Back to Basics

I think it’s easy to lose sight of which methods work for you as a writer and which don’t.  Everyone has a particular way of writing, a certain way of doing things when approaching a project, and sometimes you can forget that.

Ben Franklin, I’ve heard, did his best writing in the bathtub.  I don’t, and I don’t use a quill and ink either.  I’ve always been a computer writer – I just feel more at ease typing, and it’s faster for me as well – and I find that my words come out best with loud music playing.  There are only ten bands that I listen to when I write: AC/DC, Aerosmith, Alice in Chains, Eagles of Death Metal, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Motley Crue, Nirvana, The Offspring, and The White Stripes.  Music has such a profound impact on a writer’s productivity that most of us pay almost no attention to, but it’s there.  When I want to crank out a few thousand words, these guys help like no other.  I don’t know why.  They’re just my bathtub.

Now, if the myth is true, imagine Franklin writing out of the tub.  I realized this week that I tried to balance writing with family time, taking my laptop with me when I hang out with my parents or my siblings.  And because I want to be polite, I usually go without the music.  Big mistake.  It’s a mistake because now I’m more focused on carrying conversation in quiet.  I’m not that kind of writer.  I’m a writer who needs to be locked up and screaming “Girls!  Girls!  Girls!” along with Vince Neil.

If you feel like you’ve lost some of your steam, then maybe it would do you good to take a moment or two and reflect on what gets you writing like a madman.  And if you are a writer who works best alone, don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know that you need that alone time.  They’ll understand.  If they don’t, turn the table on them and demand that they try writing your book.  That tends to shut people up.

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