Writing Questions Meme
Tagged by several lovelies (and forgive me for taking so long!): @thunderheadfred, @standintheashes, and @spinninglenny <3 Is there anyone left who hasn’t done this but wants to? I TAG YOU. I TAG YOU SO MUCH.
Is there a snack you like to eat while writing?
Look, I have a problem and the problem is cookies. I don’t need the cookies. I just like the cookies. Mostly, though, no. I just drink water. Lots of water. Sometimes a glass of wine. Very occasionally coffee or tea, but caffeine and I don’t always get along, unless it’s morning. Which leads me to…
What time of day do you usually write?
If I’m honest, I’m absolutely useless in the afternoon. No matter how much I sleep, I usually hit a mid-afternoon slump that’s just… Not Good for thinking. When I manage to write in the morning, it’s good. Also rare. So, mostly evening. I used to be a very late night writer, and still miss it, but it just doesn’t jive so well with, y’know, having a husband.
Where do you write?
Often, at my desk. This is the first time in my life I’ve had a room that’s pretty much 98% mine. I have fanart on the walls. I have Garrus and baby Groot on my desk. I have my treasures all around me. I love my office. That said, sometimes I cannot work here. I don’t know why. Then, I usually decamp to a cafe. Sometimes I retreat to my chair in the living room (it’s a green Strandmon chair from Ikea and I love it more than life). A couple of times a year, I write at @w0rdinista‘s house, where I kinda have my own desk in her office, too <3
How often do you write a new fic?
Remember when the answer to this was like, almost every day? Yeah. Me too. When I used to write fic once or twice a week it was “slow.” Ha. Ha. Original fic is part of the reason I’m not as prolific now, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, being kinda in a low-grade stress state for various and sundry reasons has really messed up my creativity, and that’s not so great. (I’m recommitted to doing The Artist’s Way. For real. I’m in Week 2. Dear God, I hope this helps me get back in touch with the joy I used to feel when creating.)
Do you listen to music while you write?
Always. Sometimes a curated playlist. Sometimes a single song on repeat. Often instrumental.
Paper or laptop?
Both. I also have a desktop, but rarely use that for writing because it’s the Windows computer and I hate Scrivener for Windows as much as I adore Scrivener for Mac. Weird. I know. Paper is for talking to myself, getting a different perspective, morning pages, making notes, trying to figure out tricky parts by saying, “OKAY. What the fuck was I trying to accomplish here????” (An astonishing amount of paper thinking starts that way for me. Yes. With the swearing.) Usually, though, it’s MacBook hooked up to peripherals. I have a Razer Ornata keyboard that is the perfect amount of clicky combined with non-wrist-hurting profile. I love it.
Do you have a special pre-writing ritual?
*stares into the camera like The Office* procrastinating. Cleaning. Making sure I have water. Making sure the stars are aligned. Crying. Eating three cookies and wishing I hadn’t. Okay, just one more. There’s raisins and nuts in them, they’re healthy, right? Damn it, Tara.
What do you do to get into the writing?
Sprint, actually. I find that doing a short sprint – even just five or ten minutes – is usually enough to shake off all the thinking and doubts and questioning and lingering procrastination that keeps me from my work. I need to get back into the habit of disconnecting from the internet.
Do you have a reward system for word counts?
Sometimes. If I’ve been having a really rough go, I’ll reward myself not for word counts but for putting in time, even if the word count sucks. Trying. A piece of chocolate after a sprint; an episode of TV or time with a book after a session. Nothing to apply too much pressure. Mentally and creatively, I’m a delicate !@$!#ing flower these days. It’s annoying. I kinda realized I’d let allllll the joy drain out of writing and wasn’t letting myself do anything fun as, like, punishment for not writing? So. That’s not healthy. I’m trying to be kinder to myself. (I am not nearly as kind to myself as I am to others. Also annoying!!!)
Is there anything else about your writing process your readers don’t know?
I love editing. I consider it a vital part of the writing process. I don’t dread it. I used to, until it really hit me (upon editing a book) how much better I made the story by pulling it all to pieces and making sure they all fit the way I wanted. Even when I’m writing fic, it never goes out without at least a couple of passes and a read-out-loud. Reading out loud catches so much. Sometimes I get Scrivener’s read-aloud function to do it for me, while I listen to catch anything awkward or wrong. (She pronounces names really, really weird.) For original fic, I like to edit on paper. Bad for trees, but for some reason I work so much better with a physical copy and stickies and red ink.
I’m not a plotter, but I do make notes. I usually know where I want to go and how I want to get there. If I get stuck, it’s probably my fault for not listening to the characters when they want something, or I’m trying to bully the story forward instead of letting it unfold.
Morning pages are absolutely 100% necessary to my creative functionality.
Instead of falling down “research” rabbit holes, I tend to use square brackets a lot [Look this up later; how the hell is this spelled???; CHECK CODEX; I have no idea what’s happening in this scene it’s so boring omg figure it out later ughghghghg].
I have really been warming to the pomodoro method. I’m not consistent with it yet, but it really works when I put in the effort.