Writing Idiosyncrasies by Debra H. Goldstein

Writing Idiosyncrasies by Debra H. Goldstein

I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe certain conditions have to be right for me to be creative.

I envy my friends who successfully produce one thousand or more words a day. The ones who explain that if “you don’t put your bottom in the seat, you’ll never have anything to show as an author.” If I try to follow their method, I agonize and then end up throwing out most of what I’ve written. For me, an idea must germinate internally until it reaches a point that the muse can’t hold it back. Then, and only then, can the words magically flow from my brain to my fingertips.

Still, having the words ready to flow isn’t enough. I need to have background music when I write anything of consequence. For me, that is usually show music or artists whose songs tend to be more lyrically oriented. The music can’t be rock or heavy metal. Words are key. Sometimes, I just keep playing the same album or two repeatedly until I finish the book or story. The irony is that the same set of songs or albums usually won’t work for the next project I take on.

Then, there is the setting. One chair may be good for a particular book, but the room and chair don’t feel right for something else. Today, I futzed around wanting to write some blogs in the sunroom/office where I usually write, but nothing flowed. Although the weather is in the sixties and sunny today, I walked into my living room, crawled onto the couch, and lit the fireplace. The mood was set. I started writing and somehow four hours have passed.

Tomorrow, I want to work on a new proposal that has been kicking around in my head. Of course, I have no idea how long it will take me to know it is ready, what music is necessary for it to flow and where I should write it. Do you have any idiosyncrasies when it comes to writing or doing any other things in your home or worklife?

7 replies
  1. Marjorie Brody
    Marjorie Brody says:

    Debra, I face similar struggles with writing and find that music and environment work well–but periodically, I forget to feed my creativity with what it needs to flourish. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Lois Winston
    Lois Winston says:

    Interestingly, I always needed music to write back before I sold my first book. Usually, I’d listen to classical music, jazz, or orchestrations of show tunes, never singing because it was too distracting. For some reason, that changed after I sold my first book and found myself writing to deadlines. All of a sudden, I needed total silence to concentrate.

  3. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    What a great topic! I’m impressed that you’ve found your talismans (talismen?) for writing. I’m one of those writers who needs silence and sameness in my environment. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  4. Mary Lee Ashford
    Mary Lee Ashford says:

    Great topic, Debra! My office is the best spot for me as everything I need is handy. I don’t need total silence but music with lyrics will find me singing along instead of typing along. 🙂 Like you, I wish I could be in the bottom in chair, thousand words a day camp. But for me the story (or the scene) has to roll around in my head for a while. Sending you good thoughts on the new proposal!

  5. Henry Kaye
    Henry Kaye says:

    I always start writing the same way – 2 games of computer solitaire. It clears my mind. Gets rid of the distractions.
    Location? That’s a whole different story. I will most often write in my home office, however, I’ve escaped to one of three different fast food restaurants, my family room, the back porch, various picnic tables at local parks. When I’m wrestling with plot, my favorite spot is near water. The bigger the body of water, the better. It seems that having a large open area to sit and look at allows my mind to open up and explore all sorts of solutions. Fortunately, I live near the beach, so getting away is easy and only takes ten minutes. The key for me is to be flexible with location.

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