Daily prompt: Writing space.
Where do you produce your best writing- at your desk, on your phone, at a noisy café?
Writing…If I could write while I’m driving or while I’m walking or when I’m gardening…or sometimes when I’m listening to the radio – to an interview or discussion, a report or an in depth study…or sometimes when I’m talking with a friend… That’s when the ideas come and I find myself writing in my head. That’s when I need to grab them. So I’ve bought a digital recorder but it’s more complicated than turn it on, press a button and “we’re on air’ although I’m getting to be proficient with it. ( Note to myself: practice using the recorder.) (Second note to myself: always carry a notebook! When the ideas come, stop whatever I’m doing and write it down, doesn’t matter if it gets dirt from the garden.)
Doing something else seems to release the mind. Maybe my writing process will become something like…walking, laptop in backpack…sudden inspiration…stop…sit at side of road…write feverishly…continue walking…
Most of my writing process tends to take place at the table where the computers are set up. Although you could say I’m “spoilt for choice.” The dining room is my temporary study. It feels good and is spacious. Then I have the very large, open sunroom and kitchen, with another large farmhouse table and not one, but two capacious sofas. There’s the lounge room, the roomy back and front decks, complete with tables and chairs… the river bank is not too far away: tables, green grass just perfect for a blanket and a few pillows, wandering ducks, water hens…
This is how my day tends to go: get up and make coffee, curl up on a sofa in the sun with notebook and pen and write for at least half an hour, not stopping, however it comes. Then breakfast, some pottering, get dressed or not and to the computer. If it’s Daily Prompt, look at the day’s prompt…( don’t check too many emails!!!!) If I’m already working on something, read it, play with it…I’ll often print something if I want to edit and I usually take that somewhere else. If I want to start something new, I’ll take it to the other table and handwrite the ideas. It’s as if each stage needs a different place. Some of that’s physical. My computer table (that is , the dining room table) has a clutter of equipment: laptop; wonderful, ergonomic keyboard and large screen monitor; there’s always pieces of paper, notebooks, post-its, textas, pens, pencils, maybe a computer manual; there’s not much space for writing with a pen and paper. (Thanks to my generous benefactor for the setup.) Right now it also has a cat. (How do you teach them not to sit on the keyboard?)
Regular writing is a new process for me. In the past it’s always been an “I’m going to…”. Finally, at last, I have started! I’m learning what works and how I work. As I’ve been writing this post I’ve become aware of how much more I could do and how much more disciplined I could be. Thinking about how I write has helped me clarify what does work for me. From this daily prompt I know exactly what I now need to focus on. More output! More words on paper, or screen, or whatever. More time spent just writing. Time to get going!
14 thoughts on “A Pen and some paper”
From this post I now realise what I am doing wrong – thank you – off now to practise FOCUS.
You motivate me! The first half of your blog is a thought that I share. The second half is action that I need to take. Thanks so much for sharing this.
You’re welcome. I have just been reading your blog- it moved me to tears- nowhere to comment though? I was fascinated to read that you have created a community, an ideal and an aim of mine. In fact, the friend with whom I have bought this house as a step in that direction, has a mother and grandmother who both suffered with Alzheimer’s. It is a dread of hers, I’ll share your blog with her. Your blog will be an inspiration and example for me- both the thoughts and your writing.
Thanks, Kate. Actually there is a place to comment (at the end among the tags, categories, etc. (I just comeback to this and read your note.)
Thanks for the reminder to carry a notebook and write things down when I think of them! Writing sounds very cosy at your house 🙂
Anne Lamott, one of my all-time favourite writers, especially her non-fiction, has notebooks and bits of paper everywhere; I often don’t have, and so lose the thought or whatever has prompted it- a conversation or radio program or? I’m a lucky girl- time and space and solitude…I have no excuses, but… love the title of your blog and now I’ll go look at it. Thanks for the comment.
I like reading about your writing rituals. 🙂 I also try to get my ideas down on paper whenever I have them (which is usually during class when my mind flies someplace else). Although I find it difficult to write longhand because I feel like my brain works quicker than the pace of my writing. 🙂 On the computer, I’m more productive if I write in Notepad first and then edit it on Microsoft Word (or WordPress, for blog entries).
This is really an interesting read. It made me think of my own writing rituals. Sorry for rambiling a bit. 🙂
I love rambling- gets you to interesting places. I’m not very proficient with Notepad, haven’t used it much. I find my written content is different, depending on what I use- handwritten or keypad- must research this. It’s good to reflect, isn’t it? Thanks for your comment- you’re obviously young, it will interesting to see how you develop- never really thought about writing when I was younger.
I like the idea of the digital recorder for those ideas rattling around in the head! Mine tends to only get used when I want to record myself reading poetry, I rarely remember to use it in the way that most people would use it – strange person I know! 😉 But I do have a lot of note pads and I’m pretty good at getting that idea on paper before it gets lost. But there have been times when I’ve just paused for a moment to do something else first and – it gone, lost forever, or I’ll remember it in the bath when there’s no pen or paper anywhere near me – aaaahhhh!
Thoroughly enjoying your posts by the way, you have an excellent way of communicating what you’re saying – didn’t lose me once, that’s quite rare in the land of blogs! 🙂
I am discovering the truth of how slow I am to change (and I don’t have lots of time!); I’ll be glad when it’s routine for me to use the recorder, write in the notebooks…I keep learning the necessity of self-acceptance and I keep on. Thanks for your comments, it’s very rewarding.
Great post on your writing process. Often the hardest part of writing is getting started. I find myself going through elaborate processes of getting ready to write, finding just the right set up, getting distracted by social media and realize that I’m really jut putting off the job of putting words down on paper. Then once I get started and the words start to flow I wonder why I kept procrastinating. (I often think of Dorothy Parker’s quip: “I hate writing, I love having written.”)
Silly, isn’t it? I waste a lot of time trying to work out what is the best use of my time…then, of course, I will have done nothing! Kierkegaard’s angst? too much choice? You’re one of my examples of good writing- thank you.
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