Tuesday, 22 April 2008

I am very excited because my new desk has arrived. I ordered it from a catalogue and somehow got the measurements wrong - it's HUGE! I'm really pleased that it's larger than I expected. I'll have room to spread out. I can't wait to finish sorting everything out so I can get settled. (I'm resolutely ignoring the little voice in my head saying I'm procrastinating...)

Is location important? If I was really inspired, I'd be able to write anywhere. When I first discovered my passion for writing, I scribbled whenever and wherever. Now, after a year of incessant and obsessive creativity, I've slowed down to take stock. Will my new desk herald the start of a new burst of creativity? I plan to be very disciplined...

Today's question is linked to the last post about the need for silence or bustle - how important is it where you are when you write?

Thursday, 17 April 2008

I wonder if other writers prefer silence or background bustle when they write? I used to think I needed absolute silence to concentrate but I find I often put the radio on when I'm writing. I can even write in front of the television (shocking admission!) Music distracts me, but people talking on the radio seems to help me to think. I have also enjoyed bursts of creativity sitting in Starbucks. Isaac Asimov wrote that he found the buzz of a busy venue (like an airport) energising. I think I'm the same sometimes. At other times I prefer quiet.
I have been writing at home in a small room in the middle of the house. I like the fact that it's small but hate being in the centre of the house. My study is, effectively, a corridor that people walk through as it is a short cut from the front door to the kitchen. This is where I am going to make a confession...
One of the reasons I enjoy writing is because it sometimes gives me a feeling that I have some control over something in my life. The decisions I make about my writing may not be completely 'free'. I often reject an idea I would love to keep because it does not work. My characters frequently run away with my words and seem to write their own stories. But it is between me and the words on the page. No one else can dictate to me (until the MS reaches the editor, of course! But I'm still enough of a novice to find even the idea of having an editor incredibly exciting.)
I was going on to say that it annoys me when people walk through my 'space' when I'm writing because I am such a control freak. But that's not it.
To create an imaginary world, like all writers I lose myself in that other place, the world that springs from my imagination. And it's vexing to be distracted from that other, imaginary, place.
So... I'm moving upstairs to an empty bedroom. Not only that, I've bought a NEW DESK! It should be delivered soon. All that remains will be to arrange for my computer to move upstairs with internet access (will that require cables? I've no idea.)
I'm looking forward to having a private space of my own, where I won't be disturbed. I wonder if I'll feel lonely and fret for the irritating interruptions I now grumble about? I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be continually trotting down the stairs to seek out distractions... or blogging. Or will I be incredibly self disciplined and focus on my writing...

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

What if...

When I first started writing, I painstakingly wrote in neat long hand. I would only use pencil so I could make corrections without spoiling the appearance of my writing. When I was satisfied, I typed it up. I always kept a hard copy of everything I wrote, just in case my computer failed.
Gradually as my confidence in my writing grew, I became less dependent on my rituals. Now I find I can "create" in long hand or on the keyboard with equal facility. I prefer the keyboard as my typing is faster (and neater) than my handwriting. Despite the increased speed, I still tend to produce about 2,000 words in a day. More than that seems to exhaust my brain!
I no longer feel compelled to print out everything I write. This has probably saved a small forest. It has also saved on print cartridges, not to mention the time I (still) spend shredding discarded versions of my MS.
There is still one ritual... I weaned myself off the hard copies by using a memory stick. One day someone warned me that these are not 100% reliable. My work is now saved on not one, not two, not three, but four memory sticks. Neurotic or logical? If one m/stick could fail, why not the second? The odds must be the same each time... Are four enough? I know it's bonkers, but what if I used only one memory stick and it failed just as my computer died on me? After all, without my "What if" imagination, would I be writing crime fiction in the first place?
It is not true that I spend longer saving my work than writing it.