Monday, December 22, 2008

Writing Gimmicks?

Hey, I didn't mean to clog up the blogalanche by starting my little writing game. Ideally, we can continue the game whilst blogging, so I'm gonna keep things rolling.

This would probably fit in with several other posts--writing quirks, distractions or spaces--but I thought I'd just start fresh.

I've been having a lot of trouble getting keyboard time in lately, probably due to the holidays and general business of the time of year. Regardless of the reasons, my writing's been suffering. I realized after reading the distraction post that the internet is a big problem for me. So after lots of internet research (chuckles) I bought myself an Alphasmart Dana. Basically, it's a small, highly portable word processor that is PC compatible. It runs for a week or more off of three batteries and seems fairly durable. When you're done writing you just hit the on/off button and it automatically saves your work. Then, when you hit the on/off button again--an hour, a day or a week later--it resumes right where you left off. internet.

I've found so far that it allows me to focus on the story by taking the temptation of the internet away and also giving me almost instant access to my work. Maybe I'm just lazy but it's working well so far.

Someone wrote something about writing in different spots around the house, and so I thought I'd try that out. I like it. Now I can move around the house and even sit outside while the Jack Russell does her thang, and get some words in.

But that's just me. I know many of you guys like the comfort of a home writing base. I do too but I guess I'm expanding my horizons and in the process I'm getting more writing done.

Technically this post isn't about writing places, though. What I'm interested in is writing gimmicks. Is there anything that you do--mystical rituals or imagination-stimulating excercises--or even real exercise, that helps you to get more writing done? I'd like to know cause if it doesn't sound too crazy, I just might try it.


Ink said...

I'm a little nervous around gimmicks and superstitions. I know, in a sense, that they're not really that different from having a writing time or a writing place (that is, they can operate as mental cues to focus the mind on writing), but I'm still nervous on account of that mystical/superstitious connection. You build up that sort of "I need this thing to write" or "I need to do this first..." I really don't like things that create the possibility of dependence. I don't need anything to write - I may want something, but it's never a necessity. I'm in control. It's my writing... and that writing is solely dependent on my talent, knowledge and perseverence. Imagination is a skill.

So, for me... no gimmicks, please. Give me a keyboard and a hard hat, because I've got work to do.

Wanu said...

Caffeine and Nicotene. ;)

Ms Kitty said...

Congrads, Book on having that freedom to move around. I like being in the kitchen in the morning, or on the porch on warm mornings. (It's 10 degrees, cold enough to freeze water solid in the barn today.)

I've got several places I like to write. Outside on the porch is my favorite, while my 3 dogs (2 are Jack Russels) play all around me. I think that playing frees my mind up, decompresses me a bit.

Gimmicks - if I have a scene that doesn't work on paper, I play a few games of spider while I run over it in my mind until I see it clearly. Or some free association a plot line that didn't work.

House work and cleaning stalls both clear my mind so I can concentrate on the story at hand. Trappist monks say that work done thoughtfully is a meditation.

Note that most of these are about getting up, away from the keyboard, 'chewing' on the story and coming back to it.

If I'm surfing the 'Net, I hardly get any writing done. Though blogging is an exception. (This does count as writing, doesn't it? Or is this socializing? hmm) With my laptop dead, I haven't written a dozen words on novel #2. (Maybe that's because internet on the laptop is intermittant at best?)

Ink, "possibility of dependence" struck a huge cord! All kinds of negetive connotations to my 'misspent' youth. It's always best to know that all you need is a keyboard and a word processing program of some kind, or pen & ink.

I'm going to do some housework and think about this some more. (G)

Ink said...

I think of blogs like this, and stuff like FM, as "writing related". It's not writing fiction... but it's about writing fiction, and in the long run I hope it helps to make me a better writer. Plus it's fun. So, for me this sort of stuff isn't time wasting... unless (though I've never done this, no sirree...) I'm simply jumping from board to board waiting for someone to post during a slow day at work. Then, you know, that might be, ah, not the best use of my time. But if I'm actually engaged in writing discussion, to me that's like business research or supplementary study. That's like a tech guy reading up on all the new tech stuff because he wants to stay on his game and doesn't want to get passed by and miss out on the new turn in tech advancement.

And as for the dependence thing... I've got a very serious independent streak and don't like a loss of control. I mean, I've had surgeries where I don't take painkillers afterward because I don't like that idea of dependence on a pill. Stubborn, yes. But if I'm going to succeed or fail, well, it's going to be on my own terms. I'll know where to look.
For good or ill, I'll accept the responsibility.