Inspired by the super cool Tara Sim, who posted ten quirky things about her writing process. As a creative who usually works totally isolated from the real world, it’s easy to forget that my weird processes are, well, weird. I can’t explain it, but each of these bizarre habits makes it possible for me to create the way I do!
1. I am a notebook hoarder. At any given time, I have anywhere from three to seven notebooks in general rotation, filled with notes and snippets and half-baked ideas and sketches and names. And while they vary significantly in size, the notebooks are almost all black.
2. I am very easily distracted. Finding a groove where nothing filters in from the outside world is a rare, yet much coveted happenstance. God forbid anybody calls me when it miraculously does happen.
3. In a similar vein, I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I’m working. I rely almost entirely on movie soundtracks, with a little bit of jazz and classical thrown in for variety. Bear McCreary is my current go-to composer.
4. I always have a word or phrase that I overuse in each project. In Blood King, that word was “judder.” Things were juddering all over the place. In Reverie, I had to edit out like eighteen instances of the word “slither.” Thank goodness I have beta readers to catch these things for me!
5. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a scene I pace around the living room acting out what the characters might potentially do or say next. But I only do it when I’m very, very alone.
6. I swear by a program called “Write or Die.” When you don’t write a certain number of words per minute, or you stop typing for a certain amount of time, the screen starts to flash bright red and blares awful music or irritating noises at you until you start typing again. It’s really great for bulking up on word count.
7. I’m a perfectionist. And I hate editing. So I always try to get things as close to right as possible in the first draft. The concept of a “vomit draft” is not something I ascribe to.
8. I call my inner critic “Yelling Bird,” after the character in Jeph Jacques’ webcomics. This is because Yelling Bird is loud, mean, and uses lots and lots of profanity. And is really hard to shut up.
9. I used to be a die-hard “pantser,” as in, I just wrote from the cuff with nothing more specific than a general plan for where a story was going to go. These days, I’m more of a plotter, although my outlines are pretty general to allow for lots of improvisation in the individual scenes.
10. Although writing can be hard, frustrating work, I truly love it and can’t imagine not doing it!
What are your writing quirks? Share yours in the comments section below!