How Do You Write?

This question has flowed in and out of my mind often during the past few weeks.When it comes to bringing my thoughts together and getting them into the screen, instead of typing, I feel lost in a thick fog. In my mind, when I am not at my desk the words flow freely, rapidly, naturally, and elegantly, but when I sit down to write every brilliant word I previously thought up seems to leak right out of my head.

It isn’t that I haven’t been trying, in fact, I have done more writing than I ever have before, unfortunately, I can’t seem to follow through. I’ve started 6 posts, only to abandon them; I’ve typed an outline for almost 8 chapters of my book but haven’t revisited it since; I’ve started 3 new blogs but never made them public. Nothing feels quite right.

Most of my time, while sitting at this desk, I find my thoughts are traveling off to what I might need to create a better writing environment. A lap top? An actual office? A better chair and bigger desk? I also focus on my discomfort, my lack of printing supplies, how thirsty I am and if I should put on some music.

I find that some of my best work is jotted down in notebooks when I am sitting on the couch or laying in bed. I find it easier for me to edit with a pen, than to edit on the screen but is that how the real writers of the world write?

I feel the need to find out if there is a formula to effective writing. realistically speaking though, shouldn’t I just use techniques that work for me? Are there any techniques that will work for me? Maybe the real problem isn’t that I haven’t found something that truly works, perhaps I just don’t belive in myself. It is easier after all to create the distracting pressures that tell me I am doing it all wrong.

So my question to you is this… How do you write?


31 thoughts on “How Do You Write?

  1. I’m pretty much glued to my laptop, so that’s where I do my writing. Also, I normally have to have quiet music in thed background in order to counteract the silence but not so much music that I can’t hear myself think. 🙂

    1. I am really thinking of getting a laptop. That way when I get the urge to get up I can take it with me 🙂 today when I was debating about the music I found myself getting up to put the stereo on I’m the next room. Duh, my computer has all of my music; just another excuse to walk away I suppose lol! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. You are working on a book? How wonderful! What is it about? I abandoned mine after the first 12 pages, but I really have to get back to it. Speaking of which, procrastination, that b*tch!

    I have my own personal diary I have been tending to lately. I handwrite it and my most personal thoughts are in it. So I can def understand why you find it easier to write into a notebook with a pen.

    You shouldn’t worry about writing itself but focus more on what you have to say. You can always delete everything when it’s written out, but just give it a shot, I am sure it is not as boring/bad/whatever keeps you from not posting it…!

    1. Laura, I’ve been talking about doing a book for years but wasn’t sure what I was going to write. After toying with the idea for a very long time I decided to base it on my relationship with Huz. They say write what you know, and boy do I know that. I think it’s great material and might help people without that being the main focus.
      What are you writing about? I am glad to see that I am not the only one who abandons work. Why do we do that?
      I love what you said about not worrying about the writting itself but more on what you have to say. I also know I should focus on editing more. I haven’t put much effort into that aspect, which of course is probably the most important part, and I know it shows. I am just lacking in the attention department, but I will try to be more dilligent.

      1. Yes, sigh, it is so hard to focus, especially over here! I am writing a book on my first year in New York. Then I have plans for a bilingual book once that is done. It should be about how I grew up and how it was to be raised bicultural and binational.

        So many ideas, so little time. I suppose just renting out a cottage in the mountains and staying put for a month would help to solve the problem. Do you write ever day? I am thinking about just going at it, doing a certain amount of pages each morning (when I don’t work, that is). Maybe I can have it done within a few months, hopefully! Before summer kicks in b/c then I know I most certainly won’t have any time at all!

        1. A mountian cottage wouldbe lovely! A change of scenery would be just as good also. To answer your question, yes I do write every day, at least a little something, but that doesn’t mean I am writing for the book. Some days I get a ton out and there are many days when not a thought is written. I suppose that is why I asked my question, really. I anticipate that it will take a good year for me to get done, maybe two if I don’t pick up the speed, haha. My goal during the process though is to enjoy it.
          I can’t wait to read what you’ve written, I know it is going to be spectacular 🙂

  3. Hi Ginger–I am so happy to see you around again! Here’s to the coming spring and maybe a lessening of symptoms (although with the spring dampness I am finding that my hips and knees and feet are killing me again)! Sometimes it’s not easy to win, is it?

    As far as how I write? Well, I used to always write at my desk with my desktop computer (other than poetry, that I usually wrote by hand with paper and a pencil), but since I’ve acquired a laptop I find that I write more freely–no matter where I am. I just signed up for a thirty day trial of Scrivener (which acts as a kind-of bulletin board for notes, plots, characters, etc) and think I’m really going to like that…I worked with it yesterday and my thoughts just flowed…into scenes that aren’t linear but I know I’ll be able to put them into focus when I go to re-arrange them in the draft…you may want to try it too…I used the beta program a bit and that’s why I decided to try the actual one…and thirty days free trial–can’t beat that. I imagine I’ll buy the program at the end of the trial, and thank goodness it’s pretty inexpensive…
    I also make some notes on my iPad when I’m in bed and can’t sleep (another of my issues)….and then I transfer them to my laptop…or I could start to use Dropbox more for that…another neat program and this one is free. If you haven’t tried it, it’s worth checking out…my sister-in-law and I use it to share ukulele chord charts to songs! And if you buy a laptop you can use it to share files between your laptop and your desktop.

    Further to the above, I spent time today trying to clean out my office–made a good dent in it and plan to work on it again tomorrow. My dream is to be able to find my desk again so that I can once more sit there to write and spread out my notes (I keep notebooks everywhere throughout the house and jot notes in them whenever the mood/muse strikes). Right now my desktop computer is just a huge paperweight–it crashed a year or so ago and I’ve not done anything to it since…but I’m going to try to reload my operating system and see if that helps…and if not…I guess I”m going to throw it out. Sucks that I’ll lose all my info stored on it, but not sure what else to do.

    Okay–I’m rambling now, so should stop. I think you should invest in a laptop (and I say invest because it will be an investment for you–laptops aren’t expensive now but if you’re like me you still need to justify any expenditure…and an investment is easier to justify than a ‘whim’….)

    Good luck, Ginger. Let me know what you decide and which laptop you choose!

    1. Sylvia,
      Thank you for your advice here, I have turned to your blog more that a few times for pointers on writing. Your last post actually got me motivated to post yesterday and your email a little while back gave me the motivation to write then, too. I really look up to you and your advice is priceless! I especially think of you when it comes to my notebooks. I’ve always scribbled in them but lately I’ve been using them more, because of you 😉 I don’t have any organization when it comes to my handwritten bits though and I think that prevents me from actually being able to use what I’ve created effectivly. Care to share any tips on that?

      I am going to check out Scrivener, in fact I will try anything in hopes it will help. I feel very unorganized lately and can’t help but wonder how much that is getting in my way! My workspace is a complete wreck, it’s a tiny little common area, it’s uncomfortable and crammed, which is why I daydream about creating a office just for myself. Clutter and papers stress me out and block the juices! I have the space in the basement, which would be ideal to work in while doing the laundry, I just can’t afford to buy a laptop and set it up. Baby steps, maybe??

      Thanks again, and yes, I am very much looking forward to the spring. The damp is a downer but the sun feels so good. I am achy but not as stiff as a board from the cold. One day at a time!

  4. Just keep writing is my suggestion. I’m about to write a post about depression and writing, and all I can say is: just keep writing. I feel like the longer I do this, the more I grow and change–I take one step forward, two steps back. Sometimes I feel like I’m totally loosing it and like I’m doing it wrong (so funny, I just wrote that in my post too). I’m told by my writer friends that this is normal. Usually they laugh while saying it. They laugh because they’ve been there. We’ve all been there, and we will all be there again. Have no doubt, you’re getting closer to making it work. It will begin to flow, and then it will stop again. It’s a push, pull kind of love affair, but it’ll work out in the end if you love it and work at it. I think that’s why we have to love it so much, because it’s such a relationship, isn’t it? I don’t think it matters how many books we’ve written, or stories–approaching the blank page, finishing something, it’s always daunting–a balancing act. Find your balance–you’ll get there, and I’ll be there too. We all here, rooting for you and applauding you when you reach the finish line. Until then, know that the journey is part of the lesson. You’ll get better at finishing, each time you don’t give up. Practice believing in yourself.

    1. I can’t wait to read your post, I am going to subscribe so I don’t miss it! You are lucky to have a writer friend, I was just thinking last night how wonderful that would be. I have wonderful blogging friends, who help tremendously, but to be able to bounce ideas off of someone over coffee would be spectacular!
      Thank you so much for commenting and making me realise that I am not alone in the way I feel about writing. I love your approach that the journey is a part of the lesson, that is so true, in life and every aspect of it. I certainly will put more effort in believing in myself, I know that is a huge part of my problem 🙂

  5. How cool that you are working on a book!! I think all creative people, writing, crafting or art, need outlets and inspiration. And there are also times when nothing flows. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It already sounds you are doing alot of writing now, more than before, so be gentle with yourself and it will all come through. Can’t wait to see!!

    1. We sure do need outlets, sometimes it is so hard just to focus on one at a time, don’t you think? Other times being able to work on anything is a challenge though and it makes me restless! Being hard on myself is what I do best but my therapist is helping me understand when and why I do that very thing. Thanks for the support, as always 🙂

  6. I am really happy to see you posting again.
    I usually write on my laptop but before I got one I used to write on paper. I still write my thoughts and reflections in a little notebook I keep by my bed. I think there is no right or wrong way. Find what works for you, what makes you comfortable and stick with that.
    I have a very talented writer friend and she keeps a little notebook and a pen with her at all times, when she gets an idea she writes it down or at least headlines of it.

    1. Sylvia also does that with her notebook. I’ve been getting better at using mine. I like that you keep your near your bed, my mind sure does get active when it is supposed to be asleep. I will try to use that tip, too. Thanks Sawsan!

  7. hey Ginger… cheers for tagging my post! I was listening to the radio today and one of my favourite authors, Sue Townsend, was speaking. She wrote the Adrian Mole Diary books, amongst many other extremely funny British novels, and does so by dictating to her son who types up as she speaks! And for years she wrote on scrap bits of paper which she kept in a box in her fridge (and didn’t show anyone…). I think the lesson here is that you don’t need any particular prop to be able to write. You just write. Wherever. And sometimes that’s bloody hard to do! Check out Steven Pressfield’s book ‘The War of Art’…. all about the Resistance that goes hand in hand with any work of any value. And good luck!

    1. This is great information! Wow, thank you for telling me about her, it makes me feel much more confident in how my mind works! I will check out the book also, thank you so much 🙂

      1. It takes one to know one! I have many notebooks, and many scraps of paper! And much fear around putting writing I do ‘out there’. I very much related to all those unpublished blog posts! And I’ll wager you have also published a post… then wanted to take it down again!

    1. Thank you so much for saying that, it means the world to me, especially when it’s such a challenge these days! Cheers and it’s great to meet you 😀

  8. I jot notes and thoughts in a notebook, then depending on what it is, I draft it here in WPress, or start in Microsoft Office and then cut and paste. For my book, I write directly into the computer in MOffice. When Rachel talks I don’t waste time I just go write it all down before I have time to forget it!!! Even if it’s three AM and I have just woken from a deep sleep… lol!
    ~ Lynda

    1. So funny you said you use Microsoft Office. Today I drafted in WP then took it over to Office, did my editing and brought it back to WordPress. Something about seeing it in a different format really helped me with the editing 🙂 I’ve been scribbiling notes a lot this week, and it does help me keep my thoughts flowing.


  9. I daydream. About funny, illogical, dreamy, lovely things. I imagine and I look for the ‘magic’ all around me. Today for instance I saw the most lovely shade of pink in the flowers of this tree that I passed on the bus. I thought how glorious it must be to look so spectacular. Good for that tree. Silly I know…but I think so many things little and big can influence writing.

    I think it helps me to start putting thoughts down on the laptop. If I get stuck, I rest it, and the rest can last from minutes to weeks! but I come back with a fresh mind and fresh ideas.

    And I talk to other writers. I think that’s a major help and then you realise you’re not alone.

    Hope this helps Ginger, happy writing:) Oh and don’t forget to look for the magic around you! like that little ant! just imagine how your world looked to him while he was carrying on with his business heheh 🙂 hugs xxx

    1. I have to agree with you, but admit to not seeing it before you brought it up… imagination is inspiration!
      Those pink petals sound lovely and nature has a wonderful way of relaxing the mind.
      I’ve been very successful with keeping my notepad near by and have tried to remind myself why I love to write. I write for enjoyment and I think sometimes if I try to hard, the enjoyment gets lost and I find myself stuck.
      Thank you so much for reminding me about all of the wonderous things around us. It is a very helpful tip that I certainly plan to use!

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