Blog Squadron – Mission #4: Writing Process, Quirks, & Routines

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Alright, class, your blog topic for the day is “Star Wars;” now, sit down at your computer and write a one-take final draft while staying perfectly silent – it’s due at the end of this blog post. You may begin…now! So, yeah, that’s basically how it’s done. Go ahead and get started! Okay, not really. Blogging, like any writing process, isn’t a cut and dry, black and white thing that you can simply condense down to a dull, sanitized singular activity. Writing is different things for different people. In this mission, the Blog Squadron shed a little light on their writing process, quirks, and routines. Enjoy:

Blogmatis Personæ –

8. What does your writing process look like? Do you have any particular quirks you follow while writing (e.g. listening to music, needing quiet, etc.)?

Matt: I generally have to have a pretty quiet space. I’ll occasionally try to listen to Star Wars music as I write because I think “How freaking’ perfect would that be!” I’m just not as productive when I try that though. I get too into the music and too out of the writing.

Stardust: In my real world job I can multitask like a boss (Emergency Nurse, FTW!) but when it comes to creative pursuits, I find I work best with no outside distractions. No background TV or music, nothing like that. Even trying to write in a lovely outdoor space, such as a garden, upsets my writing balance because the feel of the sun on my skin or the music of the birds in the trees draws me into the natural world and away from my mental desk.

Patty: One of my quirks is that I am not a professional writer. I write casually and I am not always consistent with my writing style. Since I am a casual writer, I am always learning and growing in my writing.

Bryan: I really don’t have any…maybe that is my quirk? I’m like a writing hipster or something…? I don’t know, I guess I’m just boring. I don’t use an old DOS-based word processor or whatever like George Two Middle Names Martin, I just sit down and write.

Sophie: If I’m out and about then coffee shops are great because they have enough background noise that you don’t feel like you are typing in a tomb but it’s not too distractingly noisy either. I don’t like total silence when I am writing, but I’m also not good listening to songs with any words in otherwise I just find myself typing the lyrics! Therefore soundtracks are the best for me and, when writing Star Wars, it makes complete sense to draft to Star Wars music! Generally the music will reflect the tone of the piece I am writing so, if I’m getting all mushy for the Ersos, then ‘Your father would be proud’ is the backing music. If I’m writing something Sithy, then I’ll take all the ‘Duel of the Fates’ I can get!

Johnamarie: Despite my love-hate relationship with New York City, I find that I write best when I’m in the train going to and from work. There’s something about the train car rocking from side to side and the muffled sound of the train speeding along that somehow affects my writing in a positive way, so I’ve incorporated that routine as part of my writing process. I also find it easier to type on my phone than on my computer, but I think that’s mostly because there’s no cell reception in the subway tunnels, so there are less distractions from Twitter and other social media platforms. Another practice of mine involves listening to Celtic music. That really gives me the energy I need to write down what I have in my head.

Saf: I tend to draft either at home or in cafes, depending on how much I’m wanting a coffee on any given day. My process is notebook/brainstorm > braindump type-up > revision > editing > post. I use my notebook for everything I do creatively, so I tend to write a messy draft/bulletpoint list up first with pen and paper to structure my thoughts, then go from there. I also write up first drafts in Google Docs then copy it over into WordPress. I’m a messy planner, so I don’t usually like showing first drafts to anyone. Just know they are really messy, and generally involve a lot of swearing. I also listen to music a lot while writing, and if I really need to focus I’ll put on some Bach or find a classical music playlist.

9. Do you follow any particular routine, example writing for an hour every day or on a certain day of the week?

Matt: Apparently, when it comes to writing “I rebel.” I don’t follow any type of routine. I’ll generally write whenever I have time, so that’s most oftentimes during the weekend, but I’ll sometimes write as I’m putting my daughter to bed if I’m super pumped about an idea. The rhythmic tapping of the keys soothes her to sleep.

Stardust: This question brings out my tendency to start my list of “shoulds”: I should write for an hour a day, I should keep a notebook where I can write when the ideas pop into my head, I should give myself a topic and make myself sit down and write. Sorry, I got triggered for a second! No, I do not have a writing routine but it is something I am very interested in developing (*twitches*).

Patty: Since I am a casual writer, I do not have a set schedule. I usually write down my notes using my iPhone when ideas occur to me while I am not at home, I usually create my articles and interview questions using my iPad and only use a PC to help with editing and image manipulation.

Bryan: By default because it’s comic book day, I write every Wednesday. Depending on how many books there are to dive into, I may or may not get the entire post finished in one sitting. For “regular” posts, I usually come up with the idea and take a lot of time to think on it, perhaps doing research if it’s warranted. After that, I usually sit down and try to get an entire draft out in one sitting. From there, I’ll do a rewrite or two where I flesh out ideas, rework entire sections, you know, standard editing stuff. Hopefully by the end it comes out as a well-thought piece…I succeed about 50% of the time, on average, I’d say…

Sophie: I have absolutely no routine! Life is hectic so I just slot blogging in to those rare islands of peace that are occasionally to be found!

Johnamarie: I know writers recommend writing every day and making a consistent routine out of it, but honestly, I write when my mood calls for it. Sometimes, I don’t want to write, and the last thing I want to do is force myself to write and make it feel like it’s a second job. That takes the joy out of it for me. Earlier I mentioned that I like to write during my train trips, but even then, those aren’t consistent. There are times when I just want to close my eyes and nod off or just listen to music. My digital notepad will be there waiting for me when the urge to write finally presents itself.

Saf: I wish! I’m terrible at routines, as much as I try. I usually write for fun stuff in the evenings, so I can kind of chill out a little while I do it. Like I said before, I write for my job, so I don’t want to burn myself out on something meant to be fun. I also work freelance, so it’s hard to predict exactly when or where I’ll have the free time to blog. I do tend to schedule days out for certain writing tasks though, which I use my handy-dandy bullet journal—the love of my life—for.

Because of my ADHD, I know that once I start writing something fun, I’ll hyperfocus on it and lose however many hours it takes to finish the post. This means I have to be careful with blogging, and not schedule time for it before anything else I need to finish. I’ll write the entire post in one sitting almost every time, so it’s something I always need to be conscious of when scheduling out writing (as much as I can, at least).

My favourite time to write is Saturday morning, but that tends to get relegated to my fiction writing. C’est la vie!

Fin.

Alright, hopefully now that you’ve seen that we’re all frauds (only kidding), you’ll be inspired to start doing some writing of your own. As I think we’ve all shown in our own way, it doesn’t take a perfected process, a stringent routine, or any kind of specific eccentricity, it basically takes a desire and a little time to nurture it – if you have both of those things, then I reckon you’re well on your way to becoming a blogger yourself.

If you missed the earlier missions in this campaign, you can find the first one here and go from there, or search #BlogSquadron on Twitter.

And be sure to catch the next mission tomorrow on The Wookiee Gunner.

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