#reverb14: on writing

On writing: Chances are, if you’re participating in #reverb it’s because you like writing. Or at least want to like writing. Writing is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. What do you do every day to hone your craft? Or, what would you like to do each day to contribute to your writing?

I'm not a very disciplined writer. I don't write at the same time every day or set certain hours aside. When I have a deadline, I do better about writing more steadily but I still don't designate certain hours daily. As a creative writing Master's student, I never created that structure for myself because so much of my life was writing. I was writing in classes, during study hours, in writing groups, at bars and in cafes, at parties, at dinner with friends. Writing was constant, so much so I did not think about it. It was like breathing. But now, the demands on my time are so different that I write when I can.

I try to write every day though it's not always possible.Of course, blogging helps my writing practice when I make time for it.  I have a lot of unfinished drafts in folders, pieces I've started and plan to come back to. I will work on them for a while, and sometimes they turn into something else: a blog post, a writing exercise, an introduction, a full-blown story. Other times, they remain drafts. When I'm teaching, I write the in-class exercises, and small pieces of writing along with my students. There have been a few of those pieces that I later blog, or work on further. I love when that happens. M and I like answering the prompts from 642 Things to Write About Journal just for fun. And I also have a book called Write Brain: 366 exercises to Liberate Your Writingwhich I will use in classes and sometimes if I'm stuck.

Whenever I'm working on something, I re-read the draft each time. Usually I read it through once without making any changes. If that inspires me, I will begin drafting right away. Then I go back and read and edit as I read wherever I notice something I want to revise. This is my process no matter what genre I'm writing and no matter how long or short the piece is.

Whether I'm writing something academic or personal, I like to write to music and I need coffee. While working on my dissertation, I had a Pandora station called Writing Radio and now when I use Spotify, I will jump around my various playlists, which works pretty well. There's something about setting the mood for writing that I need. I like to have books around me, notes and notebooks spread out with my pens littering the table. I've been known to take up a whole table with my stuff. I wrote my dissertation in cafes and restaurants, places that were noisy, busy, full of people and conversations and food. I like having stuff around me; I focus better that way. It's tough for me to work at home, even in my office. Bottom line: I don't like it too quiet.