I read something today that really surprised me. The brilliant Kris Rusch wrote that some writers cannot write on planes. This surprised me, because I’ve never been one of those writers who just writes in a certain location or a certain environment. Sure, it’s tempting to be one of those “special snowflake” writers, but I wouldn’t get near enough writing done if I chose that route.
Here’s the List of how I write:
- Writing via different mediums (I write in notebooks, by hand, in pen and pencil. My most recent complete novel was hand-written before being typed in. I also write on various software products on Windows laptops, Mac laptops, and via audio-dictation on my phone and tablets. I’m not religious about what tools I use, but I am religious about writing every day.)
- Writing with different instruments (I’ve written whole notebooks that are full of a scribbled mass of fiction composed with ballpoint pens, fountain pens, pencils, felt-tip pens and even a few crayon paragraphs when I couldn’t find a working pen. I’ve composed on torn scraps of paper, newspaper margins, magazines, the backs of old books, and even on restaurant napkins — oh, and occasionally, I buy a fresh clean notebook for this purpose. Typically the cheapest available.)
- I met a writer who actually would not write unless they had their special leather-covered notebook and a fountain pen. I was wholly under-whelmed: I mean, how do you get any writing done, if you need special equipment? It’s not like rock-climbing. No one will die if you write with a pencil, my friend.
- Writing around the clock (I’ve written at all the following times: 7-10 a.m., lunch time 11:30-1 pm, afternoon 3-6 pm, thru dinner 6-8 pm, after dinner and bedtime writing 8 pm – 12 am, late night writing 12-3 a.m., early morning writing, 4:30 am-7 am. The longest I’ve ever written one one stretch of 16 hours. The shortest is about 10 minutes at a concert once.)
- Writing in different postures (I’ve written while standing up, while sitting at my desk, while lying down. I wrote a thought down once while riding a bicycle, but I’ve never managed to write while running.)
- Writing at different furniture (I often write at my jerry-rigged standing desk in my home office. But I have also written sitting down in my chair, and at my kitchen counter, on the couch while hanging out with my children, in the backyard on the lawn, beside the pool at a pool party, and on top of a wine barrel at a crowded party full of people.)
- Writing while driving (When I drive, I write 99% thru audio-dictation on a hands-free headphone/microphone, and just recently I crossed the 20K line written by audio-dictation to my phone. Only occasionally, have i hand-written a quick thought by hand on paper while driving)
- Writing every day of the week (Yes, I’ve written Mon-Fri and Sat and Sun. I’ve written during work days, and right thru a vacation (finished a book on vacation)
- Writing at Home (I’ve written in every room in my house, including the kitchen and the bathroom.)
- Writing at Work (before meetings, after meetings, early morning and late afternoon. Every now and then at lunch, and only occasionally, during a meeting, when a thought occurs to me. I respect my work hours and I get a lot done at work… but it is interesting that in just a 15 minute break, I can crank in 500 words, if I have a good idea. I love my work at Intel… and it’s a great motivator for me, so I’m energized when I get to my writing after work each day.)
- Past jobs: Once I knew I was going to get laid off at a company, so I started just writing at work until the call to the manager’s office came. I thought it would be 3 days of limbo, but they waited 3 weeks “because I looked so productive.” So I ended up finishing writing the book at that job!
- Writing on other transport (I’ve written on my laptop and in my notebooks on public buses, public trains, small shuttle planes, large 747 planes, on small transports and as a passenger in cars.
- Writing while waiting (I relish getting way-laid by a delayed flight in an airport or while sitting on an airplane, because it’s almost like I can step out of time, and have a dedicated hour or two to write. I love sitting on a plane, stuck there with nothing but a notebook, a pen OR a laptop. I can get a couple hours of writing in while everyone is whining around me. It’s heaven to know that no one can bother me: I’m stuck outside of time, able to do nothing but write.)
An ideal day is when I get writing in. It doesn’t matter if I have a two hour commute by car (I can write by audio dictation), or if I’m stuck in an airport (yay, time out just to write!), or if I’m at home (I can wake up early and write in peace and quiet in my home office before work or Saturday chores).
I don’t care where I am: I can write.
A literary update from NedNote.com
Readers can find my books at these bookstores: