January 12, 2012

Are You A Quirky Writer?

Stephen King writes just ten pages a day, every day, always in the morning. Maya Angelou prefers writing in hotels instead of at home, and she asks the hotel staff to remove everything from the walls of her room. Thomas Wolfe used the top of his refrigerator as a writing desk (he was a very tall man). And Edgar Allan Poe enjoyed writing with his cat, Cleopatra, on his shoulder.

Most writers are a bit eccentric. We have our quirks. So, I’ll share some of mine with you, if you’ll share some of yours with me.

The Top Ten Reasons Why I'm A Quirky Writer

1. I don’t like paper. Paper becomes clutter, and clutter distracts me.

2. I hate writing anything by hand. I procrastinate like crazy whenever I have to use penmanship.

3. When it's nice outside, I prefer to write in my car in a parking lot at the beach.

4. Writing doesn't feel right without a cat sleeping nearby. (I have two. Neither sleeps on my shoulder.)

5. Some of my best inspiration for dialogue and character development comes from reality shows. (The Duggers and Roloffs for happy family inspiration, The Real Housewives of [fill in the city] for utter chaos and dysfunction.)

6. Classical music helps me to concentrate when I write educational nonfiction. It transports me back to my days at the university and academia.

7. I prefer a laptop computer to a desktop. For me a laptop equals freedom. I don’t like being tethered to a desk.

8. I need to write in isolation and complete quiet. Even little noises bother me. I prefer to write late at night while the world sleeps.

9. Coffee. Coffee is very important when I write, but not just any old coffee. I fill a 16- ounce travel mug with a flavored latte that I make myself, or if it's summer I make a flavored iced latte. I sip on that for hours.

10. I have unusual objects in my writing space. There’s a six-foot artificial alpine tree with white lights in my home office and a jackalope head on the wall. (I rescued him from a thrift shop, and I like to dress him up for holidays). Near my desk, I have a wonderful, ugly-face, kitchen match holder that belonged to my grandma (I store large paperclips in it, which I never use because I hate paper.)

So there you have it. I’ve shared some of my silly writing quirks with you.

What are some of yours?


Vicki @Light for the Creative Soul said...

Hi Jean! I love this! Wonderful post. I'm trying desperately to pour out the words, only to get a drip, drip, drip of thoughts for my blog lately:-) But you've inspired me this morning.

We happened to visit the home of Thomas Wolfe last year and it was a marvelous stroll through the history of his life :-)

I do agree, we writers can be eccentric. I, too, prefer the freedom of a laptop, hate writing by hand, and need to write in complete quiet :-) I found your list intriguing ... and fun.

My most peculiar writing habit is checking email when I get stuck...lol...hope to stop that this year. It's a terrible side-tracker that can suck me into the cyber vortex if I'm not careful.


jean Fischer said...

Hi, Vicki.

Oh, I know about those cyber vortexes. When I get stuck, I get sucked into Facebook.


Karen Lange said...

I too, prefer a laptop; it does equal freedom! I prefer quiet, but can work with a small level of background noise. It just depends on what I am writing. As for writing longhand, I used to all the time and then type it up. Now it feels strange to do that (other than personal correspondence). Fun post, Jean, good to learn more about you!

Have a good weekend!

Jean said...

Hi, Karen.

I even resist writing personal correspondence longhand. As a result, my handwriting has suffered. I should practice cursive writing :-) Thanks for stopping by.

quietspirit said...

I write my first drafts on my NEO-portable word processor. My current project-an Easter drama- started out in long hand, then went to my NEO, then to my computer.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

Great list!

Like you, I need quiet when I write. My desktop is my preferred tool. While, I don't generally like to write by hand, I do journal, and scribble notes everywhere. Post-its are scattered throughout my work area.

If I think of something important, I write it down or I'll forget. Oh...and having chocolate nearby is almost mandatory.

Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, I love your list, Jean! I need quiet, too, and h.a.t.e. to be interrupted!!! I always have water at my desk, but sometimes get so wrapped up in writing that I drink it down, then don't want to leave my desk to refill it.

Jean said...

Hi, Jeanette.

I do the same thing with water. I sometimes have a pitcher of it near my workspace, so I can refill as needed. For me, nonfiction requires more water than fiction :-)

Jean said...

Quietspirit, I salute you for writing longhand :-)


Jean said...


I love the idea of having chocolate nearby. I may have to borrow that quirk from you.


Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

Hi Jean! I love your post! I, too, prefer a laptop! It's just easier for me to sit in an easy chair, relax and write as opposed to sitting in an office chair and staring at a big screen. Not relaxing!

I used to have to hand write everything, then type, then go sit in the easy chair to edit, then go back to the computer to tweak. Now, I have a hard time hand writing letters to friends.

I had to learn to write with noise around, but there are times when I Just Can't Do It! Then I hide out with the laptop!