Tuesday, December 22, 2009

15. The best hours to write

Everyday, I spend a couple of hours reading manuals about the world of writing. I hope that expression sums it all up: techniques, grammar, advices, commercial VS literary, other authors, editors, agents, publishers, readers... I'm an addict for knowledge about the things that are driving me the most on each moment of my life.

After reading all the advices and techniques, I like to test them and eventually make them into my own advices to myself, and stick to what works.

Many of us, when we start our first novel, like to know how our favorite authors found their inspiration and most of all, when do they write, for how long at a time and even where. The reality is that each author discovered his/hers own method, usually is very specific (or not at all) and works exclusively with them.

I read a lot of advices stating we should write first thing in the morning, because it's when we are 'fresh' and full of energy. I've tried that. Nothing came out. The screen remained white because everything I wrote made me furious or depressed and wondering if writing was really for me.

Then I read an improvement to that first advice: go outside first, walk a bit, then write. Yes, I wrote. Nothing relevant to the story I really wanted to tell tough. So it got deleted again.

Since then, I've read about authors that only write every 2nd or 3rd day, between which they continue their daily life always thinking about their plot in their minds. I discovered I do that, I'm constantly thinking about new actions and new dialogues. My characters seem to be living inside my head, growing while I get to know them better and better. However, if I spend 2 or 3 days without writing something meaningful, I get a bit lost and my confidence drops.

I've also read about authors that write during lunch time, others after lunch, other in the middle of the afternoon, or at dinner, or after dinner, lots before bed, many wake up and write or don't even have a specific time to sleep and few writers that don't have a specific time to write. All of these authors, whatever the hour, do the most important thing in their career: write in the timeline that works for them.

So, after more than a month writing and testing myself, I've discovered my method:
I wake up and watch TV for an hour, sometimes two. Yes, TV it's the devil for some, but people inspire me everywhere, so those 2 hours-a-day boost me up.
During the rest of the morning I read manuals on creative writing, stop to do some household chores, sometimes outside, read more pages of another manual, stop for more chores, surf the web to read a couple of blog entries or sites about writing, stop to lunch, clean a bit more and starting from 14h30 (usually) I sit and start working on my novel.

Usually I write until my husband gets home, and that varies, but usually he arrives around 18h30/19h00.

At night, before I go to sleep, I like to relax and read any book I find entertaining, good written and inspiring.I strongly believe we should never stop being readers, first of all. At the moment, my lullaby has been "The Host", by Stephenie Meyer.

So while there's really no specific hour that we all should choose to write, scientifically proven to be the best performance time line, there's certainly a specific period of the day that works better for each one of us and it's as individualized as we all are, as complex human beings.

Vanessa Condez, Note to self: Humanize.
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