Tricks of the Trade

We all have a method to our madness. Every writer has a few tricks they use to help them write. Not all of these tricks work for everyone. Some are pretty out there while others are no more than habits. Here are a few of the more common ones.

Some writers prefer working in quiet. Others, like me, find that background noise and activity help them write. Don’t ask me why. It’s just the way it is. As long as things aren’t too distracting or entertaining, I find myself able to focus on what I am doing. If there is nothing going on around me, my mind tends to wander. It’s why I try to make sure I am listening to some music or a television is on somewhere.  This technique has helped me write while traveling or waiting in a doctor’s office as well as in bars and restaurants when things aren’t too distracting.

Some people prefer to write in a certain room or spot. The location helps them form their thoughts. Others can and do write anywhere the mood suits them. I admit it. I like to write in my little home office surrounded by books of other writers but I’m much more mood dependent. If I’m not in the mood to write, being in my office won’t help. When I am in the mood to write, I can do it anywhere. My main sticking point is comfort. I have to feel comfortable when I write or I won’t get much if anything done. The more comfortable I am, the more productive I can be.

Some writers prefer to write using pen and paper then copy their scribbling into their computer. Others just skip the pen and paper step to type their thoughts into their computers. For me, it’s about mood and convenience. I don’t carry my laptop with me all the time but I do have a pen and notepad with me at all times. Sometimes I will be in a mood to jot down my thoughts instead of typing them. Other times, I want to use my computer especially if I am doing something online while I write.

Some writers prefer to work from an outline or synopsis. Others take a less structured approach. For me, it all depends on the project. In general, most of my books start out as a short story or rough idea jotted down in one of my many notebooks. I then flesh out the idea as I write until I have a rough draft. Other times, I might create a very rough outline for my book to help set the pacing and tone of a story.

Another trick that seems to work for me, I got from several writers during a panel. If you get an idea in the middle of the night, don’t just write it down. Say it out loud. You’ll be able to recall the memory that much easier. It’s a memory trick that has to do with how the brain stores information. I’m not up on the scientific reason why such a trick helps. I just know that it appears to help me out so I do it except for those times when I might look like a crazy person talking to himself.

Anyway, you get the idea. There are other tricks and tools. If you have any you want to share, don’t be shy.

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