Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I think every writer develops tics - habits that don't (usually) affect the content of their writing, but become an integral part of the process.  These become necessary ritual, prelude, part and parcel - a mental signal that writing is afoot.  Here are some of mine:

Before starting a story, I have to choose a font.  I have a group of maybe six fonts I use commonly, and which font I'll choose depends on the "feel" of a story.  A Trebuchet MS story is not an Arial story.  I've written some epistolary stories, and I used to insist on using Monotype Corsiva (it looks like good handwriting).

I always stop writing (and hence start writing) in the middle of a sentence.  Yes, this means occasionally I come back to it and I don't know where I was going or decide the sentence should go in another direction.

It has to be blazingly bright.  I don't like a dim space; I don't even like a semi-lit space.  I have no fewer than three lamps around my desk, and at night, all of them are on.

I (almost) never close a story file while in progress.  Word remains open all the time.

If I'm writing while multi-tasking (that is, during the day while working), I stop at set inches down the page to swap tasks.

This doesn't get into tics that actually affect the content, such as the fact that I generally won't start writing until I have a title.

So ... if you are a writer or know a writer, tell me about your / their tics.


Angie said...

I must write in chronological order. I can't skip ahead even if I get stuck. No one gets to look at my notebook. I usually don't talk about the story at all until it's finished. The biggest quirk of all, though is that I. It's write it all out by hand.

Nyki Blatchley said...

I'm not sure I have that many tics, though I do agree about liking plenty of light. I always write in Arial, and in a completely different layout from SMF, so have to reformat the whole thing. I can see it better that way.

If I didn't start writing till I had a title, I'd never write anything. The title's quite often the very last thing I write (including revision).

Lindsey Duncan said...

Aaaah ... handwriting it all would kill me. Multiple times.

Conversely, Nyki, if I don't start with a title, I either never find one or can't stand the one I do find. :-)

I wonder if anyone actually writes in SMF. It's a good layout for editing (though I don't like it for reading), but it doesn't strike as an easy layout for writing.

Cool to hear from both of you!

Unknown said...

I also do the thing where the file stays open all the time, even novels. Although my wonky laptop sometimes decides it wants to close what it wants to close. However, I prefer to write with nothing but the glow of the screen. I like how my words stand out with the lack of light. Also, my eyes are very strong, so I think it helps not to have to many lights. One of my other quirks is that I prefer to be completely isolated when I write. If I'm not, then I completely shut everybody else out, and then minimize my work when I'm ready to return to them.

Lindsey Duncan said...

Augh, I hate computer intervention, my sympathies.

I'm that way about being alone, too. If someone's looking over my shoulder, the words dry up.