Low Maintenance Writer   1 comment

March 5, 2018 – Writing spaces and processes.  What’s one or two things you must have in order to sit down and write productively?


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Typing on LaptopI’m a pretty flexible writer. I can and do write pretty much anywhere I am and I’m not put off by noise or activity. I don’t require my laptop … I often take a notebook along when we hike, fish or camp so I can jot things down during breaks — although I do prefer using the laptop because it’s more efficient. I don’t mind layovers on trips (I do bring my laptop for this) because I will sit and write while I wait … and then probably write while I’m on the plane … or stuck in the airport. I just don’t have a lot of requirements when I write because writing just seems to be something I must do and my background as a reporter taught me to screen out everyone around me.

But there are a couple of things I prefer when I’m seeking to get into the zone where I can push out 5,000 words in a day.

Warmth. You probably are furrowing your brow at this, but remember where I live. It’s cold outside and the only reason it’s not just as cold inside is that we have heating devices and insulation. But sometimes the heat doesn’t work. Brad likes to use weekends and holidays to work on our heating system. Does it need working on? Maybe, maybe not, but he experiments with our system so that he can do a better job on other people’s systems. Consequently, sometimes, I find it’s dropped to 60 degrees in the bedroom – my most common writing spot – and at that point, I can no longer type, which means I am no longer productive at writing.

Hot beverage – okay, even when it’s “warm” in our house, it’s not really all that warm in our house — we’re fuel misers — so a thermos of hot coffee (decaf) or tea at my elbow is appreciated. Combine this with occasional servings of homemade bread toasted and slathered with butter and I might hit 6,000 words that day. I actually did 18,000 words on a three-day weekend in January.

Genre-appropriate music. I don’t always need this and it’s better if it doesn’t have lyrics, but I do sometimes use music to get into the writing zone. Celtic-flavored music works well for Daermad Cycle. Transportation Project doesn’t have a genre. It really depends on the character. More and more when I write from 95-year-old Jacob Delaney’s POV, I want fiddle music. Why? He likes fiddle music. I discovered the other day that he plays. Who knew? I love that about my characters.

Quiet Company. I enjoy having the dog in the room. She’s a yellow Lab with the most beautiful brown eyes that just say “You can do it, human!” Sometimes I ask her what she thinks of what I’m writing and she wags her tail to let me know I’m on the right track.

But as I said, I don’t get upset if there’s noise or any other distraction. My husband can wonder in and talk to me or watch television in the living room. Sometimes I’ll take the laptop downstairs and write while I’m watching television. The above are mostly nice-to-haves, not must-haves. Sometimes they are very useful and sometimes I don’t even notice if they’re not there.

Low-maintenance, I think they call that.

One response to “Low Maintenance Writer

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  1. I find it very difficult to screen everything and everyone out. I only wish I could, and then I might get to write 18,000 words in a weekend like you! Well done, by the way.


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