Monday, June 1, 2015

How Do You Write?

No, I'm actually asking: How - and where, and when - do you write?

Everyone has their favourite setups. Some people like to monopolize space at their local Starbucks. I heard of one writer who had a special desk built so she could walk at a leisurely pace on a treadmill while typing (I actually like the sound of that). Some authors like to write in a home office with the lights dimmed and Mozart playing. Still others prefer to write by oil lamp on parchment made of human flesh, their quill dipped in the blood of virgins with the screams of their next victim ringing in the background.

I'm not quite so fancy.

I used to write on a desk in our office/den on my own snazzy computer. That was where I wrote my first five or six books, including Ten Thousand Days. That was before my computer caught fire, and we moved to a house and had two kids. We no longer have an office or den (every inch of the floor is carpeted with toys). I don't even have a proper desk anymore, not that I would have time to sit at it anyway. See two kids, above.

What DO I have though? An hour and half commute to work every day. EACH WAY.

I used to use this time to watch TV shows or play video games on my iPhone. Or sleep. But I recently discovered I could put this time to much more productive use.

I tried watching Game of Thrones, but it was too embarrassing with all the gratuitous sex and boobs and people watching over my shoulder.
I wrote the first draft of my next book entirely on the bus, scribbling in this notebook by as we bounced along and people elbowed me in the face. It was painful and invigorating at the same time. It also has a neat side effect.

Behold! A very special sneak peek. Good luck reading it, even I can't make out most of these scribbles.
Now that I'm typing up the first draft, I'm revising and editing as I go, and because my handwriting is so awful and because it was basically written as stream of consciousness drivel, I'm forced to make updates and changes as I re-type on my second draft. It's adding in a whole extra pass that I would't usually get. Which I'm also doing on the bus, on my handy-dandy Toshiba Netbook balanced precariously on my lap.

The computer is pretty old and a piece of crap, so I have to use WordPad as Word crashes all the time. I'm discovering some interesting functions of the program. Did you know that if you hit "Undo" on WordPad, it undoes ALL the typing you did since the last time you saved? And did you know that WordPad doesn't have a "Re-do" button? Yeah, I learned that one the hard way.

I've wanted to throw this bastard on the floor a couple of times, but really it's not his fault. It's Microsoft's fault. Screw you, Bill Gates and your philanthropy.
I also learned that just because I started using my bus time for writing doesn't mean I no longer need the nap time. If I'm not careful, I often find myself waking up after my bus trip and my only writing contribution for the day is "lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll."

So I've started drinking a lot more coffee.

At least two of these per day, plus two more regular-sized mugs at my desk at my real job.
So yeah, it's a lot of work, but I'm making it happen. I have to write. I often say I write for the same reason I jog - not because it makes me feel good, but because if I don't do it, I feel terrible.

So I will finish this book, even if if kills me.

At least I had a nice office, right?

I'm serious. I'm writing my book entirely in this seat. This is my Iron Throne.
So where DO YOU write? Please tell me it's somewhere more comfortable...

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