I'm handwriting. It's like being back at school, when there was an exam and you just started and. .. the words flowed.

So it's rough, but it flows. Then when I type it up, I'm editing as I go, so it's not too bad. I tried reading it onto the computer using one of those dictating programs, but apart from the laughs courtesy of the bizarre mistakes the dictation program makes, I've decided typing a scene up after handwriting it is my best editing process.

Thanks for the suggestion, I’ve also read that the brain functions a little differently when one handwrites as opposed to typing. I’ve tried it a bit, but not enough to know yet whether it will help. I intend to experiment more when I get myself into the next project.

Handwriting just doesn't work for me. Maybe it's because I can barely read my writing? The words don't have as much 'power' in handwriting for some reason.

But I keep the laptop by my bed and wake up in the middle of the night and catch a scene that way. Good writing comes to me in the middle of the night. I think my subconscious is smarter than I am.

Legal-yellow-pad_5Yellow legal pads and colored pens – that works to get bunches of ideas down fast. When I start a book thought, I always start out with a fresh notebook – like a composition book or a spiral notebook. I keep one going for every book I write, sort of journaling the book as I go. I can go through three or four notebooks. Ideas, thoughts, ruminating, flashes of scenes and dialogue, ideas that go somewhere, ideas that go nowhere, and research points that I don't want to forget. 

If I'm looking for something, it's in one of those notebooks somewhere, and that helps too as things get more complex.

Writing in public places or in private?
I work well in the buzzy, noisy, move-y space of a cafe. Just enough music in the background to be energizing, but played low enough for me to ignore. Jazz by preference. Woman-writing-in-cafe_2

There’s NO way I could work in a cafe or bar, as you mentioned you do. Just goes to show — different processes!

Me three, I can't work in public places either, cafes, restaurants, on trains, on planes, even in libraries. I am too highly distractible.  It's challenging to work in my own house when it's in grand central station mode. I want to know what's going on …  

My husband focuses really well in these situations. He says it's like white noise to him. Er, not me. 

I thought like that too, for a long time, but a few years ago I took myself off to the country for a week — just myself, to try to get stuck into a book. And on the way back, I stayed a night in the state capital before catching a flight home. The next morning I had to get out of the hotel by 10 or 11, and my flight wasn't until 5, so I wrote in the hotel until the last gasp and went for a late breakfast in a cafe.

While I was waiting for my eggs, I had an idea for the scene and so pulled out my notebook and started writing it down. I ate my eggs when they came and kept writing. I had several coffees and kept writing. The lunch crowd started to arrive, so I left and found myself a table in a hotel beer garden — and kept writing (sans beer.) I wrote like that all afternoon, moving to another place for a late lunch. I even wrote in the airport. That experience taught me that I could write anywhere.

Since then I regularly go to my local library to write — yes there are people and distractions around — and it drives me wild when people have cell-phone conversations in the library — but somehow, I can still write. Often better than I can at home, where the distractions are different.

For one thing there's a slight feeling of obligation when you're in public — sitting and staring at nothing in a cafe or library starts to feel weird after a bit, so you tend to hunch over your wip to look busy… and soon, you are. I will often start by writing down some questions about the scene to come, or whatever, and then I'll answer them, and pretty soon I'm writing dialogue and a scene is taking place.

Daphne-du-maurierSo maybe next time you find yourself staring at a screen or notebook, take yourself out somewhere and see what happens. As someone here said, mixing it up is good.

On writing in or out of the house, I wonder if it makes any difference whether we live alone? Some might interpret that as the person not alone needing to get out, but I'm thinking the other way. If the whole home is normally quiet and private then that quiet, private writing space isn't special, and a place with people and some noise might be special.

Anything in that? 

I have written away from my writing cave, but very rarely. It's where it happens for me.

For me, the house has so many distractions I can always find other things that "need" to be done first, before I write. It's a never-ending list.  So it's not about feeling special, or about there being people and noise to energize me or whatever — it's about trapping myself. <g>
 
In the library or a cafe, I don't have the web, because I don't take my phone or my laptop, only my writing book and pens. I'm sitting at a table, and there's nothing to do except think and write. Or look weird and a bit creepy. <g>

Anne again: This is only the first part of the discussion, but at 1400 words, I felt this blog was long enough. But interesting, I hope. Next time I'll share some more wenchly wisdom about some of the other ways we harness our creativity—particularly music. (BTW the pic above is of Daphne DuMaurier in her writing cave.)

What about you — if you're a creative type, what sets your muse going? Do you prefer to do your work in private or public (depending what work you do, of course—anyone for brain-surgery done in the local cafe? <g>)  Do you find it easy to work or read in cafes or other public places? Does it annoy you when other people are working there? What do you do when you get stuck?

170 thoughts on “The Writing Process (part 1)”

  1. “Do you prefer to do your work in private or public”
    Private every time. If something is going well, and then suddenly someone just has to interrupt to tell me something unimportant, and I get rid of them as fast and as politely as I can, and then I turn back to the screen…
    …and then I realise I’ve lost it and it’s not coming back. I always prefer to either be in an office on my own or work while people are asleep, and I count on getting little done at other times.

    Reply
  2. “Do you prefer to do your work in private or public”
    Private every time. If something is going well, and then suddenly someone just has to interrupt to tell me something unimportant, and I get rid of them as fast and as politely as I can, and then I turn back to the screen…
    …and then I realise I’ve lost it and it’s not coming back. I always prefer to either be in an office on my own or work while people are asleep, and I count on getting little done at other times.

    Reply
  3. “Do you prefer to do your work in private or public”
    Private every time. If something is going well, and then suddenly someone just has to interrupt to tell me something unimportant, and I get rid of them as fast and as politely as I can, and then I turn back to the screen…
    …and then I realise I’ve lost it and it’s not coming back. I always prefer to either be in an office on my own or work while people are asleep, and I count on getting little done at other times.

    Reply
  4. “Do you prefer to do your work in private or public”
    Private every time. If something is going well, and then suddenly someone just has to interrupt to tell me something unimportant, and I get rid of them as fast and as politely as I can, and then I turn back to the screen…
    …and then I realise I’ve lost it and it’s not coming back. I always prefer to either be in an office on my own or work while people are asleep, and I count on getting little done at other times.

    Reply
  5. “Do you prefer to do your work in private or public”
    Private every time. If something is going well, and then suddenly someone just has to interrupt to tell me something unimportant, and I get rid of them as fast and as politely as I can, and then I turn back to the screen…
    …and then I realise I’ve lost it and it’s not coming back. I always prefer to either be in an office on my own or work while people are asleep, and I count on getting little done at other times.

    Reply
  6. I don’t just need privacy, I need solitude. My only concession is occasionally leaving my desk to work on the sofa or out on the screen porch when I’m at the revising by hand stage. I like to scribble on a printout when I revise, although I then have to enter the changes into the computer while I can still read my handwriting. My additions and corrections tend to run around all sides of a page with arrows and asterisks and occasional inserts from other pages. It’s messy, but it works for me.

    Reply
  7. I don’t just need privacy, I need solitude. My only concession is occasionally leaving my desk to work on the sofa or out on the screen porch when I’m at the revising by hand stage. I like to scribble on a printout when I revise, although I then have to enter the changes into the computer while I can still read my handwriting. My additions and corrections tend to run around all sides of a page with arrows and asterisks and occasional inserts from other pages. It’s messy, but it works for me.

    Reply
  8. I don’t just need privacy, I need solitude. My only concession is occasionally leaving my desk to work on the sofa or out on the screen porch when I’m at the revising by hand stage. I like to scribble on a printout when I revise, although I then have to enter the changes into the computer while I can still read my handwriting. My additions and corrections tend to run around all sides of a page with arrows and asterisks and occasional inserts from other pages. It’s messy, but it works for me.

    Reply
  9. I don’t just need privacy, I need solitude. My only concession is occasionally leaving my desk to work on the sofa or out on the screen porch when I’m at the revising by hand stage. I like to scribble on a printout when I revise, although I then have to enter the changes into the computer while I can still read my handwriting. My additions and corrections tend to run around all sides of a page with arrows and asterisks and occasional inserts from other pages. It’s messy, but it works for me.

    Reply
  10. I don’t just need privacy, I need solitude. My only concession is occasionally leaving my desk to work on the sofa or out on the screen porch when I’m at the revising by hand stage. I like to scribble on a printout when I revise, although I then have to enter the changes into the computer while I can still read my handwriting. My additions and corrections tend to run around all sides of a page with arrows and asterisks and occasional inserts from other pages. It’s messy, but it works for me.

    Reply
  11. Sonya, interruptions can completely shatter your concentration, I agree. I have a friend who sometimes pops around, saying, "I won't interrupt, it's just for five minutes" — but he HAS interrupted and the word-flow I had before the interruption has become a reluctant and intermittent sputter.

    Reply
  12. Sonya, interruptions can completely shatter your concentration, I agree. I have a friend who sometimes pops around, saying, "I won't interrupt, it's just for five minutes" — but he HAS interrupted and the word-flow I had before the interruption has become a reluctant and intermittent sputter.

    Reply
  13. Sonya, interruptions can completely shatter your concentration, I agree. I have a friend who sometimes pops around, saying, "I won't interrupt, it's just for five minutes" — but he HAS interrupted and the word-flow I had before the interruption has become a reluctant and intermittent sputter.

    Reply
  14. Sonya, interruptions can completely shatter your concentration, I agree. I have a friend who sometimes pops around, saying, "I won't interrupt, it's just for five minutes" — but he HAS interrupted and the word-flow I had before the interruption has become a reluctant and intermittent sputter.

    Reply
  15. Sonya, interruptions can completely shatter your concentration, I agree. I have a friend who sometimes pops around, saying, "I won't interrupt, it's just for five minutes" — but he HAS interrupted and the word-flow I had before the interruption has become a reluctant and intermittent sputter.

    Reply
  16. Kathy, it sounds like we have similar processes — or at least that was the process I used to have, before I learned I can write in all kinds of places. As for messy scribbles and arrows — I showed someone my writing notebook the other day and they just blinked and said — and you can read that?

    Reply
  17. Kathy, it sounds like we have similar processes — or at least that was the process I used to have, before I learned I can write in all kinds of places. As for messy scribbles and arrows — I showed someone my writing notebook the other day and they just blinked and said — and you can read that?

    Reply
  18. Kathy, it sounds like we have similar processes — or at least that was the process I used to have, before I learned I can write in all kinds of places. As for messy scribbles and arrows — I showed someone my writing notebook the other day and they just blinked and said — and you can read that?

    Reply
  19. Kathy, it sounds like we have similar processes — or at least that was the process I used to have, before I learned I can write in all kinds of places. As for messy scribbles and arrows — I showed someone my writing notebook the other day and they just blinked and said — and you can read that?

    Reply
  20. Kathy, it sounds like we have similar processes — or at least that was the process I used to have, before I learned I can write in all kinds of places. As for messy scribbles and arrows — I showed someone my writing notebook the other day and they just blinked and said — and you can read that?

    Reply
  21. I much prefer writing in public. I like the chatter. It becomes white noise to me. It also has a frantic energy to it with the coming and going of people that builds my energy level. If I work at home, I am easily distracted by the chores or the mess or the kids (not the right kind of chatter), and work rarely gets done (except late at night). Plus, if I get stuck while writing in a coffee shop, I take a break and eavesdrop on conversations. That’s quite a boost to creativity when you hear something interesting, or something that *might* be interesting if you tweaked it just a bit. 🙂

    Reply
  22. I much prefer writing in public. I like the chatter. It becomes white noise to me. It also has a frantic energy to it with the coming and going of people that builds my energy level. If I work at home, I am easily distracted by the chores or the mess or the kids (not the right kind of chatter), and work rarely gets done (except late at night). Plus, if I get stuck while writing in a coffee shop, I take a break and eavesdrop on conversations. That’s quite a boost to creativity when you hear something interesting, or something that *might* be interesting if you tweaked it just a bit. 🙂

    Reply
  23. I much prefer writing in public. I like the chatter. It becomes white noise to me. It also has a frantic energy to it with the coming and going of people that builds my energy level. If I work at home, I am easily distracted by the chores or the mess or the kids (not the right kind of chatter), and work rarely gets done (except late at night). Plus, if I get stuck while writing in a coffee shop, I take a break and eavesdrop on conversations. That’s quite a boost to creativity when you hear something interesting, or something that *might* be interesting if you tweaked it just a bit. 🙂

    Reply
  24. I much prefer writing in public. I like the chatter. It becomes white noise to me. It also has a frantic energy to it with the coming and going of people that builds my energy level. If I work at home, I am easily distracted by the chores or the mess or the kids (not the right kind of chatter), and work rarely gets done (except late at night). Plus, if I get stuck while writing in a coffee shop, I take a break and eavesdrop on conversations. That’s quite a boost to creativity when you hear something interesting, or something that *might* be interesting if you tweaked it just a bit. 🙂

    Reply
  25. I much prefer writing in public. I like the chatter. It becomes white noise to me. It also has a frantic energy to it with the coming and going of people that builds my energy level. If I work at home, I am easily distracted by the chores or the mess or the kids (not the right kind of chatter), and work rarely gets done (except late at night). Plus, if I get stuck while writing in a coffee shop, I take a break and eavesdrop on conversations. That’s quite a boost to creativity when you hear something interesting, or something that *might* be interesting if you tweaked it just a bit. 🙂

    Reply
  26. Thanks, Cindy. I must admit before I tried it, I thought I preferred silence, too, but now it's wonderful because I can write at home or in public, and best of all I can mix things up and refresh the energy, as you point out. Some of my favorite (and very prolific) authors head for a cafe every morning to write. Others need the cave.
    Part of the writing adventure is learning how different situations can be exploited.

    Reply
  27. Thanks, Cindy. I must admit before I tried it, I thought I preferred silence, too, but now it's wonderful because I can write at home or in public, and best of all I can mix things up and refresh the energy, as you point out. Some of my favorite (and very prolific) authors head for a cafe every morning to write. Others need the cave.
    Part of the writing adventure is learning how different situations can be exploited.

    Reply
  28. Thanks, Cindy. I must admit before I tried it, I thought I preferred silence, too, but now it's wonderful because I can write at home or in public, and best of all I can mix things up and refresh the energy, as you point out. Some of my favorite (and very prolific) authors head for a cafe every morning to write. Others need the cave.
    Part of the writing adventure is learning how different situations can be exploited.

    Reply
  29. Thanks, Cindy. I must admit before I tried it, I thought I preferred silence, too, but now it's wonderful because I can write at home or in public, and best of all I can mix things up and refresh the energy, as you point out. Some of my favorite (and very prolific) authors head for a cafe every morning to write. Others need the cave.
    Part of the writing adventure is learning how different situations can be exploited.

    Reply
  30. Thanks, Cindy. I must admit before I tried it, I thought I preferred silence, too, but now it's wonderful because I can write at home or in public, and best of all I can mix things up and refresh the energy, as you point out. Some of my favorite (and very prolific) authors head for a cafe every morning to write. Others need the cave.
    Part of the writing adventure is learning how different situations can be exploited.

    Reply
  31. For writing one scene after another, I prefer to be at home on the computer. If I’m stuck, I write out the problem and then take it with me to my favorite eatery on Thursday. Writing in public requires a different kind of concentration.

    Reply
  32. For writing one scene after another, I prefer to be at home on the computer. If I’m stuck, I write out the problem and then take it with me to my favorite eatery on Thursday. Writing in public requires a different kind of concentration.

    Reply
  33. For writing one scene after another, I prefer to be at home on the computer. If I’m stuck, I write out the problem and then take it with me to my favorite eatery on Thursday. Writing in public requires a different kind of concentration.

    Reply
  34. For writing one scene after another, I prefer to be at home on the computer. If I’m stuck, I write out the problem and then take it with me to my favorite eatery on Thursday. Writing in public requires a different kind of concentration.

    Reply
  35. For writing one scene after another, I prefer to be at home on the computer. If I’m stuck, I write out the problem and then take it with me to my favorite eatery on Thursday. Writing in public requires a different kind of concentration.

    Reply
  36. That's an interesting observation, Laurel — thanks.. I think I do that, too — head out into a public place when I'm a bit stuck. When I get closer to the deadline–and therefore the end of the book — I practically don't leave the house. Mainly that's because by the time I get to the last third of a book I know exactly what comes next and how I want it to be, so it comes a lot quicker than the earlier parts of the book, where the story is still fluid and taking shape.

    Reply
  37. That's an interesting observation, Laurel — thanks.. I think I do that, too — head out into a public place when I'm a bit stuck. When I get closer to the deadline–and therefore the end of the book — I practically don't leave the house. Mainly that's because by the time I get to the last third of a book I know exactly what comes next and how I want it to be, so it comes a lot quicker than the earlier parts of the book, where the story is still fluid and taking shape.

    Reply
  38. That's an interesting observation, Laurel — thanks.. I think I do that, too — head out into a public place when I'm a bit stuck. When I get closer to the deadline–and therefore the end of the book — I practically don't leave the house. Mainly that's because by the time I get to the last third of a book I know exactly what comes next and how I want it to be, so it comes a lot quicker than the earlier parts of the book, where the story is still fluid and taking shape.

    Reply
  39. That's an interesting observation, Laurel — thanks.. I think I do that, too — head out into a public place when I'm a bit stuck. When I get closer to the deadline–and therefore the end of the book — I practically don't leave the house. Mainly that's because by the time I get to the last third of a book I know exactly what comes next and how I want it to be, so it comes a lot quicker than the earlier parts of the book, where the story is still fluid and taking shape.

    Reply
  40. That's an interesting observation, Laurel — thanks.. I think I do that, too — head out into a public place when I'm a bit stuck. When I get closer to the deadline–and therefore the end of the book — I practically don't leave the house. Mainly that's because by the time I get to the last third of a book I know exactly what comes next and how I want it to be, so it comes a lot quicker than the earlier parts of the book, where the story is still fluid and taking shape.

    Reply
  41. Usually it’s a time and place where I have absolutely no way to capture my ideas….driving to a friends baby shower, with my own baby fussing in the back seat was a more memorable example. One day, when my boy is older, I hope that I’ll find a time and place and discover if I really have it in me to write anything worthwhile. Until then, I’ll scribble down my fleeting ideas where and when I get them (if at all possible) and keep on reading the real writers that I enjoy.

    Reply
  42. Usually it’s a time and place where I have absolutely no way to capture my ideas….driving to a friends baby shower, with my own baby fussing in the back seat was a more memorable example. One day, when my boy is older, I hope that I’ll find a time and place and discover if I really have it in me to write anything worthwhile. Until then, I’ll scribble down my fleeting ideas where and when I get them (if at all possible) and keep on reading the real writers that I enjoy.

    Reply
  43. Usually it’s a time and place where I have absolutely no way to capture my ideas….driving to a friends baby shower, with my own baby fussing in the back seat was a more memorable example. One day, when my boy is older, I hope that I’ll find a time and place and discover if I really have it in me to write anything worthwhile. Until then, I’ll scribble down my fleeting ideas where and when I get them (if at all possible) and keep on reading the real writers that I enjoy.

    Reply
  44. Usually it’s a time and place where I have absolutely no way to capture my ideas….driving to a friends baby shower, with my own baby fussing in the back seat was a more memorable example. One day, when my boy is older, I hope that I’ll find a time and place and discover if I really have it in me to write anything worthwhile. Until then, I’ll scribble down my fleeting ideas where and when I get them (if at all possible) and keep on reading the real writers that I enjoy.

    Reply
  45. Usually it’s a time and place where I have absolutely no way to capture my ideas….driving to a friends baby shower, with my own baby fussing in the back seat was a more memorable example. One day, when my boy is older, I hope that I’ll find a time and place and discover if I really have it in me to write anything worthwhile. Until then, I’ll scribble down my fleeting ideas where and when I get them (if at all possible) and keep on reading the real writers that I enjoy.

    Reply
  46. Your question said writing AND reading (emphasis mine). I can read anywhere, public or private, and any time unless my body is demanding sleep
    Writing is difficult for me (even short responses like this).My true skill with word sis editorial and that skill kicks in at the moment I start to write. Editorial skill work better when there is writing to work with; when I start second guessing myself as I begin to write, it is sometimes hard to get anything on the page. My writing is entirely factual, so I don’t have problems with making character and plot; but even factual writing needs some creativity if is it to be interesting.
    I mostly prefer writing at a desk (this may be training); but I can work up initial ideas with pencil and paper any where except a moving vehicle: train, car, and airplane — all are wrong for me when I’m writing.

    Reply
  47. Your question said writing AND reading (emphasis mine). I can read anywhere, public or private, and any time unless my body is demanding sleep
    Writing is difficult for me (even short responses like this).My true skill with word sis editorial and that skill kicks in at the moment I start to write. Editorial skill work better when there is writing to work with; when I start second guessing myself as I begin to write, it is sometimes hard to get anything on the page. My writing is entirely factual, so I don’t have problems with making character and plot; but even factual writing needs some creativity if is it to be interesting.
    I mostly prefer writing at a desk (this may be training); but I can work up initial ideas with pencil and paper any where except a moving vehicle: train, car, and airplane — all are wrong for me when I’m writing.

    Reply
  48. Your question said writing AND reading (emphasis mine). I can read anywhere, public or private, and any time unless my body is demanding sleep
    Writing is difficult for me (even short responses like this).My true skill with word sis editorial and that skill kicks in at the moment I start to write. Editorial skill work better when there is writing to work with; when I start second guessing myself as I begin to write, it is sometimes hard to get anything on the page. My writing is entirely factual, so I don’t have problems with making character and plot; but even factual writing needs some creativity if is it to be interesting.
    I mostly prefer writing at a desk (this may be training); but I can work up initial ideas with pencil and paper any where except a moving vehicle: train, car, and airplane — all are wrong for me when I’m writing.

    Reply
  49. Your question said writing AND reading (emphasis mine). I can read anywhere, public or private, and any time unless my body is demanding sleep
    Writing is difficult for me (even short responses like this).My true skill with word sis editorial and that skill kicks in at the moment I start to write. Editorial skill work better when there is writing to work with; when I start second guessing myself as I begin to write, it is sometimes hard to get anything on the page. My writing is entirely factual, so I don’t have problems with making character and plot; but even factual writing needs some creativity if is it to be interesting.
    I mostly prefer writing at a desk (this may be training); but I can work up initial ideas with pencil and paper any where except a moving vehicle: train, car, and airplane — all are wrong for me when I’m writing.

    Reply
  50. Your question said writing AND reading (emphasis mine). I can read anywhere, public or private, and any time unless my body is demanding sleep
    Writing is difficult for me (even short responses like this).My true skill with word sis editorial and that skill kicks in at the moment I start to write. Editorial skill work better when there is writing to work with; when I start second guessing myself as I begin to write, it is sometimes hard to get anything on the page. My writing is entirely factual, so I don’t have problems with making character and plot; but even factual writing needs some creativity if is it to be interesting.
    I mostly prefer writing at a desk (this may be training); but I can work up initial ideas with pencil and paper any where except a moving vehicle: train, car, and airplane — all are wrong for me when I’m writing.

    Reply
  51. I can write anywhere because I zone out completely. My family know to touch me if they really need my attention – and they know that if they do interrupt me they need to be able to show evidence of the emergency – blood should be involved in some way.
    I write on the commuter train, and my fellow passengers haul me out of the 19th century when I reach my station. Love those guys.

    Reply
  52. I can write anywhere because I zone out completely. My family know to touch me if they really need my attention – and they know that if they do interrupt me they need to be able to show evidence of the emergency – blood should be involved in some way.
    I write on the commuter train, and my fellow passengers haul me out of the 19th century when I reach my station. Love those guys.

    Reply
  53. I can write anywhere because I zone out completely. My family know to touch me if they really need my attention – and they know that if they do interrupt me they need to be able to show evidence of the emergency – blood should be involved in some way.
    I write on the commuter train, and my fellow passengers haul me out of the 19th century when I reach my station. Love those guys.

    Reply
  54. I can write anywhere because I zone out completely. My family know to touch me if they really need my attention – and they know that if they do interrupt me they need to be able to show evidence of the emergency – blood should be involved in some way.
    I write on the commuter train, and my fellow passengers haul me out of the 19th century when I reach my station. Love those guys.

    Reply
  55. I can write anywhere because I zone out completely. My family know to touch me if they really need my attention – and they know that if they do interrupt me they need to be able to show evidence of the emergency – blood should be involved in some way.
    I write on the commuter train, and my fellow passengers haul me out of the 19th century when I reach my station. Love those guys.

    Reply
  56. Jude, that's brilliant. I've never managed to write on a train — or a bus or in a car — though I have written on planes before. Actually, come to think of it, that's wrong — I used to ravel to school on a train, and I did so much homework on the train– it was an hour each way, so I got a fair bit done. I love it that your fellow commuters tell you when your stop is. Communting is such a routine — and I think it's wonderful that you've built writing into yours. So many people say thay don't have the time to write — and here you are, using your time so well.

    Reply
  57. Jude, that's brilliant. I've never managed to write on a train — or a bus or in a car — though I have written on planes before. Actually, come to think of it, that's wrong — I used to ravel to school on a train, and I did so much homework on the train– it was an hour each way, so I got a fair bit done. I love it that your fellow commuters tell you when your stop is. Communting is such a routine — and I think it's wonderful that you've built writing into yours. So many people say thay don't have the time to write — and here you are, using your time so well.

    Reply
  58. Jude, that's brilliant. I've never managed to write on a train — or a bus or in a car — though I have written on planes before. Actually, come to think of it, that's wrong — I used to ravel to school on a train, and I did so much homework on the train– it was an hour each way, so I got a fair bit done. I love it that your fellow commuters tell you when your stop is. Communting is such a routine — and I think it's wonderful that you've built writing into yours. So many people say thay don't have the time to write — and here you are, using your time so well.

    Reply
  59. Jude, that's brilliant. I've never managed to write on a train — or a bus or in a car — though I have written on planes before. Actually, come to think of it, that's wrong — I used to ravel to school on a train, and I did so much homework on the train– it was an hour each way, so I got a fair bit done. I love it that your fellow commuters tell you when your stop is. Communting is such a routine — and I think it's wonderful that you've built writing into yours. So many people say thay don't have the time to write — and here you are, using your time so well.

    Reply
  60. Jude, that's brilliant. I've never managed to write on a train — or a bus or in a car — though I have written on planes before. Actually, come to think of it, that's wrong — I used to ravel to school on a train, and I did so much homework on the train– it was an hour each way, so I got a fair bit done. I love it that your fellow commuters tell you when your stop is. Communting is such a routine — and I think it's wonderful that you've built writing into yours. So many people say thay don't have the time to write — and here you are, using your time so well.

    Reply
  61. Well, my goodness! Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
    Small world, in fact.
    I’ve referred to myself as a hare, not a tortoise, all my life (Sun sq Uranus for me, too), and I decided that’s why I enjoy editing so much. Someone steadier has run the marathon, and I get to sprint.
    I do SO admire all you Wenches, and am so grateful for your wonderful stories and the hard work that goes into them.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  62. Well, my goodness! Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
    Small world, in fact.
    I’ve referred to myself as a hare, not a tortoise, all my life (Sun sq Uranus for me, too), and I decided that’s why I enjoy editing so much. Someone steadier has run the marathon, and I get to sprint.
    I do SO admire all you Wenches, and am so grateful for your wonderful stories and the hard work that goes into them.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  63. Well, my goodness! Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
    Small world, in fact.
    I’ve referred to myself as a hare, not a tortoise, all my life (Sun sq Uranus for me, too), and I decided that’s why I enjoy editing so much. Someone steadier has run the marathon, and I get to sprint.
    I do SO admire all you Wenches, and am so grateful for your wonderful stories and the hard work that goes into them.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  64. Well, my goodness! Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
    Small world, in fact.
    I’ve referred to myself as a hare, not a tortoise, all my life (Sun sq Uranus for me, too), and I decided that’s why I enjoy editing so much. Someone steadier has run the marathon, and I get to sprint.
    I do SO admire all you Wenches, and am so grateful for your wonderful stories and the hard work that goes into them.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  65. Well, my goodness! Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
    Small world, in fact.
    I’ve referred to myself as a hare, not a tortoise, all my life (Sun sq Uranus for me, too), and I decided that’s why I enjoy editing so much. Someone steadier has run the marathon, and I get to sprint.
    I do SO admire all you Wenches, and am so grateful for your wonderful stories and the hard work that goes into them.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  66. I love how everyone’s process is so different, yet the end result is a wonderful book!
    I’m a creature of habit. Have to sit in my fake leather chair in my room with my PC on my rolltop desk. No music. I don’t let myself stare out the window at the lake (much). My husband’s only allowed in to bring me food or drink, LOL.
    When we travel, I have a laptop and try to find an equivalent quiet space. I once wrote on a plane but found it physically uncomfortable…and did not want anyone to read what I was writing!
    As a side note, I’ve just gotten a pair of computer glasses. They have helped enormously to see the screen without me bobbling my head all over the place. It might be easier now to write away from my desk wearing them—if I remember to bring them!

    Reply
  67. I love how everyone’s process is so different, yet the end result is a wonderful book!
    I’m a creature of habit. Have to sit in my fake leather chair in my room with my PC on my rolltop desk. No music. I don’t let myself stare out the window at the lake (much). My husband’s only allowed in to bring me food or drink, LOL.
    When we travel, I have a laptop and try to find an equivalent quiet space. I once wrote on a plane but found it physically uncomfortable…and did not want anyone to read what I was writing!
    As a side note, I’ve just gotten a pair of computer glasses. They have helped enormously to see the screen without me bobbling my head all over the place. It might be easier now to write away from my desk wearing them—if I remember to bring them!

    Reply
  68. I love how everyone’s process is so different, yet the end result is a wonderful book!
    I’m a creature of habit. Have to sit in my fake leather chair in my room with my PC on my rolltop desk. No music. I don’t let myself stare out the window at the lake (much). My husband’s only allowed in to bring me food or drink, LOL.
    When we travel, I have a laptop and try to find an equivalent quiet space. I once wrote on a plane but found it physically uncomfortable…and did not want anyone to read what I was writing!
    As a side note, I’ve just gotten a pair of computer glasses. They have helped enormously to see the screen without me bobbling my head all over the place. It might be easier now to write away from my desk wearing them—if I remember to bring them!

    Reply
  69. I love how everyone’s process is so different, yet the end result is a wonderful book!
    I’m a creature of habit. Have to sit in my fake leather chair in my room with my PC on my rolltop desk. No music. I don’t let myself stare out the window at the lake (much). My husband’s only allowed in to bring me food or drink, LOL.
    When we travel, I have a laptop and try to find an equivalent quiet space. I once wrote on a plane but found it physically uncomfortable…and did not want anyone to read what I was writing!
    As a side note, I’ve just gotten a pair of computer glasses. They have helped enormously to see the screen without me bobbling my head all over the place. It might be easier now to write away from my desk wearing them—if I remember to bring them!

    Reply
  70. I love how everyone’s process is so different, yet the end result is a wonderful book!
    I’m a creature of habit. Have to sit in my fake leather chair in my room with my PC on my rolltop desk. No music. I don’t let myself stare out the window at the lake (much). My husband’s only allowed in to bring me food or drink, LOL.
    When we travel, I have a laptop and try to find an equivalent quiet space. I once wrote on a plane but found it physically uncomfortable…and did not want anyone to read what I was writing!
    As a side note, I’ve just gotten a pair of computer glasses. They have helped enormously to see the screen without me bobbling my head all over the place. It might be easier now to write away from my desk wearing them—if I remember to bring them!

    Reply
  71. The muse is not often convenient, is she? As for "writing something worthwhile" — don't let that kind of thinking block you. Telling a story is sufficient — and you''ll get better — as we all do — with practice. I still have piles of scribbled notes on ideas that came to me ages ago, and every now and then I rummage through them, and sometimes one of them becomes a story. They say the best ideas live on in your subconscious and return when you need them. But I still need to write them down.

    Reply
  72. The muse is not often convenient, is she? As for "writing something worthwhile" — don't let that kind of thinking block you. Telling a story is sufficient — and you''ll get better — as we all do — with practice. I still have piles of scribbled notes on ideas that came to me ages ago, and every now and then I rummage through them, and sometimes one of them becomes a story. They say the best ideas live on in your subconscious and return when you need them. But I still need to write them down.

    Reply
  73. The muse is not often convenient, is she? As for "writing something worthwhile" — don't let that kind of thinking block you. Telling a story is sufficient — and you''ll get better — as we all do — with practice. I still have piles of scribbled notes on ideas that came to me ages ago, and every now and then I rummage through them, and sometimes one of them becomes a story. They say the best ideas live on in your subconscious and return when you need them. But I still need to write them down.

    Reply
  74. The muse is not often convenient, is she? As for "writing something worthwhile" — don't let that kind of thinking block you. Telling a story is sufficient — and you''ll get better — as we all do — with practice. I still have piles of scribbled notes on ideas that came to me ages ago, and every now and then I rummage through them, and sometimes one of them becomes a story. They say the best ideas live on in your subconscious and return when you need them. But I still need to write them down.

    Reply
  75. The muse is not often convenient, is she? As for "writing something worthwhile" — don't let that kind of thinking block you. Telling a story is sufficient — and you''ll get better — as we all do — with practice. I still have piles of scribbled notes on ideas that came to me ages ago, and every now and then I rummage through them, and sometimes one of them becomes a story. They say the best ideas live on in your subconscious and return when you need them. But I still need to write them down.

    Reply
  76. Sue, yes, I can read in most places, too. And writing and editing non-fiction is an art, I agree. So many people seem to imagine that non-fiction is dull, whereas for me, the best non-fiction is as as absorbing as any novel. Second-guessing oneself is a problem for many of us, no matter what we write. Sometimes the hard thing about writing is not the words, but the choices we have to make — plot choices, character choices, that kind of thing. And second-guessing oneself can cripple a writer.

    Reply
  77. Sue, yes, I can read in most places, too. And writing and editing non-fiction is an art, I agree. So many people seem to imagine that non-fiction is dull, whereas for me, the best non-fiction is as as absorbing as any novel. Second-guessing oneself is a problem for many of us, no matter what we write. Sometimes the hard thing about writing is not the words, but the choices we have to make — plot choices, character choices, that kind of thing. And second-guessing oneself can cripple a writer.

    Reply
  78. Sue, yes, I can read in most places, too. And writing and editing non-fiction is an art, I agree. So many people seem to imagine that non-fiction is dull, whereas for me, the best non-fiction is as as absorbing as any novel. Second-guessing oneself is a problem for many of us, no matter what we write. Sometimes the hard thing about writing is not the words, but the choices we have to make — plot choices, character choices, that kind of thing. And second-guessing oneself can cripple a writer.

    Reply
  79. Sue, yes, I can read in most places, too. And writing and editing non-fiction is an art, I agree. So many people seem to imagine that non-fiction is dull, whereas for me, the best non-fiction is as as absorbing as any novel. Second-guessing oneself is a problem for many of us, no matter what we write. Sometimes the hard thing about writing is not the words, but the choices we have to make — plot choices, character choices, that kind of thing. And second-guessing oneself can cripple a writer.

    Reply
  80. Sue, yes, I can read in most places, too. And writing and editing non-fiction is an art, I agree. So many people seem to imagine that non-fiction is dull, whereas for me, the best non-fiction is as as absorbing as any novel. Second-guessing oneself is a problem for many of us, no matter what we write. Sometimes the hard thing about writing is not the words, but the choices we have to make — plot choices, character choices, that kind of thing. And second-guessing oneself can cripple a writer.

    Reply
  81. Sprint away, Faith — in my opinion the modern world of publishing, with so much digital publishing going on, will favor the hare much more than the tortoise. And shorter stories are very popular, which also favors the quick sprint. Me, I sprint faster the closer I get to the deadline.

    Reply
  82. Sprint away, Faith — in my opinion the modern world of publishing, with so much digital publishing going on, will favor the hare much more than the tortoise. And shorter stories are very popular, which also favors the quick sprint. Me, I sprint faster the closer I get to the deadline.

    Reply
  83. Sprint away, Faith — in my opinion the modern world of publishing, with so much digital publishing going on, will favor the hare much more than the tortoise. And shorter stories are very popular, which also favors the quick sprint. Me, I sprint faster the closer I get to the deadline.

    Reply
  84. Sprint away, Faith — in my opinion the modern world of publishing, with so much digital publishing going on, will favor the hare much more than the tortoise. And shorter stories are very popular, which also favors the quick sprint. Me, I sprint faster the closer I get to the deadline.

    Reply
  85. Sprint away, Faith — in my opinion the modern world of publishing, with so much digital publishing going on, will favor the hare much more than the tortoise. And shorter stories are very popular, which also favors the quick sprint. Me, I sprint faster the closer I get to the deadline.

    Reply
  86. Maggie, one of the reasons I only write by hand in public is the fear that someone will look over my shoulder and read what I'm writing. Whereas with my scribble, they haven't a hope. And even if nobody is trying to read my screen, I'd imagine they were — because I would be, if I were in their place. Incurably curious, that's me.

    Reply
  87. Maggie, one of the reasons I only write by hand in public is the fear that someone will look over my shoulder and read what I'm writing. Whereas with my scribble, they haven't a hope. And even if nobody is trying to read my screen, I'd imagine they were — because I would be, if I were in their place. Incurably curious, that's me.

    Reply
  88. Maggie, one of the reasons I only write by hand in public is the fear that someone will look over my shoulder and read what I'm writing. Whereas with my scribble, they haven't a hope. And even if nobody is trying to read my screen, I'd imagine they were — because I would be, if I were in their place. Incurably curious, that's me.

    Reply
  89. Maggie, one of the reasons I only write by hand in public is the fear that someone will look over my shoulder and read what I'm writing. Whereas with my scribble, they haven't a hope. And even if nobody is trying to read my screen, I'd imagine they were — because I would be, if I were in their place. Incurably curious, that's me.

    Reply
  90. Maggie, one of the reasons I only write by hand in public is the fear that someone will look over my shoulder and read what I'm writing. Whereas with my scribble, they haven't a hope. And even if nobody is trying to read my screen, I'd imagine they were — because I would be, if I were in their place. Incurably curious, that's me.

    Reply
  91. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I write any way I can, though usually at home on my laptop. But I will write in cafes, libraries, at friends’ homes, in my car (not while driving, though I have gotten some good ideas then), at the park… I haven’t tried the train yet! 🙂 I have two school-age boys, so I have learned to write with distractions and when I can, though sometimes I can’t seem to ignore the chores or the distractions, even for a little, and those are the days no writing gets done (along with during a heatwave–anyone else have trouble thinking in 95 degree+ heat?). I keep trying for writing every day!

    Reply
  92. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I write any way I can, though usually at home on my laptop. But I will write in cafes, libraries, at friends’ homes, in my car (not while driving, though I have gotten some good ideas then), at the park… I haven’t tried the train yet! 🙂 I have two school-age boys, so I have learned to write with distractions and when I can, though sometimes I can’t seem to ignore the chores or the distractions, even for a little, and those are the days no writing gets done (along with during a heatwave–anyone else have trouble thinking in 95 degree+ heat?). I keep trying for writing every day!

    Reply
  93. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I write any way I can, though usually at home on my laptop. But I will write in cafes, libraries, at friends’ homes, in my car (not while driving, though I have gotten some good ideas then), at the park… I haven’t tried the train yet! 🙂 I have two school-age boys, so I have learned to write with distractions and when I can, though sometimes I can’t seem to ignore the chores or the distractions, even for a little, and those are the days no writing gets done (along with during a heatwave–anyone else have trouble thinking in 95 degree+ heat?). I keep trying for writing every day!

    Reply
  94. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I write any way I can, though usually at home on my laptop. But I will write in cafes, libraries, at friends’ homes, in my car (not while driving, though I have gotten some good ideas then), at the park… I haven’t tried the train yet! 🙂 I have two school-age boys, so I have learned to write with distractions and when I can, though sometimes I can’t seem to ignore the chores or the distractions, even for a little, and those are the days no writing gets done (along with during a heatwave–anyone else have trouble thinking in 95 degree+ heat?). I keep trying for writing every day!

    Reply
  95. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I write any way I can, though usually at home on my laptop. But I will write in cafes, libraries, at friends’ homes, in my car (not while driving, though I have gotten some good ideas then), at the park… I haven’t tried the train yet! 🙂 I have two school-age boys, so I have learned to write with distractions and when I can, though sometimes I can’t seem to ignore the chores or the distractions, even for a little, and those are the days no writing gets done (along with during a heatwave–anyone else have trouble thinking in 95 degree+ heat?). I keep trying for writing every day!

    Reply
  96. I can read anywhere because I get so involved that almost nothing can disturb me unless blood is involved. (grin)
    But writing… that’s different. I really don’t write well unless a deadline is looming. As it is said, it concentrates the mind wonderfully. If I’m stuck what works for me is to get up and walk the dogs. Somehow that physical activity brings inspiration.
    But music, when I’m writing? No way. I am so tuned into music that I find myself humming or singing and there goes the writing.

    Reply
  97. I can read anywhere because I get so involved that almost nothing can disturb me unless blood is involved. (grin)
    But writing… that’s different. I really don’t write well unless a deadline is looming. As it is said, it concentrates the mind wonderfully. If I’m stuck what works for me is to get up and walk the dogs. Somehow that physical activity brings inspiration.
    But music, when I’m writing? No way. I am so tuned into music that I find myself humming or singing and there goes the writing.

    Reply
  98. I can read anywhere because I get so involved that almost nothing can disturb me unless blood is involved. (grin)
    But writing… that’s different. I really don’t write well unless a deadline is looming. As it is said, it concentrates the mind wonderfully. If I’m stuck what works for me is to get up and walk the dogs. Somehow that physical activity brings inspiration.
    But music, when I’m writing? No way. I am so tuned into music that I find myself humming or singing and there goes the writing.

    Reply
  99. I can read anywhere because I get so involved that almost nothing can disturb me unless blood is involved. (grin)
    But writing… that’s different. I really don’t write well unless a deadline is looming. As it is said, it concentrates the mind wonderfully. If I’m stuck what works for me is to get up and walk the dogs. Somehow that physical activity brings inspiration.
    But music, when I’m writing? No way. I am so tuned into music that I find myself humming or singing and there goes the writing.

    Reply
  100. I can read anywhere because I get so involved that almost nothing can disturb me unless blood is involved. (grin)
    But writing… that’s different. I really don’t write well unless a deadline is looming. As it is said, it concentrates the mind wonderfully. If I’m stuck what works for me is to get up and walk the dogs. Somehow that physical activity brings inspiration.
    But music, when I’m writing? No way. I am so tuned into music that I find myself humming or singing and there goes the writing.

    Reply
  101. I have to write by hand -usually in green for some weird reason ,mainly because my typing can not keep up with my thoughts and by the time I have hit a myriad of wrong keys or the curser has gone on a sabbatical the muse has generally gone to be replaced by direful threats to all things mechanical !

    Reply
  102. I have to write by hand -usually in green for some weird reason ,mainly because my typing can not keep up with my thoughts and by the time I have hit a myriad of wrong keys or the curser has gone on a sabbatical the muse has generally gone to be replaced by direful threats to all things mechanical !

    Reply
  103. I have to write by hand -usually in green for some weird reason ,mainly because my typing can not keep up with my thoughts and by the time I have hit a myriad of wrong keys or the curser has gone on a sabbatical the muse has generally gone to be replaced by direful threats to all things mechanical !

    Reply
  104. I have to write by hand -usually in green for some weird reason ,mainly because my typing can not keep up with my thoughts and by the time I have hit a myriad of wrong keys or the curser has gone on a sabbatical the muse has generally gone to be replaced by direful threats to all things mechanical !

    Reply
  105. I have to write by hand -usually in green for some weird reason ,mainly because my typing can not keep up with my thoughts and by the time I have hit a myriad of wrong keys or the curser has gone on a sabbatical the muse has generally gone to be replaced by direful threats to all things mechanical !

    Reply
  106. I write exposition, mainly, these days trying to simplify genetic research to be understood by non-scientist readers. I “write” vocally, in my head – sometimes silently, sometimes out loud. I can do it as I do chores, or drive, or sit in bed – anywhere. Once I have the piece written, I jot down the starting sentence of each paragraph and go away for 24-48 hours, then come back and either write long-hand or on the computer. Editing is primarily checking to see if word choice is suitable for my audience.
    I think my method was developed from using research cards in University; I would organize them in the order which seemed logical, and then explain the ideas to my father (an actuary with a strong resemblance to Officer Spock!). We would debate logical order and ideas, then I would go away and write my essays. The need to hear my words was underlined by a comment on my honours thesis by Northrop Frye: “a perfect example of the bulldozer style of academic prose” – he gave me an A anyway!

    Reply
  107. I write exposition, mainly, these days trying to simplify genetic research to be understood by non-scientist readers. I “write” vocally, in my head – sometimes silently, sometimes out loud. I can do it as I do chores, or drive, or sit in bed – anywhere. Once I have the piece written, I jot down the starting sentence of each paragraph and go away for 24-48 hours, then come back and either write long-hand or on the computer. Editing is primarily checking to see if word choice is suitable for my audience.
    I think my method was developed from using research cards in University; I would organize them in the order which seemed logical, and then explain the ideas to my father (an actuary with a strong resemblance to Officer Spock!). We would debate logical order and ideas, then I would go away and write my essays. The need to hear my words was underlined by a comment on my honours thesis by Northrop Frye: “a perfect example of the bulldozer style of academic prose” – he gave me an A anyway!

    Reply
  108. I write exposition, mainly, these days trying to simplify genetic research to be understood by non-scientist readers. I “write” vocally, in my head – sometimes silently, sometimes out loud. I can do it as I do chores, or drive, or sit in bed – anywhere. Once I have the piece written, I jot down the starting sentence of each paragraph and go away for 24-48 hours, then come back and either write long-hand or on the computer. Editing is primarily checking to see if word choice is suitable for my audience.
    I think my method was developed from using research cards in University; I would organize them in the order which seemed logical, and then explain the ideas to my father (an actuary with a strong resemblance to Officer Spock!). We would debate logical order and ideas, then I would go away and write my essays. The need to hear my words was underlined by a comment on my honours thesis by Northrop Frye: “a perfect example of the bulldozer style of academic prose” – he gave me an A anyway!

    Reply
  109. I write exposition, mainly, these days trying to simplify genetic research to be understood by non-scientist readers. I “write” vocally, in my head – sometimes silently, sometimes out loud. I can do it as I do chores, or drive, or sit in bed – anywhere. Once I have the piece written, I jot down the starting sentence of each paragraph and go away for 24-48 hours, then come back and either write long-hand or on the computer. Editing is primarily checking to see if word choice is suitable for my audience.
    I think my method was developed from using research cards in University; I would organize them in the order which seemed logical, and then explain the ideas to my father (an actuary with a strong resemblance to Officer Spock!). We would debate logical order and ideas, then I would go away and write my essays. The need to hear my words was underlined by a comment on my honours thesis by Northrop Frye: “a perfect example of the bulldozer style of academic prose” – he gave me an A anyway!

    Reply
  110. I write exposition, mainly, these days trying to simplify genetic research to be understood by non-scientist readers. I “write” vocally, in my head – sometimes silently, sometimes out loud. I can do it as I do chores, or drive, or sit in bed – anywhere. Once I have the piece written, I jot down the starting sentence of each paragraph and go away for 24-48 hours, then come back and either write long-hand or on the computer. Editing is primarily checking to see if word choice is suitable for my audience.
    I think my method was developed from using research cards in University; I would organize them in the order which seemed logical, and then explain the ideas to my father (an actuary with a strong resemblance to Officer Spock!). We would debate logical order and ideas, then I would go away and write my essays. The need to hear my words was underlined by a comment on my honours thesis by Northrop Frye: “a perfect example of the bulldozer style of academic prose” – he gave me an A anyway!

    Reply
  111. Add me to the ones who have trouble focusing in 95+ heat. In fact, when I sold my third book and quit full-time work to concentrate on writing, I used part of the advance to buy myself a large air-conditioner, because I know I'd be writing at home through the summer. Best investment ever!

    Reply
  112. Add me to the ones who have trouble focusing in 95+ heat. In fact, when I sold my third book and quit full-time work to concentrate on writing, I used part of the advance to buy myself a large air-conditioner, because I know I'd be writing at home through the summer. Best investment ever!

    Reply
  113. Add me to the ones who have trouble focusing in 95+ heat. In fact, when I sold my third book and quit full-time work to concentrate on writing, I used part of the advance to buy myself a large air-conditioner, because I know I'd be writing at home through the summer. Best investment ever!

    Reply
  114. Add me to the ones who have trouble focusing in 95+ heat. In fact, when I sold my third book and quit full-time work to concentrate on writing, I used part of the advance to buy myself a large air-conditioner, because I know I'd be writing at home through the summer. Best investment ever!

    Reply
  115. Add me to the ones who have trouble focusing in 95+ heat. In fact, when I sold my third book and quit full-time work to concentrate on writing, I used part of the advance to buy myself a large air-conditioner, because I know I'd be writing at home through the summer. Best investment ever!

    Reply
  116. Yes, I didn't include as much as I could have about the motivational power of a deadline — I think we all agreed on that. Except for one of us, who hates deadlines soooo much that she finishes everything really early! I wish they affected me that way.

    Reply
  117. Yes, I didn't include as much as I could have about the motivational power of a deadline — I think we all agreed on that. Except for one of us, who hates deadlines soooo much that she finishes everything really early! I wish they affected me that way.

    Reply
  118. Yes, I didn't include as much as I could have about the motivational power of a deadline — I think we all agreed on that. Except for one of us, who hates deadlines soooo much that she finishes everything really early! I wish they affected me that way.

    Reply
  119. Yes, I didn't include as much as I could have about the motivational power of a deadline — I think we all agreed on that. Except for one of us, who hates deadlines soooo much that she finishes everything really early! I wish they affected me that way.

    Reply
  120. Yes, I didn't include as much as I could have about the motivational power of a deadline — I think we all agreed on that. Except for one of us, who hates deadlines soooo much that she finishes everything really early! I wish they affected me that way.

    Reply
  121. Kathy we're going to talk about music and audio next time I blog (in a fortnight) but I just want to say, I invariably sing along too, but if the music has no words that I can recognize, and there are harmonies weaving in and out, that really works for me.

    Reply
  122. Kathy we're going to talk about music and audio next time I blog (in a fortnight) but I just want to say, I invariably sing along too, but if the music has no words that I can recognize, and there are harmonies weaving in and out, that really works for me.

    Reply
  123. Kathy we're going to talk about music and audio next time I blog (in a fortnight) but I just want to say, I invariably sing along too, but if the music has no words that I can recognize, and there are harmonies weaving in and out, that really works for me.

    Reply
  124. Kathy we're going to talk about music and audio next time I blog (in a fortnight) but I just want to say, I invariably sing along too, but if the music has no words that I can recognize, and there are harmonies weaving in and out, that really works for me.

    Reply
  125. Kathy we're going to talk about music and audio next time I blog (in a fortnight) but I just want to say, I invariably sing along too, but if the music has no words that I can recognize, and there are harmonies weaving in and out, that really works for me.

    Reply
  126. Jo, that's me too, except for the green ink — though I used to write in purple ink when I was a school kid. With handwriting I can get a lot down quickly, and it just seems to flow, but I'm a rotten typist and I also have an eye for typos and mistakes, so the minute I make a mistake I have to stop and fix it — cannot bear to leave it as is and fix later — and by the time that's happened a few times (which might be in a sentence) the brain has switched to editing mode, rather than creating, and I've lost the flow. For me that was a wonderful discovery. I think we all need to work out the best way to create flow.

    Reply
  127. Jo, that's me too, except for the green ink — though I used to write in purple ink when I was a school kid. With handwriting I can get a lot down quickly, and it just seems to flow, but I'm a rotten typist and I also have an eye for typos and mistakes, so the minute I make a mistake I have to stop and fix it — cannot bear to leave it as is and fix later — and by the time that's happened a few times (which might be in a sentence) the brain has switched to editing mode, rather than creating, and I've lost the flow. For me that was a wonderful discovery. I think we all need to work out the best way to create flow.

    Reply
  128. Jo, that's me too, except for the green ink — though I used to write in purple ink when I was a school kid. With handwriting I can get a lot down quickly, and it just seems to flow, but I'm a rotten typist and I also have an eye for typos and mistakes, so the minute I make a mistake I have to stop and fix it — cannot bear to leave it as is and fix later — and by the time that's happened a few times (which might be in a sentence) the brain has switched to editing mode, rather than creating, and I've lost the flow. For me that was a wonderful discovery. I think we all need to work out the best way to create flow.

    Reply
  129. Jo, that's me too, except for the green ink — though I used to write in purple ink when I was a school kid. With handwriting I can get a lot down quickly, and it just seems to flow, but I'm a rotten typist and I also have an eye for typos and mistakes, so the minute I make a mistake I have to stop and fix it — cannot bear to leave it as is and fix later — and by the time that's happened a few times (which might be in a sentence) the brain has switched to editing mode, rather than creating, and I've lost the flow. For me that was a wonderful discovery. I think we all need to work out the best way to create flow.

    Reply
  130. Jo, that's me too, except for the green ink — though I used to write in purple ink when I was a school kid. With handwriting I can get a lot down quickly, and it just seems to flow, but I'm a rotten typist and I also have an eye for typos and mistakes, so the minute I make a mistake I have to stop and fix it — cannot bear to leave it as is and fix later — and by the time that's happened a few times (which might be in a sentence) the brain has switched to editing mode, rather than creating, and I've lost the flow. For me that was a wonderful discovery. I think we all need to work out the best way to create flow.

    Reply
  131. Mary Jane what an interesting way of doing things. I think if I worked things out and then left them — unwritten — for 24 hours, I'd forget most of it. That happens to me sometimes if I don't write down a scene idea or a dialogue exchange that comes to me as I;m drifting off to sleep. IAnd when I've forgotten something, I know it was going to be the most brilliant scene . LOL
    I do think speaking your ideas aloud is a brilliant way of checking how clear and concise you're being. It's a real skill, taking complex information and simplifying it for ordinary readers, while still retaining sufficient complexity. I spent a lot of my teaching years doing that for non-english speaking students studying other subjects, so I know how hard it is.
    And how wonderful to have your father so interested in your work — he obviously enjoyed what you were doing. And of course you got honors — anyone who put that degree of thought and attention into anything deserves it. Bulldozer — pooh! Inevitable clarity, more like.

    Reply
  132. Mary Jane what an interesting way of doing things. I think if I worked things out and then left them — unwritten — for 24 hours, I'd forget most of it. That happens to me sometimes if I don't write down a scene idea or a dialogue exchange that comes to me as I;m drifting off to sleep. IAnd when I've forgotten something, I know it was going to be the most brilliant scene . LOL
    I do think speaking your ideas aloud is a brilliant way of checking how clear and concise you're being. It's a real skill, taking complex information and simplifying it for ordinary readers, while still retaining sufficient complexity. I spent a lot of my teaching years doing that for non-english speaking students studying other subjects, so I know how hard it is.
    And how wonderful to have your father so interested in your work — he obviously enjoyed what you were doing. And of course you got honors — anyone who put that degree of thought and attention into anything deserves it. Bulldozer — pooh! Inevitable clarity, more like.

    Reply
  133. Mary Jane what an interesting way of doing things. I think if I worked things out and then left them — unwritten — for 24 hours, I'd forget most of it. That happens to me sometimes if I don't write down a scene idea or a dialogue exchange that comes to me as I;m drifting off to sleep. IAnd when I've forgotten something, I know it was going to be the most brilliant scene . LOL
    I do think speaking your ideas aloud is a brilliant way of checking how clear and concise you're being. It's a real skill, taking complex information and simplifying it for ordinary readers, while still retaining sufficient complexity. I spent a lot of my teaching years doing that for non-english speaking students studying other subjects, so I know how hard it is.
    And how wonderful to have your father so interested in your work — he obviously enjoyed what you were doing. And of course you got honors — anyone who put that degree of thought and attention into anything deserves it. Bulldozer — pooh! Inevitable clarity, more like.

    Reply
  134. Mary Jane what an interesting way of doing things. I think if I worked things out and then left them — unwritten — for 24 hours, I'd forget most of it. That happens to me sometimes if I don't write down a scene idea or a dialogue exchange that comes to me as I;m drifting off to sleep. IAnd when I've forgotten something, I know it was going to be the most brilliant scene . LOL
    I do think speaking your ideas aloud is a brilliant way of checking how clear and concise you're being. It's a real skill, taking complex information and simplifying it for ordinary readers, while still retaining sufficient complexity. I spent a lot of my teaching years doing that for non-english speaking students studying other subjects, so I know how hard it is.
    And how wonderful to have your father so interested in your work — he obviously enjoyed what you were doing. And of course you got honors — anyone who put that degree of thought and attention into anything deserves it. Bulldozer — pooh! Inevitable clarity, more like.

    Reply
  135. Mary Jane what an interesting way of doing things. I think if I worked things out and then left them — unwritten — for 24 hours, I'd forget most of it. That happens to me sometimes if I don't write down a scene idea or a dialogue exchange that comes to me as I;m drifting off to sleep. IAnd when I've forgotten something, I know it was going to be the most brilliant scene . LOL
    I do think speaking your ideas aloud is a brilliant way of checking how clear and concise you're being. It's a real skill, taking complex information and simplifying it for ordinary readers, while still retaining sufficient complexity. I spent a lot of my teaching years doing that for non-english speaking students studying other subjects, so I know how hard it is.
    And how wonderful to have your father so interested in your work — he obviously enjoyed what you were doing. And of course you got honors — anyone who put that degree of thought and attention into anything deserves it. Bulldozer — pooh! Inevitable clarity, more like.

    Reply
  136. I’ve never written a book. Only a couple of short stories as required in creative writing classes. I have written tons of articles for newsletters. And blog posts for a community garden I belong to.
    I do not write well with out the deadline hanging over me. Occasionally I’ve gotten blog posts done ahead of time but usually not.
    No writing in public, nor with lots of noise going on around me. I do tend to write better in the evening than the morning.
    What helps to get my writing done is to jump start the process by writing several emails before I write the “big” stuff. Puts my brain in writerly mode some how or the other.
    Sometimes my brain and I fight what I’m writing the whole time (very exhausting) and other times….it just flows.
    The just flows bit doesn’t usually happen when I’m near the computer. So there are usually pads of paper and pens scattered here and there so I can jot down all the great phrases, thoughts, points I want to incorporate.
    No writing or reading for me in a moving form of transportation. Unless I want to make myself miserable.

    Reply
  137. I’ve never written a book. Only a couple of short stories as required in creative writing classes. I have written tons of articles for newsletters. And blog posts for a community garden I belong to.
    I do not write well with out the deadline hanging over me. Occasionally I’ve gotten blog posts done ahead of time but usually not.
    No writing in public, nor with lots of noise going on around me. I do tend to write better in the evening than the morning.
    What helps to get my writing done is to jump start the process by writing several emails before I write the “big” stuff. Puts my brain in writerly mode some how or the other.
    Sometimes my brain and I fight what I’m writing the whole time (very exhausting) and other times….it just flows.
    The just flows bit doesn’t usually happen when I’m near the computer. So there are usually pads of paper and pens scattered here and there so I can jot down all the great phrases, thoughts, points I want to incorporate.
    No writing or reading for me in a moving form of transportation. Unless I want to make myself miserable.

    Reply
  138. I’ve never written a book. Only a couple of short stories as required in creative writing classes. I have written tons of articles for newsletters. And blog posts for a community garden I belong to.
    I do not write well with out the deadline hanging over me. Occasionally I’ve gotten blog posts done ahead of time but usually not.
    No writing in public, nor with lots of noise going on around me. I do tend to write better in the evening than the morning.
    What helps to get my writing done is to jump start the process by writing several emails before I write the “big” stuff. Puts my brain in writerly mode some how or the other.
    Sometimes my brain and I fight what I’m writing the whole time (very exhausting) and other times….it just flows.
    The just flows bit doesn’t usually happen when I’m near the computer. So there are usually pads of paper and pens scattered here and there so I can jot down all the great phrases, thoughts, points I want to incorporate.
    No writing or reading for me in a moving form of transportation. Unless I want to make myself miserable.

    Reply
  139. I’ve never written a book. Only a couple of short stories as required in creative writing classes. I have written tons of articles for newsletters. And blog posts for a community garden I belong to.
    I do not write well with out the deadline hanging over me. Occasionally I’ve gotten blog posts done ahead of time but usually not.
    No writing in public, nor with lots of noise going on around me. I do tend to write better in the evening than the morning.
    What helps to get my writing done is to jump start the process by writing several emails before I write the “big” stuff. Puts my brain in writerly mode some how or the other.
    Sometimes my brain and I fight what I’m writing the whole time (very exhausting) and other times….it just flows.
    The just flows bit doesn’t usually happen when I’m near the computer. So there are usually pads of paper and pens scattered here and there so I can jot down all the great phrases, thoughts, points I want to incorporate.
    No writing or reading for me in a moving form of transportation. Unless I want to make myself miserable.

    Reply
  140. I’ve never written a book. Only a couple of short stories as required in creative writing classes. I have written tons of articles for newsletters. And blog posts for a community garden I belong to.
    I do not write well with out the deadline hanging over me. Occasionally I’ve gotten blog posts done ahead of time but usually not.
    No writing in public, nor with lots of noise going on around me. I do tend to write better in the evening than the morning.
    What helps to get my writing done is to jump start the process by writing several emails before I write the “big” stuff. Puts my brain in writerly mode some how or the other.
    Sometimes my brain and I fight what I’m writing the whole time (very exhausting) and other times….it just flows.
    The just flows bit doesn’t usually happen when I’m near the computer. So there are usually pads of paper and pens scattered here and there so I can jot down all the great phrases, thoughts, points I want to incorporate.
    No writing or reading for me in a moving form of transportation. Unless I want to make myself miserable.

    Reply
  141. I’ve never written fiction, just articles for blogs about history, art, and politics. And a lot of computer programming, and some legal writing, if that counts. I’ve never tried to write in public. But when I worked in an office, I preferred complete quiet, no background music. Hearing other people chatting distracted me, although I learned to tune it out. It was an office joke that I never heard what anyone was saying to me while I was concentrating on my work. When I first started using computers, decades ago, I found it hard to compose prose on a keyboard, I had to hand write it first. But it’s long since become natural to me.

    Reply
  142. I’ve never written fiction, just articles for blogs about history, art, and politics. And a lot of computer programming, and some legal writing, if that counts. I’ve never tried to write in public. But when I worked in an office, I preferred complete quiet, no background music. Hearing other people chatting distracted me, although I learned to tune it out. It was an office joke that I never heard what anyone was saying to me while I was concentrating on my work. When I first started using computers, decades ago, I found it hard to compose prose on a keyboard, I had to hand write it first. But it’s long since become natural to me.

    Reply
  143. I’ve never written fiction, just articles for blogs about history, art, and politics. And a lot of computer programming, and some legal writing, if that counts. I’ve never tried to write in public. But when I worked in an office, I preferred complete quiet, no background music. Hearing other people chatting distracted me, although I learned to tune it out. It was an office joke that I never heard what anyone was saying to me while I was concentrating on my work. When I first started using computers, decades ago, I found it hard to compose prose on a keyboard, I had to hand write it first. But it’s long since become natural to me.

    Reply
  144. I’ve never written fiction, just articles for blogs about history, art, and politics. And a lot of computer programming, and some legal writing, if that counts. I’ve never tried to write in public. But when I worked in an office, I preferred complete quiet, no background music. Hearing other people chatting distracted me, although I learned to tune it out. It was an office joke that I never heard what anyone was saying to me while I was concentrating on my work. When I first started using computers, decades ago, I found it hard to compose prose on a keyboard, I had to hand write it first. But it’s long since become natural to me.

    Reply
  145. I’ve never written fiction, just articles for blogs about history, art, and politics. And a lot of computer programming, and some legal writing, if that counts. I’ve never tried to write in public. But when I worked in an office, I preferred complete quiet, no background music. Hearing other people chatting distracted me, although I learned to tune it out. It was an office joke that I never heard what anyone was saying to me while I was concentrating on my work. When I first started using computers, decades ago, I found it hard to compose prose on a keyboard, I had to hand write it first. But it’s long since become natural to me.

    Reply
  146. Karin, I often wonder how people manage to get work done in those big open-plan offices. I know it's more space-efficient, but whether it's more work efficient is another story. For some it might be– the same people who prefer to work in a cafe or wherever, but for all those who need privacy and silence to concentrate, it must be difficult.

    Reply
  147. Karin, I often wonder how people manage to get work done in those big open-plan offices. I know it's more space-efficient, but whether it's more work efficient is another story. For some it might be– the same people who prefer to work in a cafe or wherever, but for all those who need privacy and silence to concentrate, it must be difficult.

    Reply
  148. Karin, I often wonder how people manage to get work done in those big open-plan offices. I know it's more space-efficient, but whether it's more work efficient is another story. For some it might be– the same people who prefer to work in a cafe or wherever, but for all those who need privacy and silence to concentrate, it must be difficult.

    Reply
  149. Karin, I often wonder how people manage to get work done in those big open-plan offices. I know it's more space-efficient, but whether it's more work efficient is another story. For some it might be– the same people who prefer to work in a cafe or wherever, but for all those who need privacy and silence to concentrate, it must be difficult.

    Reply
  150. Karin, I often wonder how people manage to get work done in those big open-plan offices. I know it's more space-efficient, but whether it's more work efficient is another story. For some it might be– the same people who prefer to work in a cafe or wherever, but for all those who need privacy and silence to concentrate, it must be difficult.

    Reply
  151. Vicki, I'm almost never without a notebook and pen, just so that I can jot down a note or a scrap of dialogue. When I was working full time, I did all my writing late at night, after I'd finished everything else. Now I write best in the morning. Except when I'm screaming towards a deadline — then I'm writing all hours.

    Reply
  152. Vicki, I'm almost never without a notebook and pen, just so that I can jot down a note or a scrap of dialogue. When I was working full time, I did all my writing late at night, after I'd finished everything else. Now I write best in the morning. Except when I'm screaming towards a deadline — then I'm writing all hours.

    Reply
  153. Vicki, I'm almost never without a notebook and pen, just so that I can jot down a note or a scrap of dialogue. When I was working full time, I did all my writing late at night, after I'd finished everything else. Now I write best in the morning. Except when I'm screaming towards a deadline — then I'm writing all hours.

    Reply
  154. Vicki, I'm almost never without a notebook and pen, just so that I can jot down a note or a scrap of dialogue. When I was working full time, I did all my writing late at night, after I'd finished everything else. Now I write best in the morning. Except when I'm screaming towards a deadline — then I'm writing all hours.

    Reply
  155. Vicki, I'm almost never without a notebook and pen, just so that I can jot down a note or a scrap of dialogue. When I was working full time, I did all my writing late at night, after I'd finished everything else. Now I write best in the morning. Except when I'm screaming towards a deadline — then I'm writing all hours.

    Reply
  156. The most distracting thing was hearing everybody’s phone conversations! People I think unconsciously speak louder on the phone than in person. We all know how annoying it is to be reading or trying to work and your seatmate on the plane or train is yakking away.

    Reply
  157. The most distracting thing was hearing everybody’s phone conversations! People I think unconsciously speak louder on the phone than in person. We all know how annoying it is to be reading or trying to work and your seatmate on the plane or train is yakking away.

    Reply
  158. The most distracting thing was hearing everybody’s phone conversations! People I think unconsciously speak louder on the phone than in person. We all know how annoying it is to be reading or trying to work and your seatmate on the plane or train is yakking away.

    Reply
  159. The most distracting thing was hearing everybody’s phone conversations! People I think unconsciously speak louder on the phone than in person. We all know how annoying it is to be reading or trying to work and your seatmate on the plane or train is yakking away.

    Reply
  160. The most distracting thing was hearing everybody’s phone conversations! People I think unconsciously speak louder on the phone than in person. We all know how annoying it is to be reading or trying to work and your seatmate on the plane or train is yakking away.

    Reply

Leave a Comment