May
2010

Writing Quirks

I like the feel of a good keyboard under my fingertips. If the keyboard doesn’t feel right to my fingers as I put word to screen, my hands seem to cramp up. I know the cramps are all in my mind, but just shaking my fingers about while mouthing a funny noise does tend to make me feel better. This didn’t always used to be a problem for me. I only really noticed it since starting in the ICM program.

I love my keyboard at work. The buttons have a good give to them, but not too hard. The thing is though, I hate writing at work, mostly because I hate my work computer. I am a Mac guy and my work computer is a PC. I love writing on a Mac, not sure why though. Is it the dream that my writing will be better if performed on a Mac? I don’t know. I also can’t concentrate at work. Even the stories I write for work, I need to do at home. Between the noise of my co-workers and someone always needing me for some reason, I just can’t focus at work. As soon as I have a good thought, BOOM, someone interrupts me with some kind of crisis.

Back to my Mac though, I am writing this on my laptop. I love the laptop, I got it because of the ICM program. Before this I have always had iMacs. I have one in my closet and the other in my home office. I love my iMac, but I hate the keyboard. The buttons are too hard and they don’t respond well or quick enough. I am going to buy a new keyboard this summer, I have just decided.

The Mac has always had a simple little program called “text.” I love Text. It is a simple no-nonsense program that I do all my writing on. I have no idea what makes me love it so, but I do.

I like to have peace and quiet when I write. I need to be alone with my thoughts. Things like the wind blowing through an open window, or the leaves bouncing around in the front yard, I have no problem with. The radio blasting, or someone trying to talk to me while I write, leaves me frustrated and very cranky.

I also need to have a comfortable chair and the temperature needs to be just right. If I find myself too fidgety, I can’t get into gear to write well, if at all. I also find myself looking around a lot. I will stop… look up, and then continue. So I like to be in a room with a view or at least have some kind of visuals around me. Even a nice desktop picture will do the trick in inspiring me.

Sometimes I just close my eyes and silence my mind in order to let a phrase or word come to me. I often have a lot of trouble finding the right words to express myself in just the right way, so taking a moment to reflect is key. I usually have a lot to say, but find the trouble of typing it all out is far too time consuming. So many times I have wanted to just dictate words to screen, never works though.

If I find my mind has too many thoughts streaming together at once, I step away from the computer for a moment and go have a glass of milk or something.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I will wake up in the middle of the night, or have trouble falling asleep, because I have just thought of a great line or paragraph that I want to use. So I get up, fire up the computer, and bang out those words real quick, and before I know it, I have written far more than I had intended to at 2am. I have tried to ignore those urges, but come morning, I find myself never remembering what I was trying to say.

I have a horrible time with run-on sentences, and often try to use fragments too much. I am bad at grammar, and try too often to use words that I don’t fully understand.

So those are my writing quirks. Other than running my fingers through my hair, to help me think, or sometimes craving very specific tea, that is how I manage to write.