Wednesday, April 29, 2009

(It's Time to) Come Out of the Closet!

We writers are an odd breed. We're possessed. We've got mild or wild weird writing habits some might refer to as neurotic (can you say, OCD?). Some of us worship at the alter of preferred pens, best-loved blankets, and particular pillows. Others prefer doors open (me) or closed (Stephen King), a brilliant view of nature vs. no outside light at all, or even facing a certain direction. I once heard of some sad sap in England who felt the need to run around the block three times, kneel down and kiss the ground, and then sing "Ave Maria" at the top of his lungs before he could finally settle in and put pen to paper. We crazy writers not only act as if, but firmly believe, the world will stop spinning if we stray from our "normal" writing routines.

One of my weird but wonderful writerly habits is the Daily 1,000. This sounds like something Jon Stewart made up, but, alas, it was 'lil 'ole me. What is the Daily 1,000 you ask? That's simple. It's writing at least 1,000 words per day on my WIP. I highly recommend it. Sometimes, I replace my Daily 1,000 with time served editing a "finished work" (talk about an oxymoron!), although I try to get in my Daily 1,000 anyway.

I keep a running total and goal word count for my current WIP on a "special" page in my "special" notebook. (That's not neurotic, is it?) Right now I'm about halfway through a cozy mystery (goal word count: 85K), and loving every word of it. If I stay on track,, i.e. keep up with my Daily 1,000, I should be done by mid-June. And, then I get to edit, edit again, edit a hundred more times, and then query. Of course, the Brooklyn DNA coursing through my veins doesn't allow for silly things like "patience," so I'll more than likely jump the gun on querying sooner than recommended by the FDA or CIA or other "professional" organizations claiming to know about such things.

Unless, that is, I've already got me an agent... (Several fab agents are currently reviewing my work - please keep fingers, toes and all other viable parts crossed.)

So, folks, it's time to make like Doogie Howser and come out of the closet! What are some of your Peculiar Practices? Resolute Routines? Devilish Drills? What are your mild or wild weird writing habits?

43 comments:

Indigo said...

It's not really odd per say, but when I finally decided to write that elusive book I brought a new desk. Not just any desk. One of the old antique fold down ones. My reasoning was it would only be used to write at. I wanted to put myself on a schedule, so the idea was while the desk was open that was my writing time. After so many hours, I close up the desk and it puts me in a different frame of mind away from the book. Otherwise I would drive myself insane and my house would probably either flood, catch on fire or self destruct from neglect. (Hugs)Indigo

Lynnette Labelle said...

Two agents? That's great! Maybe you'll get to decide who you want in the end. Keep us informed.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

Kasie West said...

Weird? Crazy? Hmm. I don't even think of those kinds of words when referring to myself. I am perfectly sane and/or normal and/or average. Having to write in the same (now broken, but I refuse to admit it is because it is very lucky and inspiring) chair everyday isn't odd. Having to have the blinds drawn and the lights off is fine too. Not leaving the house for days on end is something everybody does. I am the picture of normalcy.

Jenna said...

Oh, dear. I can't read this without posting my crazy writing habits. So here it is, for all the world to see. Time for me to embarass myself.

I say everything out loud as I type it. I know a lot of people who do this, but I...well, I read each part in a different voice.

And more than once I've done it in the middle of a large crowd. Without realizing it. Once I did it in the middle of math class. While the teacher was in the middle of a lesson.
Thankfully she understood and didn't write me up. :D

My only other real writing ritual type thing is that I HAVE to be in my office, at my desk, with my stereo playing either my book playlist or classical music. I can't get any work done otherwise.

Kathleen Marie said...

Not really weird or crazy but when I feel "inspired" to write a poem or work on my book I write on anything handy, then transfer the info to the computer. I also write better late at night. During the day there are too many distractions. Old habits I guess, die hard.

WendyCinNYC said...

When I sit down to write, I like to have a cup of tea at the ready (Green, with honey or English B'fast with milk and sugar, depending.) That's ideal.

But I've found recently that I can write in just about any circumstance. I can write while I wait for my kids to finish fencing/swimming/tennis/whatever. I can write on planes. I can write sitting in the park. I can write it in a house, I can write it with a mouse. I can write it in a box, I can write it with a fox.

Litgirl01 said...

You crackameupa! That's "you crack me up" in Italian. :-D Seriously...good luck with 1,000 words!

Amy Sue Nathan said...

Strangely, I'm incredibly patient. Maybe that's why I amble along with my manuscript tweaking slowly and methodically instead of a rampant amazing gallop like someone else I know! ;-)

valbrussell said...

Music. Candy. Coffee. In that order. Oh, I've got a publisher and it isn't April fools day. :)

Not The Rockefellers said...

I can't have anyone looking over my shoulder.

I must have coffee in my green mug.

I work better with the noise of the dishwasher in the background.

I write between 7-10, it's the only time I get and it's not without interruptions.

I kind of blast through the rough draft ( brain purge ) and tighten up later.

A have a random file of little tid-bits, twinkles of imagination and snippets of conversations. I write them down on little strips of paper and I keep them in a cookie tin. I got this idea from Gilmore Girls.

I loove Jon Stewart-and that grey hair- Meoooow!

Peace - Rene

Good Luck!

DebraLSchubert said...

Indigo, First of all, roll-top desks are the bomb. They are the coolest of the cool. Secondly, I love your idea of desk open = writing, desk closed = not writing. Plus, you really don't want to lose your house in a fire or flood. Nope, that would not be good.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Lynette, Three, actually. Like I said, body parts crossed. (It's getting kind of hard to walk these days...!)

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, I knew you wouldn't be able to relate to this post at all since you are, without a doubt, the most "normal" person I "know." Sorry to have wasted your time. I promise next time to write about bland, milk-toast, very normal things. Then you'll fit right in.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Jenna, Thanks for spilling your guts in front of the world - you're a trouper! I love that you read each part in a different voice! Ha! You should record that and post it on your blog. That would be fun to see! ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Kathleen Marie, What a gorgeous name! I'm a late-night girl, too, (that's the musician in me) although I try to write during the day when the kids are in school and my honey's at work. Thanks for stopping by - I hope to see you again soon!

Big Plain V said...

I've got to be really drunk to get any writing done.

Just kidding. I only said that because it's way more interesting than my real writing habits. I just sit on the couch and do it.

DebraLSchubert said...

Wendy, In a house? With a mouse? In a box? With a fox? Brilliant. Positively freaking brilliant.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Traci, I luva-ayootoo. That's Italian for I love you, too!

DebraLSchubert said...

Amy, Tweak along happily, my friend.

"instead of a rampant amazing gallop like someone else I know!" Hey! I resemble that remark! (Kisses, D)

DebraLSchubert said...

Val, Publisher? What? YAY! Do tell!!!!!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Rene, You're a freak! Kidding. I love all your writerly quirks - they make you all the more interesting. I love the cookie tin idea. Of course, I love anything remotely related to cookies. And, yeah, Jon Stewart is a rock star.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Ray, I always knew you were a closet drunk. That's one of the things I like about you. The couch, huh? Sexy.

Kelly said...

Can I just say I LOVE Neil Patrick Harris? His character Barney on How I Met Your Mother is (in his words) awe-some!
But to my writing habits...I'm slouched on the couch with my pencil and notebook or laptop.

DebraLSchubert said...

Kelly, I couldn't agree with you more. Neil Patrick Harris TOTALLY rocks. And, Kelly - no slouching!!

Rebecca Anne said...

Ahh, come out of the closet? Fess up my many quirks and oddities? Do you have all day? (smile)
My desk must be clean. MUST. Oh, and the space to the left and to the right. If not, my eye's will zone in on said messiness and I'm toasted. Other issues. Must have perfect pen. Must have specific paper. Must have diet coke and glass of water. THis list could go on and on.
Above all......I MUST have music on or my mind will go INSANE. At least thats how it feels.
Rebecca
P.S. I've got all my toes and fingers and good vibes crossed during your agent reviews!!

Pen Pen said...

I started writing on a couch with the tv on something I'm not interested in watching on a low volume. It's become a problem in the last few months cuz I moved back into my parents house while I transition to a new job. They are being very generous to let me stay here for free and I am so thankful cuz jason and I can save that money for our wedding--I usually write at night when they are all asleep, but last night, my mom and sister were up till very late. They started talking in the kitchen and I kept losing what I was saying in my writing. I got ansy and asked them to talk quieter. Then--They started talking like 20 more times and I kind of blew up. I yelled, and even I was SHOCKED! I'm a passive person and avoid confrontation.
I had to apologize today cuz I felt so bad--but now I DO know that the houses Jason and I look at need to have a "writing romm" far from the kitchen/loud areas.
I'm a writer on the edge!!!

Anita said...

I have to have the breakfast dishes washed before I start writing.

DebraLSchubert said...

Rebecca, I knew you were a neat freak. I'm the same way. I like having an uncluttered space. Being a musician, I can't have music on because, if it is, I can only concentrate on the music, not my writing. Diet Coke and water? Interesting. And thanks for the crossed body parts.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Pen Pen, Your parents are awesome. Mine did the same thing for Chuck and I back in the day. We lived with them and saved enough money for a down payment on our first house, which we moved into a month before our wedding. And a writing room away from the fray? Brilliant idea!

DebraLSchubert said...

Anita, Hah! My breakfast dishes consist of putting my Slim Fast Shake can away in the recycle bin!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Besides a never-ending coffee pot going, I'm not too quirky. But I DO spend too much time playing in Blogland. :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Angie, RE: Playing in blogland, you and me both, baby! It's a hard habit to break, especially when there are so many gifted writers out there. You want to read everyone's blogs, but then you're not writing. It's an evil, vicious cycle.;-)

Beth said...

Sending you good vibes for the agents...!

David said...

I have always tried to keep my writing simple. My posts must be read in 30 seconds or less. I try to never criticize, condemn or complain....all very much like the rest of my life.

DebraLSchubert said...

Beth, Thank you, my friend. I need all the good vibes I can get!;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

David, You're a good man. I bet your life is a calm and happy one. Good for you!

Vivi Alden said...

Since I have to cram my writing in around raising my three year old, my standards are pretty low. I can write standing in the kitchen while I'm making lunch, sitting oh the floor of the bathroom at bath time. Basically, if I'm awake and howler monkeys aren't attacking my head, I can write. But I actually look forward to the days where I actually have time to develop quirks. The only real one I have now is that if I'm sitting, I take my socks off so I can fiddle with my toes while pondering plot points/characters, etc.

And I have EVERYTHING crossed for you with those two agents!!! That's so exciting!

DebraLSchubert said...

Vivi, I hate when those damn howler monkeys attack your head. It's so much harder to concentrate. A three-year-old? What's so distracting about that? I'm glad I miraculously made it through my kids being little. (And, believe me, it was nothing short of a miracle!) Having teenagers is so much easier... Thanks for the support. I NEED IT!!!!

Debbie said...

That sounds like a wonderfully disciplined practice. Good for you.

DebraLSchubert said...

Debbie, "Wonderfully disciplined" - Love it! I'm sending your comment to my mom.

Lilly said...

I keep lots of notebooks for various things. I can write anywhere as long as I have a notebook. I store lots things in these notebooks such as interesting things out of magazines, a clever expression I hear in conversations or on TV, fabric even. And invariably I never go back and use them. The best writing always comes from your own stories. It is the most authentic thing you can give others. I do not see myself as a writer per se but spend time generating ideas more than anything else. Its all fun, regardless isnt it.

And I am so excited that you have have 3 publishers on the go. It will happen you know and I cannot wait to get an autographed copy - put me down on the list already. Here is one buyer here!

DebraLSchubert said...

Lilly, Notebooks, huh? Good for you. You are more of a writer than you think, my dear. Have you ready your posts lately?

And, I promise an autographed copy of all my novels as soon as they're available somewhere other than on my laptop.;-)

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