Writing Quirks and Rituals

I am a heavy coffee drinker. I can write anywhere, and even write while listening to the radio or watching tv. All that I need is to feel comfortable, have a beautiful notebook (I collect them) and, if possible, a colored pen. Or several. However, so as to ease my writing at-home sessions (essential when you are a storyteller by trade) I decided to have my own corner, with my writing-only table, my computer, my music, my dictionaries and books on the topic.

When I am writing an e-mail, either professional or personal, I do it directly and straight on, as thoughts come to my mind. Then I re-read myself, add some personal touch, refrain for being too blunt if necessary, and do some reorder before sending. It takes me between 30 seconds and 20 minutes. I also do this kind of quick writing for press releases or web articles.

When I am writing poetry or stories, I cannot be so cold. At first, I am nervous and unable to face the keyboard. So I visualize the story, even “dream” of it, do some research and then start in my notebook, counting syllables or drafting facts and characters on paper. Then, I go to the PC so as to start pouring on the entire story, until the end if it is short (one poem or one page or two) or until I am too tired. If it is longer, I leave it sleeping for a couple of days before retaking it so as the same process starts again. in the coming weeks I’ll share my Nanowrimo experience.

For academic and professional writing (articles or policy positions), the process is similar, adding deadlines and third opinions to the equation. I start by researching and reading on the subject, talking to stakeholders, or even re-reading myself. Then I go for an outline, as complete as possible. Then I send it for revision and peer review, buying myself some time far away from the text. Once revisions have come, I do my own revision and re-drafting and editing. 

For blogging I use a mix of all these methods, depending on the subject, the public, the timeframe, etc…

My preferred moment is pre-drafting. When I am trying to gather all the elements and my mind starts analyzing and exploring. Mindmapping I feel happy and strong.

Do you write? Why? And which of these methods would suit you better?

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