Friday, June 5, 2009

Is silence golden?

Everyone has their own way of writing. I don't mean style, mind you, but the actual process. A lot of us are plotters, who plan the story to varying degrees before actually beginning to write. Others are "pantsers", who sit down to a blank page/screen and start writing, and just see where the story or their characters take them. That's also not exactly what I'm thinking about.

I'm talking about when you finally sit down, where are you? What has to be in place?

I remember reading Stephen King's Misery, then watching the film (not sure whether the axe or sledgehammer would have been worse, but I'll bet neither was pleasant). In the film, he had to have a glass of wine and one cigarette waiting for him when he finished his draft. That's the kind of particular I'm wondering about.

See, I can write as long as it's on a computer. My hands cramp (I have psoriatic arthritis) if I try to go at a blank page with a pen or pencil. But a keyboard works better for me.

The other thing is sound. I used to have to have complete silence. That's not so easy unless you live completely alone, and I love my wife and dogs more than my writing (by a long shot). So I tried listening to an iPod once.

It was a problem at first, because I kept singing along to the tunes. But as things went along, and I listened to the same playlist every time, I stopped humming along and eventually tuned it out all together.

Now I can't write well without it, which is a blessing and a curse.

So what about you guys? What little peccadilloes are involved in your process of physically putting butt-in-chair and writing?


Karen from Mentor said...

I like to have a ballgame on in the background in the summer.

The way the Indians are playing, I can just look up now and then and not miss much lol

jnantz said...

The Indians, huh? Well, I can at least say thanks for Casey Blake. I love him in Dodger Blue!

I can't do the game-in-the-background thing, though. Listening to Vin Scully or Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday just makes me want to follow the game instead of my train of thought...

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Jake,
What can I say? I live in Cleveland. I used to be in the stadium cheering my guts out back when we had Joe Carter and the like, when there were two other guys, me, and the guy up in the nosebleed seats who banged the drum.
Now, most people go for reasons other than love of the game.

I'll still score it at home if I'm watching the whole game. (such a geek)

I haven't seen you at my blog yet.
(cries a bit into a hankie)
Are you coming tomorrow for TEN QUESTIONS TUESDAY with Joe Konrath?

Karen :)

and you are welcome for Casey AND Manny

Jeff Shelby said...

Music. Always music. And Diet Pepsi.

Lettera22 said...


The t.v. is on, but it's on mute, strange, but it works. Once in a while, I'll have music in the background but it's more distracting than the t.v.

And I must have caffeine to get the vibe going.

Jen (from a family of avid SF Giant's fans)