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How do you write? (by day, by night, in silence, with music...)

1875 Views 23 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  MJRose
I use to write in the night. I need absolute silence, I must say. No music, no cries, no childs, no conversations... I need to be absolute concentrate, or I miss the wave.

I can´t write with music, although some music can inspire me before I start writing, specially motion soundtracks.

I usually have an schema of the novel, well organised and quite detailed, before I start with the first chapter. I know some othe people prefer to start writing with a fuzzy idea of the plot. Just the highlits. Not in my case.

I am quite perfectionist, so I change a lot, make several rewrites and a lot of polishing before I remain satisfied. It took me more than two years to complete my first novel, called "El Acontecimiento" (The event)

Here you can find a short video about where you can see how I write... (How do you write?) (Well, It´s just a show)

"El último renglón" (The last line)

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I also need it fairly quiet to write.  I can revise with some distractions, but a first draft? No way.  I try to take a walk in the morning before I write.  The story or scene ahead of me crystallizes while I walk around the neighborhood.  Not so convenient though in the winter time.  :)
I can write with music if I'm writing a party scene, but only if I already know where the scene is going. When starting a scene from scratch I have to have silence. And I do my best work after midnight, however, morning walks in the park are great for coming up with new plots or ironing out the details of current ones. I'm able to better concentrate at night overall. :)
I get my best writing done early in the morning.  I get up at 4AM, write until 7AM, then go to work.  After work, I'm generally too tired to write much.  That's when I surf, visit the Writer's Cafe, and research my WIP and/or indie publishing. 

Weekends, I write until noon, though after about 8AM I do allow myself breaks to surf.
On a normal work-day (ie. where I have to go for my day job!), I get about 30-45 mins writing done each night. Typically when my wife is putting our son to bed. That way I get some solo time to write and also don't compromise on family time.

On weekends, I sometimes write in the afternoons as well- but usually we're out. I travel a fair bit on work- maybe 2-3 times a month- and I get a huge amount of writing done in planes, airport lounges, hotels etc.

Usually when I write, it's in silence- I've noticed that even if I have music on, I usually pay it no attention when writing.
Lately, I've been writing by night out of necessity (the day job doesn't allow morning writing and I refuse to get up any earlier because I'm already up pretty early). But I'm thinking once school ends I'll be writing for most of the day during the day; I am a morning person.

Sometimes I like music, but other times I prefer silence. What I can't abide is when my cat comes into the office and starts making noise (unless that noise is purring).

The thing that is most important, though (I'm finding), is a comfortable chair. I wrote for a week straight on a painfully uncomfortable chair over spring break and found I had to get up frequently because I was so uncomfortable. But I recently bought a fancy chair and find that sitting for long periods of time is not a problem anymore. Yay!
I never write for more than 1 hour per day or so. I become very tired when I finish each sesion. Very intensive! My brother can be writting for 3 or 4 hours. I never could.
I write with earphones in (to block out EVERYTHING... yes, my earphones literally plug my ears), turn on whatever music will generate the mood I'm wanting ot inspire, and then just let my fingers do the rest.

I like to go to the library, or some other location other than my house so that my wife isn't interrupting me with "What color do you think looks better for the bathroom?" or other frivolous questions.
I write during the day in absolute silence.

-Vianka Van Bokkem  ;)
Since I only get to write during nights and weekends, I can't afford to be picky about my setting. I usually do it in the bedroom or living room. I often carry my writing notebook around and just plop down somewhere when I have the time.  Not ideal, I know, but it's better than not writing at all!
Vianka Van Bokkem said:
I write during the day in absolute silence.

-Vianka Van Bokkem ;)
Ditto. Gotta hear myself think.
For years I wrote during the night because it was quiet and dark.  Now, I mix it up a bit and take a laptop to a library or bookstore.  Sometimes an unfamiliar place offers better inspiration.
I have no choice by to write late at night.....usually starting after 9:00. Full time working single mom, with 50 million things on my plate every day. By the time the kids are in the bed at  8:30, and I've spent 30 minutes to an hour preparing for the next day my brain is overloaded. I can't have the tv on, music playing, or even the fan on in my room. Just me and the keys clickin away on the keyboard my last big energy push is reserved for this time specifically each day. Dreamin of a time where it will no longer be this way and I can work as a full time writer! :) dreamin....
And how much time can you be writing in one single session? (the longest you can, i.e., in a saturday)

What do you prefer: Pure writting from zero or polishing/reviewing/changing?
I write with a pencil and a pad of paper. Usually it's at night after everyone falls asleep so I don't get pulled out of the story in my head. It's like a dream - once I'm awake, I can't go back. I don't write full sentences, use any punctuation, or worry about spelling. I write fast and down the page, one line for each action, image, thought, or dialogue. Always in present tense. If my head fills with too many ideas before I transcribe them, many will slip away. I got the idea from Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame, who used a voice recorder for the same reason.

Once the penciled, skeletal draft is done, I set it aside and start a different story using the same approach. A week later I revisit the first story and type it onto the computer, convert it to past tense, fix the sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, etc. Editing mode and creative mode must remain as demarcated as possible for me, otherwise I'll write one perfect paragraph and call it quits.

I like background music that matches the tempo. Soundtracks and jazz, mostly. Action scenes require a faster pace. Silence works too.
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jhanel said:
I write with earphones in (to block out EVERYTHING... yes, my earphones literally plug my ears), turn on whatever music will generate the mood I'm wanting ot inspire, and then just let my fingers do the rest.

I like to go to the library, or some other location other than my house so that my wife isn't interrupting me with "What color do you think looks better for the bathroom?" or other frivolous questions.
I think I might start going to the library to write. Even a change as minor as writing in the kitchen helps me get out of a rut, so a complete location change might be good. :)
I think the silence or relative quiet when writing is about how creative or how much concentration is required. If I'm doing something boring, like layout, then music is the go. If I'm really concentrating then I won't even notice that there is music on. But if I'm trying to be creative and need to concentrate then my favourite music will be calling me to have me nod my head and sing out of tune.

Although I did find that some classical music, like chamber music (Mozart, Brahms, that guy starting with S), works well.
When I lived in Virginia, I used to write in the morning and work out in the evening. Now that I live Arizona, where afternoon temps hit 105-115, I've had to reverse that. I really prefer mornings, but it's tough enough getting up at 5:30 to get in a decent bike ride before work and I can't imagine getting up much earlier.

Oh - and I write with music about 99% of the time...
I've come to realize, I'm a marathon writer. I tried early morning writing, I just can't do it. Trust me I tried really hard, getting up at 4am and writing doesn't work for me. I write at night now.  On the weekends, I try to pull late night, into the early morning writing marathons. With lots of music, hot tea, and snacks. Come to think of it, that's how I studied in school. Everyone else would be out, and I would be up until the wee hours working away.

I think there are too many distractions during the day for me.
I work an afternoon shift and a late shift.

My afternoon shift usually goes 11 AM to 5 or 6 PM.

My late shift usually goes 11 PM to 3 AM or so. Sometimes later.

I usually use one of those shifts for writing; the other shift goes toward subcontractor work of an editorial nature, blogging, promotion, social networking, etc.

My writing shift is usually the late-night one.

As I'm settling in to writing mode, I'll start off with late-night talk radio or podcasts on in the background, only half-listening. Once the serious writing begins, I either go with complete silence, or Johnny Cash. I have about 300MB of 128kbps-compressed Johnny Cash music and it's on its own playlist on my iPod nano. There are hours and hours and hours and hours of music there.

When I listen to other artists, I tend to get too caught up in the music. Johnny Cash, for me, is the perfect background music while I write.
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