How We Write…

As writers, How We Write is a personal experience. How we approach our writing, our methods, interests and writing topics will vary. 

All these considerations, conscious or otherwise, are there even before we sit down.

Writers will have their own routines before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. We might start with a drink of coffee (or tea) go for a stroll, tidy the house, have a cycle, practise some yoga or simply just roll out of bed. Variety is, after all, the spice of life. Eventually we get there. Writing is a discipline and I know I struggle sometimes but we find a way that works.

So, How do I Write?

I am lucky to have my own desk and area to write in. I have written in many places, from parks, coffee shops, back seat of a car, even sat on the bed and in the garden. I try to go to my home office (spare bedroom…I’m lucky) each day, with a cup of coffee in hand (always the best way to start a day). I like everything near to me; piles of books that are current to my investigations, a pad and pen to the side of me and quietly in the background, some music. I find the background music has to be instrumental or else the lyrics mysteriously appear in my script!

To get everything flooding out I write my stories and thoughts out by hand. I do not think about my spelling, grammar, repeated words or structure. In fact, it can be quite a mess. The next bit is harder as I then have to decipher my handwriting and type it all up. This is done in stages. I have tried to put things down straight onto the computer but I find it stiffles my flow of creativity.

How I Write; Research

On my computer there will be a rough ‘story board’ that I will add to and flesh out as I collect my research material.

I research a myriad of topics around a thread that I’d like to build into my story. I find an obscure fact and delve headlong into this…all the time thinking how this could interact with the characters and the plot. I double check the details I want to use and make sure the names of an organisation are correctly used for the historical period. This sense of discovery and creating a story gives me a real buzz and inspiration to write on.

There are many avenues to follow when researching your topic.

It has been known, even though I thought I’d finished a manuscript, I’d find myself scribbling in the office at five in the morning adding an extra detail or even a last chapter.

It will be many manuscripts later that the book becomes polished and finished. But is it finished until readers have seen it?

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