Ways and Whys of Writing

This was exactly what I needed tonight – an invitation to write about something so completely opposite from everything else that’s been on my mind of late – strikes in Paris, home invasions, frail elderly parents – an opportunity to just think about something I do for me and wallow in a few minutes of geekiness about it.

I was enjoying Melissa’s blog post earlier today about the “ways and whys” of her writing life.  Her post led to me here, to the post that inspired her and a to a blog I think I could quickly come to love.  I shouldn’t be surprised, because its author is the editor of one my favorite e-zines, All Things Girl.  While wandering through her archives, I realize she and I think a lot alike on a number of topics.

But back to her invitation…”Because people fascinate me,” she writes,  I am curious about other writers. How do they maintain the discipline?  Where is their best place to write?  When are they most creative?”

Oh yes, the writing life.  It’s been getting short shrift around here, mostly because of those afore-mentioned preoccupations.  I recall a time when I came to the page each morning with the same regularity that I set the coffee brewing and opened the back door to let the dogs out.  Life has been fragmented lately, and writing always finds its way to the back burner when that happens.

I’m a morning writer.  My morning ritual starts with strong coffee and reading…immersing myself in the words of good writers helps jumpstart my creative process.  A few years ago, I was deeply committed to morning pages, three pages of handwritten, stream of consciousness style writing, which I found extremely helpful in keeping my own muse satisfied.  Alas, I’ve fallen out of that habit – or rather, it’s been supplanted by morning exercise, which is good for me in an entirely different, but no less important way.  I have a drawer in my desk filled with spiral notebooks from the Dollar Store (34 in all, about one a month), which contain almost three years worth of  morning ramblings from a middle aged woman.

Most of my writing is digital – I work on a MacBook Pro at home and on an old Gateway desktop (circa 2000!) at my office (where I write medical reports for insurance companies and attorneys).   I love paper and pen writing  – but my handwriting has become atrocious over the past few years, especially when I’m trying to write fast enough to keep up with my thought process.  More than once I’ve scribbled so frantically in hopes of capturing every idea that I’ve been unable to read it later.  When I write manually, I usually work best with a cheap Paper Mate pen, and a one-subject, wide ruled, spiral bound notebook.

Sometimes (like tonight) I’ll get a second wind, and find myself writing late in the evening before bed.  A late night check of e-mail and social media occasionally inspires me, and I’ll find myself tearing off a blog post or starting a new story or essay.

I’m fortunate to have a “room of my own” for writing.  It was once my son’s bedroom, but when he grew up and moved away, it became my place to retreat for quiet reading, writing, and resting.  I have a desk, and a big easy chair with matching ottoman, where one or two dogs are usually curled up sleeping when I write.  Right now, I’m using a gorgeous wooden lap desk that my husband bought me a while back (one of those “just because” presents that are SO meaningful).

So there you have the “ways” of writing.  As for the “whys” – writing has always been the way I made sense of Life in General and My Own in Particular.  It’s a way to tell my side of the story.  Because I think every one has a story worth telling, and that we each learn and are enriched when we share those stories with one another.

How about you?  What are the ways and whys of your writing life?

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6 thoughts on “Ways and Whys of Writing

  1. I really liked your post and your writing! I also love writing and this summer I started my own book review blog because more than writing I love reading! The problem about writing for me is that I am not an English native speaker. My native language is German but I am somewhat bored from German and definitely prefer the English language. Thus, my blog ended up being in English. Unfortunately, my English writing skills are not the best! I live in the UK now for a year and my skills have enhanced but I still feel that it sounds a bit boring. Is there anybody able to give me tips about how to improve it? I was already thinking of taking writing classes but I have not put further research into that so far. What do you think?

    • I think your writing is very good! One way to improve is to keep reading good contemporary literature in English and keep writing your blog in English.
      Since you’re writing about books, you’ve already got the perfect combination 🙂

      Thanks for visiting me here… I have a book review blog too, at http://ravenousreader.wordpress.com

  2. Thanks for the compliment! I am trying my very best to improve it and that is as well the reason why I am writing my book blog in English. I honestly enjoy writing and sharing my opinions about the books I am reading with others.

    Also thanks for the link to your book blog! I definitely stop by and read your reviews!

  3. I hope you arrived well in France!! Enjoy it

    I blog but don’t consider myself a writer at all and I’m not attempted to do “writing exercises” or work on my style or search an effective writing process. I simply blog because I like to share what’s going on in my life and what I’ve been up to or what is occupying my mind.
    Sometimes that’s structured, sometimes it’s long & wordy, sometimes it’s only pictures, sometimes there’s a lot of posts in a short time, other times I’m more silent. That’s ok, because that’s what my life is.
    But I do feel the need to share and I always hope that some people will be interested in my life and enjoy some of my stories/pictures.

  4. I don’t call myself a writer, either, but I love to write…I love words, metaphor; investigating sounds and meanings – the beauty of language.

    My time to write is in the evening, but that is out of necessity – mornings and afternoons are spent either getting reading for or walking to work or doing the job itself.

    However, I think about subjects all the time – what would appeal to me: like shopping in a particularly fascinating store. And finally a line or a pairing of words will set me off…and the writing will begin.

    So…my writing is very unstructured indeed!

  5. This reminds me of the times so long ago when you coordinated Write on Wednesday and you had us think about questions like this all the time. I was wonderful “practice,” knowing I didn’t just have to WRITE but to THINK about what I was writing at least one day a week! (I used to do the morning pages too — yes, what DID happen.)

    I write now at the computer, simply because it’s faster and it’s there. And one day, maybe even now, I miss those handwritten pages.

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