Patterns in Writing

6 Jul

Current Status: Ahhhh-Chooooo! (sick)

Food Consumed: Mochachino

On The iPod: Breathe Me; Sia

Word Count: 1,800 (all longhand)

So, it’s been a while in between coherent blog posts from me, but my time away from the blog and my novel has helped me realise something about my writing: I have a writing pattern.

This isn’t exactly a big revelation, really. We all have a writing pattern – it’s what helps us create the things we do, and it’s what helps us stay sane when the insanity of writing and fatigue and brick walls sets in. My time away, though, has helped me pinpoint exactly what my pattern is. Not that knowing my pattern will help me to stay inspired when I’m hit with writer’s block, or keep me focused on my words when I’m so tired I can barely even think, let alone write or plot. It’s just interesting to know.

This is what my writing break has taught me about myself:

* My blogging and my novel-writing are co-existing. If my inspiration for one dies, than it also dies for the other. I cannot do just one, I need to do both and it needs to be simultaneous.

* If I’m writing longhand the notebook and the pages must be pretty, and I can only write with a black, 1.0mm ballpoint pen. If it’s not black and it’s not 1.0mm then the words don’t flow.

* The first draft is always easier if I write it longhand. The second and third drafts are easier if I type them straight onto the computer.

* Writing out an in-depth plot is a sure-fire way of killing my creativity. If I plot it, I cannot write it.

* Music helps me write. Images inspire me. Standing outside on a clear day and stretching my arms out makes me appreciate the gift I’ve been given more than anything else I do.

* Facebook and Twitter are distracting, but when I’m in the writing zone I can’t write without them.

* These things feed the muse: strawberry freddos, caramel fudge, Cormac McCarthy, cafe-quality mochachinos and caramel lattes, cheesecake (the baked kind), Lisa Mitchell, cream cheese muffins, Jane Austen films, hiking, the beach, freshly squeezed orange juice, being out on the water, Emily Dickinson, twirling around in my Fabled and True dress, hippy headbands worn sideways.

* I am nocturnal. I write best late at night, when the house is quiet and my iTunes playlist is blaring in my ears.

* All of my best plot ideas and kick-ass sentences come to me when I’m either a) in the shower b) in the car c) on the verge of sleep.

* Having people read and enjoy my words is the best feeling in the world. Honestly, there’s no competition.

* Alcohol and hangovers do not help (thought that’s kind of a given). Migraines make me cranky, not because of the pain but because I’m losing out on precious writing time. And the worst migraines always strike when I’m at my most productive.

I’m sure I can think of more, but that’s enough realistion met for one day.

What has your writing taught you? What are the things you cannot write without? Please share in the comments.

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6 Responses to “Patterns in Writing”

  1. Lila 06/07/2010 at 1:40 pm #

    First of all, I hope you feel better soon! Being sick is no fun.

    Secondly, I totally agree about the writing pattern thing. I’m not sure if my pattern is simply a habit (one that I’ve developed) or it’s truly the “best” way for my brain to write (innate). It seems as though the only thing we have in common is the nocturnal thing – I write best between 10pm and 5am. I really wish I could change this – it’s no fun waking up at 3pm every day. As for your other bits – I never write longhand, my hand can’t keep up with my brain. And then I lose ideas and interest because my mind is already excited for the next paragraph. Also, I always plot, but loosely. This helps me create a cleaner first draft. It doesn’t ruin the surprise for me – actually, I’m more motivated to get to the scenes in my head that I’m really excited to write.

    Great post! xo

    • thewritingant 07/07/2010 at 11:30 am #

      Thank you, Lila. xx

      I’m feeling a bit better today, though my head still hates me, I think.

      It’s always great to find out how other writers “write.” There are usually similarities between us all in some way, but I love picking up new tips from others – and this writing pattern thing I’m really interested in at the moment.

  2. Grumpy 07/07/2010 at 11:19 am #

    I haven’t got a ‘thing’ yet. I used to write it all out long-hand but I have moved to straight to the laptop now. Hmmm, maybe I need to pick up some more writerly habits. Will wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches help do you think? 😉

    • thewritingant 07/07/2010 at 11:28 am #

      I’m not sure, but you’ll certainly look stylish while you write! 😀

  3. miss ali 07/07/2010 at 12:45 pm #

    great post! i hadn’t really thought about my pattern before, or habits. i know music and images help me too. being in certain places, listening to sounds and observing people all help. (we are SOO going to observe people while sitting in a cafe sipping lattes when you come down here hehe!)

    im not too bad on the pen thing- as long as it flows easily i can use it. and i like plan white paper with blue lines in a spiral bound notebook- if its pretty i’ll get distracted and start colouring in haha

    im with you all the way on the ideas thing- the shower is possibly the best place to plot lol

    and finally, i find wine does actually help, but only up to a certain point. then im scribbling and writing in very childlike sentences that don’t relate to each other. then im asleep.

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