Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Writing the New Oldfashioned Way

I’ve spent the last few days writing my book in longhand in a legal pad. Not by choice, but because life has separated me from my computer (a bad back, a sick child, etc). The funny thing is, I’ve somehow managed to write pages and pages (until I have a chance to get it all typed up, I won’t know how MANY pages). After all the problems I’ve had stringing words together lately, my recent spurt of productivity makes me wonder what’s going on here. Why can I write scene after scene while sitting in an oral surgeon’s office or a medical lab waiting room, when I have trouble squeezing out a paragraph when sitting at the computer in my office?

Is it because writing at a computer in an office in a wrecked house in a wrecked neighborhood is both distracting and depressing? Or is it because the need to focus intently on what I’m doing—in order to shut out unfamiliar distractions—somehow helps me get into my story better? I have a friend named Rexanne Becnel who writes all her books in longhand in a coffee shop—she always has. I’ve said before I ought to try it. Maybe now I will.

What do you think? Is there a level of distraction that helps you to focus—say, strangers talking softly, or light music? At what level does a distraction become impossible to overcome? I personally can’t handle a TV—I hate the growing popularity of TV’s in doctors’ waiting rooms. I also am distracted by an interesting conversation in which I’d like to take part. Yet I remember writing the synopsis for WHEN GODS DIE at a state swimming championship—talk about noise!

What I’m reading…

Still reading that thriller, but my enthusiasm has waned considerably. After a wonderfully written first chapter, the rest has been mediocre to a yawn. If he had spent as much time on the rest of the book as he obviously devoted to the first chapter, it might have been good. As it is, I feel cheated enough complain.


Charles Gramlich said...

I wonder if it could be that when you're in the doctor's office or a place other than your home office, and you're waiting,that you have no other demands pulling you away from your work. I know that when I'm sitting at my desk these days that my thoughts often turn to other home related or family related things that I need to do. But when there is no way I can do that stuff, I have no distractions from actually getting the writing done.

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