Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Where do you do your writing and how do you do it?

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I’ve touched on the mechanics of where and how we write before, but I’m asking again that you share specifics from your experience that might be helpful to us all.

Do you use a computer when you write? That’s almost a laughable question anymore. Many of you may never have used anything but some type of computer to do your writing. Some of us, however, date as far back as manual typewriters. Yes, manual, i.e., no need to plug the old dinosaur into an outlet — just start typing and hit that carriage return at the end of each line.

Do you have a fine desk and office chair? Do you lean back in comfortable leather home theater seating or perhaps in a huge recliner and snuggle in with a laptop? Okay, if you know me, you’ll no I don’t “snuggle” well into anything. Snuggling ain’t that easy for Old Fat Bald Guys. But I do enjoy a large recliner my wife bought me a couple of years ago. (She bought it with some freelance earnings, even.)

I’ve mentioned earlier here that I pull my trusty old Tablemate stand up to the recliner and click away on my Toshiba laptop for most of my writing.

Do you write much “by hand,” as in use real paper and a pen or pencil? Many people do that, feeling that their writing “flows” more easily apart from a computer or keyboard of any sort. I can respect that, although an editor I once worked for slapped me around (metaphorically) about writing that way. “Why in the world take the extra time to write your copy then keyboard it in? Why not just go straight from the brain, through the fingers, to the keyboard?” He said something like that.

Do you write best when you’re along or around others? Do you work in a solitary setting or in a coffee shop? If you have small children, chances are you don’t have the luxury of much “alone time” for your writing. I learned to write quickly and with lots of noise around me when I worked in a newspaper newsroom. But in recent years, I’ve lost that edge and tend to let such chaos distract me. My preferred writing location now is mostly by myself — perhaps with CNN playing very quietly in the background, perhaps with some great Oscar Peterson jazz piano instead of the talking heads.

What works for you? Come on, tell us.
[tags]writing habits, writing environment, writing space, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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2 Responses to “Where do you do your writing and how do you do it?”

  1. Jerry Jansen says:

    At first I would only write at my PC. It had to be quiet, and I had to be “in the mood”. My wife would say, “Why don’t you write today?”

    Stubborn me would say something wasn’t right, procrastinating even more. We now travel in our motor coach and I have two laptops which can be set up anywhere I have a WiFi connection. Motor ,homes have “cockpits”, that is, seats for the driver and “co-pilot”, looking high over the highway domain as we travel.

    When parked, as we are now for the winter, I have made the co-pilot seat my “writing office”. A built-in, pull-out desk for the laptop is just the right height. The view is exquisite with the large windshield, and the leather seat is comfy. The printer sits on the “doghouse” (engine cover), and my files fill the flat dashboard. Now I call myself the RoadWriter, and maybe can get on with it.

  2. Gary says:

    RoadWriter. I love it.

    The setup you’ve got — I want that! (Even worth an exclamation point there.)

    How intriguing. I assume you do travel writing? At least that would seem natural for such a traveling arrangement and that nickname.

    Good for you. Just let me know how I can get in on that kind of action. I’d love to be sitting at your desk looking out at — where? — right now myself.

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