What Do You Mean, “How Do You Write”?

The idea for this post didn’t come easily. I hadn’t yet started writing anything regular (a buffer is a good idea when it comes to me), so I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with the post. Should I write more about pre-writing, or maybe how to deal with the inevitable question of whether I can call myself a writer? It all seemed too contrived and, frankly, rather boring.

To try to figure it out, I was talking with a close friend, and the conversation went something like this (it’s paraphrased):

Her: Hm. How you write. How it makes you feel.

Me: I just… write. I don’t know how to explain it.

Her: Hm.

Me: I mainly just… write.

Her: Okay, how do you prepare to write?

Me: What do you mean?

Her: You really do just sit down and write, don’t you?

Me: …I think so.

It sounds like less work than it is. I do a lot of pre-writing or I have the story set up in my head when I sit down to write. So… when I do write, I am just putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, and the words usually flow easily. My notes and outlines are next to me so I can refer to them, and I’m constantly re-reading what I’ve just written. If I’m having trouble with a word or phrase, or I’m unsure about a fact, I highlight it or circle it and work on the issue later. It doesn’t usually slow me down.

Unlike others, there is no specific place or set-up needed for me to write. I don’t need music or a sunny day in the park; I need a computer or my notebook and a pen. I never had the luxury of choosing the place when I had time or the level of noise, so I can write as easily at a party as I can alone in the library.

My writing habit is that I never had the opportunity to form a habit. A part of me needed to write, to tell a story, so I wrote when I had the opportunity. I’ve been known to stop mid-conversation so I could scrawl something in my notebook or on a napkin or (a few times) on my arm. Yes, I’m that odd.

So, when people ask how I write, I don’t have a response that doesn’t sound obnoxious, but it is honest. All I do is write.

What do you do? Do you have specific set-up that’s needed to write? Do you need music or your desk or can you write anytime, anywhere? When you can’t get what you want, can you still write?



10 comments on “What Do You Mean, “How Do You Write”?

  1. I write whenever the opportunity presents itself. Becuase I use a Netbook (a diddy laptop), I can be completely portable. I never write in one place twice (it seems) and therefore do not depend on specific conditions. That said, I sometimes have to tell myself ‘Right, you are going to write for one hour.’ when I am feeling a little procrastinatory (is that a word?), but on the whole the words just f-l-o-w. Music helps to block out distractions and can also inspire new ideas (I listen to soundtracks), but it’s not essential.

  2. a.j.gryphons says:

    You know my issues with writing. Yay, ADHD.

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