Writing: On Location

on Wednesday, June 1, 2011
This is gonna be a weird post. I'm going to talk about WHERE I like to write. I don't mean like...the worlds I write in. I mean where I plant my butt when I'm writing. I'll also talk about how I brainstorm, which I actually am going to talk about first. This is what happens when an ADHD person tries to write a blog post.


Yes, this is actually how it works. As everybody here knows, I don't plan much in advance. I never, ever outline in an actual "document" setting (though I do have outlines, scenes, and basic plot structure in my head. I just never saw the benefit of putting it to paper unless I was afraid I'd forget it). I also have severe ADHD, as mentioned above, which means usually the stuff is up there, just jumbled. How do I sort it all out? By walking around!

Back when I lived in south Provo, walking around was basically how I figured out Where Gods and Mortals Dance, Paradise Seekers, and the initial ideas that became Effulgent Corruption. We lived in a butt side of town, but we were kind of on an "island" sidewalk-wise; I could walk about a quarter mile around my apartment and end up back home in about 15-20 minutes. We also lived right across from a cemetery, and it is my greatest regret I never actually took my laptop and wrote in there. Can you imagine the creative juices?


Now I live on a big fat, heavily urbanized hill. Which I guess isn't much different than my urbanized south Provo, except I actually have to walk up something. Frequently when I'm stuck I go on a walk with my wife around the block for about 15-30 minutes and just talk book. If you don't have a spouse, you can do the same thing but talk to yourself, except you might look a little crazy. But hey, you are an author, so you are crazy by default.

This has actually been a huge boon to me over the years. Often times I think writers (or at least me) feel cramped and repressed working in a dark, confined area. I swear it's like I'm banging my head against the computer sometimes hoping something good comes out. Going outside and just thinking about my novel without worrying about writing it is a huge help. Granted, if you are the person who has to write down ideas the minute they come to your head, you might want to bring a notepad or something.

So yeah, go outside people. There's a great, beautiful world out there with fresh air. Now get to it.


So I have a confession: I own way more computers than I should. Yeah really. But here's basically where I write:

1. On the desk with my desktop/Mac Mini. I actually prefer to do edits here rather than writing, because it's the only computer with an actual mouse and keyboard which makes moving quickly easier.

2. On the couch, feet on the coffee table. I write on the fat, old Macbook Pro here, which overheats and roasts my legs. This is my "default" writing position.

3. Anywhere I darn well want, because I have a netbook. This was probably the best writing investment thus far, and if you don't have one you should look into it. For a couple hundred you can get a decent machine (mine was $200 and I Hackentoshed it). It'll run word, wikipedia, and iTunes, so what else do you need? I got one particularly because it had a larger keyboard than most netbooks (93% a regular keyboard size, so I don't get hand cramps at all).

I've been writing outside on the porch, but I kind of...don't like that. I love writing outside (it's a new thing I discovered), but I also want to not be next to a house (and a lamp that attracts all the bugs in utah). Luckily, there is a big grassy hill with rocks right across the street, and magically my WiFi, which can't go like one floor upstairs, can somehow reach all the way over there. I wrote a fat chunk of Effulgent Corruption yesterday outside, sitting on a rock on a hill, enjoying the evening air while listening to Gladiator. I should probably post about the music I listen to, but that's another post.



So my advice to you, dear reader, is thus: go outside. Grab your laptop and go to the park. Go somewhere without internet (Derek, I'm lookin' at you). Force yourself to get off the web and into the real world. Then write, with the sun and the birds and the wind and all that good crap. Trust me, it'll be the best thing you ever did. I'm going to (assuming the weather permits) go to that rock across the street and write every day from now on. I already write daily, but I have a feeling that will help immensely. Seriously. Do it.

And buy Paradise Seekers (ha, you thought you got a whole blog post without my obnoxiousness didn't you? WRONG!)


Cholisose said...

I walk around aimlessly on a fairly regular basis, actually, just thinking about my book(s) for an hour or so. Sometimes it's also good just to clear my head for twenty minutes if I've been writing for a long time.

I don't like writing outside as much, though. Just too easily distracted, and my laptop has bad glare.

Jason L Secrest said...

You inspired me to pull back the outer door in my room. I've been rewarded with fresh air plus... the insects that come through the screen door that won't shut; the incessant buzz of a couple ac units; the loud chattering of the neighbors that like to stomp through my shared "gutter-well" (as I like to call it), and a musty/stuffy odor that I presume comes from the ac units. Well, at least musty air is a change from stale air.

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