Monday, January 9, 2012

I Write my Best When…

The New Year is a time of new beginnings and it's made me think about ways I could improve not only my writing, but the way I write as well including my scheduling, my goals, my attitude. I came up with a list which I thought I'd share, a list that helped me toward an optimum writing environment:

I write my best…

  1. when I stop over-thinking it and just write. As soon as I see those doubts come creeping in, I must catch them fast before they take hold and just keep writing.
  2. when I throw myself into my characters so I can see through their eyes and experience what they experience, rather than forcing my own experiences and reactions on them. I've found it's not enough to just step back from a scene and view it from afar. This is good for editing, but not so good for fresh creations. I need to become a part of it, to taste it, feel it, smell it.
  3. when I take the time to distance myself from a draft. A fresh perspective can help me see the mistakes, the slow moving plot, the dodgy phrasing.
  4. when I'm active both physically and mentally. When I sit around all day reading and writing, my work becomes as stodgy as old pudding. I need to get up and get the blood pumping. I need to engage with the real world.
  5. when I look after myself. This includes not skipping meals because the writing is going well. I inevitably pay for it later.
  6. when I'm not necessarily happy, but content.
  7. when I stop worrying what others will think.
  8. when I have few distractions--including the internet, the smell of chocolate when I'm dieting, jack hammers etc. Not all distractions can be switched off, so I must find a way to overcome them even if it means facing them head on.
  9. when I live outside my self-created worlds. Stepping away from the computer is essential to gain life experiences. These experiences become inspiration for more stories.
  10. when I just write. I've found I need schedules and goals. I can't rely on a muse to tell me when it's okay to write. Circumstances will never be perfect for writing, so I must just keep writing.

When do you write your best?
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I hope you like the new look for my blog. A special thank you again to Dezzy for the use of the wonderful banner he'd created for me last year. It served me well. Below is a pic of my blog the way it used to look, including Dezzy's banner--for prosperity.

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Thank you to Nancy Thompson for the Great Comments Award. I really appreciate it. Please pop on over and say hi from me.

49 comments:

  1. love the new look and agree with all the above, especially #9. I don't get to do it as often as I like but traveling and seeing new places is one of my favorite ways to get inspired.

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  2. I love the new look. It's very professional, but friendly and inviting. The old look was nice too.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  3. I write best in the mornings or extremely late at night.

    I agree with number 7 and I need to do it more often!

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  4. I love that you did this and now want to create a list for myself. I don't do well with resolutions and/or goals, but knowing what DOES work may be helpful! Christy

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  5. It took me awhile to learn to "write with the door closed" as Stephen King advises. But it's really important to write a first draft free of inhibition and without a lot of outside influence, IMO.

    Good to see you back. Love the new look.

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  6. Fantastic post with which to open 2012, Lyn. Thank you.

    Happy new year!

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  7. Your new look blog is WONDERFUL!! I especially like your pic - nice to see you!!

    I say I write best with my heart on my sleeve and not with my brain! LOL!

    Take care
    x

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  8. I know about what you mean about writing with few distractions. That's one reason why I don't write fiction in my apartment very often; my neighbors are extremely loud and rowdy, which makes it difficult to concentrate. It's easier to bear the noise at cafes, because somehow it's less annoying there. And it's hard for me to write when I'm in a bad mood because I'm annoyed by my neighbors. It's better to write in places that are peaceful and make me feel good.

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  9. Thanks so much for the kind comments.

    Christy, yes, it's about working out what works for you because everyone is different.

    Luanne, I'll be writing a post about that soon too.

    Workaholic, yep, I often have to escape to the local coffee shop for that reason too.

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  10. I can write almost any time of day, but night (especially when I need sleep!) seems to be the time when I get the most done.

    And I completely agree with the Internet as a distraction -- I'd probably get a lot more done if I didn't give in so often.

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  11. A very good list of tips. I'm going to do my best to get back in the writing swing of things, so I'll be taking a few of these on board. Thanks!

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  12. Your blog looks great! And I'd have to say my list pretty much matches up with yours.

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  13. Your new look is very slick and professional Lynda. Your goals sound well thought out. I write best when I have no distractions. Unfortunately I have to work hard to find that place. Nowadays, it's easier to take me to the library.

    All the best for excellent writing in 2012.

    Denise

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  14. Love your list.

    I write best for many of the same reasons you mention. I need to be in a good frame of mind and living my life in order to write well.

    Happy New Year, Lynda!

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  15. I write best when the kids are at school and I don't hear "mommy" all the time:)
    I like the new look.

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  16. I liked the old header a lot, but the new one is probably more professional looking. But is the background/sides just gray? Am I missing something? Seems it needs a tad more color, other than gray. Like a very light blue or violet...or some sort of faint but visually interesting texture. Yes, you can cyberkick me for being picky. ;P

    Great post. Great reminder especially to get out and LIVE (interspersed) while we're writing; it actually benefits our work!

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  17. Your list is really balanced nicely:) I love your look of your new header too!

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  18. Oh WOW! You actually have your photo on the front page. Congrats. You finally did it. :) Lovely pic.

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  19. Hi, I hope you had a good break. I like the new look too - very clean, but still welcoming.

    That's a great list and you mention a list of things I think we should all remember. I agree that you have to live through your characters to create an effective story, but also keep that overall perspective. A difficult balance to strike! You've inspired me as I get back to work tomorrow night (or I guess for you, tonight - still Sunday here!). Kids are back to school and therefore back to a proper bedtime!

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  20. I like your new look! And a great list!

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  21. I write my best early in the morning, when I have the house to myself and the air is still crisp.

    PS. I love the new blog design!

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  22. Those all apply to me as well! I also write better when I've had my daily guitar practice. And plenty of sleep. I like my sleep.

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  23. I must have the next day off. I must have coffee. I must get manic and write all night. I often knock out an article in about two hours after I get started and spend the rest of the time editing and throwing in bling. Other than that, I don't seem to be able to schedule or control it. I write things more like articles or essays so finding a topic is the biggest problem for me. It needs to percolate subconsciously for at least a week preferably three. If I have a lot of friends I write better. They don't need to contribute. They just give me fodder (with their quirks and habits) and encouragement. I think that's because I write mostly about human nature, (like we all don't) which is as chaotic as me.

    Love the new blog. Don't know why, but I always pictured you with longer blonder hair and a more austere expression.

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  24. I know I would get more writing done if I didn't have the internet. I log on in the morning and say. Right, check email. Check, blog. GET WRITING. What usually happens is: Check email, faff around on there. Check blog, hang out on other peoples, pull up a critique partner's manuscript I'm supposed to be editing and do that. I distract myself from opening my own MS when that's all I want to do. I don't know why I do this? Any suggestions ;) lol

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  25. Oh yes, the best way of getting the writing to flow is to stop worrying about what you're writing and just...write!

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  26. Great list, Lynda! I write my best in the middle of the night, when the house is quiet and my characters have free rein. :)

    P.S. The blog looks amazing!

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  27. Terrific list Lynda!

    And your new look is awesome. All the best with all your goals for 2012!

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  28. Awesome list! I write best when I let the story take me.

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  29. This is a great list. I find my best writing comes when I don't overthink, or go back 'just to check' something.

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  30. You are so welcome and thanks for the shout out!

    I write best after listening to my music, when I'm not trying too hard, when I BECOME my characters.

    Fantastic post, Lynda!!

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  31. I really think physical activity is the best way to clear my mind, followed by taking a break as a close second.

    Even better is combining both, like going on a really long hike!

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  32. You sometimes skip meals because the writing is going well? I sometimes do my best proofreading while eating lunch.

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  33. You definitely touched on a few things that I think can be difficult— placing as high a priority on your health as your writing, and forcing yourself to adhere to a schedule and not “rely on a muse.” I think it can be tough for creative people to impose guidelines on themselves, but at a certain point your passion must be laced with discipline.

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  34. Writing Hour, yep, I'm not so good at writing at night either

    Jamie, good luck with your writing

    Denise, slick and professional was what I was going for, so a huge thanks :)

    Carol, yep, just grey. I tried a few different colours but they all called out for something more, so I left it with grey because it's not distracting and it's simple. I appreciate your thoughts, though. :)

    Nick, inspiring someone to get back to work is the best thing to hear :)

    Curmudgeon, I had a chuckle at your friends giving you writing fodder. It's so true! I also had a chuckle at your mental image of me hehe

    Jade, yep, I can so relate. That's why I need schedules. Blog/email/fb etc in the morning until 9am then write. Sometimes I even have to walk away from the computer just to get some writing done.

    Sarah, ah yes, those 'just to check' moments can be a killer.

    Nancy, thanks again :)

    Mark, yep, naughty of me, I know, but I'll sometimes forget to eat. Oops.

    Lauren, definitely, it takes some discipline to get into the routine.

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  35. I write my best when I write almost as soon as I wake up. I only respond to e-mails to get alert and then I jump into my WiP.

    :-)

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  36. yep. That pretty much sums it up for me perfectly. If I'm into my characters, if I'm in a good place mentally, and if I stop stepping back and just dive in and WRITE...

    Yay! Here's to getting it done~ <3

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  37. Misha, yeah, I'm not naturally a morning person so I go for a short walk to wake up then I'm good ;)

    Leigh, I second that! :)

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  38. Perfect post. I especially like #1. I definitely don't get much done when I overthink it.

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  39. I love your new banner.

    Great list. All of these items fit me, except for the happy/content one. I've actually done my best writing and am most successful when I'm under stress or upset. Perhaps because I see my writing as an escape.

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  40. I like all of these. I've learned to just write, even if the muse has gone and jumped in the lake!

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  41. Yeah, I'm pretty much the same as that, except a bit lazier :)

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  42. Great list! I've just decided that I'm going to make more of an effort to really put myself in the character's shoes and write from that perspective, not my own, so I really liked that one on your list!

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  43. I write my best when I am relaxed and when I stop second guessing my characters and over analyzing the story. Glad to see you back. Hope you had a nice break.

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  44. I'd say I have similar needs, as I'm sure most people do, but perhaps the happy versus contentment would be my only difference. I always find it a fine line as far as how happy or content I ought to be when writing, it's an odd blend of euphoria, but also a rush to keep going before the muse dries up:)

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  45. Hi, Lynda,

    I can relate so much to this post. Things do go better when we take care of ourselves and the writing is so much better when I let go and get into my characters' skin.

    New Year, new look, huh? :)

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  46. Medeia, I've heard a few authors write best like that. I'm not one of them ;) Under pressure, yes, but not upset.

    Mark, personally I don't think the muse exists. Shh, don't tell her I said that ;)

    J.L. Capmbell, yep, with the new year I wanted a fresh start. :)

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  47. Awesome and so true! At the end of the day it's all about jumping right in and just writing it, isn't it? Happy New year!

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  48. The new blog look is gorgeous! What a great way to begin a new year.

    Your list mirrors my "I write best when..." list. Except the bit about distractions. I don't do well with those.

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  49. D.U. Okonkwo, happy new year to you too

    Cynthia, oh I didnt realise you had a list as well! Great minds... ;)

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