Certain conditions need to be met for me to write creatively. I need a comfortable chair, an ergonomic keyboard and a certain angle for my computer screen. I usually write on my desktop but can write on my laptop, provided I have a comfortable angle to see my screen.
Proper ergonomics are critical to me to write.
I also need silence and long periods of uninterrupted time to write. I stand in awe of authors who write books on their phones in ten- and fifteen-minute sprints, occasionally raising their gazes to cheer on their children during soccer practice or who scribble lines down while waiting for the bus.
I, however, cannot write under such conditions.
I can plot anywhere. I have hundreds of blank notebooks (from a specific series of notebooks I don’t want to go wild here and just any notebook) in a cupboard. I have raided Dollaramas and bought every single copy of these notebooks. I have, in a panic, called up several Dollaramas to ensure that the SKUs were available. I was the only person in history to contact five stores in one day to ensure they had stock. Dutiful and pleasant staff stashed away these notebooks (not other plain-Jane notebooks) for me to buy. These notebooks have been stocked for over ten years, but I still need to pick up a few every time I drive past/ Covid, supply chain issues, geopolitical issues, zombie apocalypse—whatever crisis befalls the world next. I must have more of these notebooks, even if recent versions have altered the colour schemes of the patterns. After all, I have one 86-book series plotted (see the one with stickies) and several dozen others to plot. I scribble notes, and I jot down conflicts. I work through impasses in these notebooks. These notebooks (see photo) are critical to my writing process.
Respect the process. Always.
I can take any of those notebooks (each colour/style corresponds to a genre, but that’s another blog post) into any coffee shop, hotel restaurant, airport, train dining car or bar. I’ll sit for hours, share a table with anyone who is quiet, and plot.
Plotting is different from writing. Plotting is stringing together fragments of thoughts, sequences of actions, and flashes of emotions. Writing is fluid, a stream of consciousness that requires an immersion into a point of view that cannot be interrupted, disjointed, or disrupted.
Plotting is a high-level process that asks what-ifs and plays around with tropes.
Writing is a pact. It is a contract between a writer and a character that the character will be given justice and their story will be respected under penalty of shame, ridicule and poor reviews.
What do I need to write? Physical comfort and the trust of the characters I write not to do them shame, embarrass them or cause them to slam the door in my face.
I need comfort, peace, and trust to write.
Thank you @SundownersBook for the topic suggestion.