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What do you do first?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by skip.knox, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Every writing day, what is the very first thing you do after sitting down? This will vary from one day to the next, but I'm thinking particularly of when you would say you are now in writing (or revision) mode rather than planning mode. And I'm sure we all do each of these sometimes. I'm asking about what is habitual, what you do almost without thinking.

    Which of these gets opened first?

    (physical) notebook or word processor (or other electronic writing tool)
    social media and forums like Mythic Scribes
    world building (includes such tools as map maker, timeline, character designer, Photoshop, etc)

    No judgment here; just curious about habits.
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    Shower first, as I'm usually getting off work.
    Turn on the laptop.
    Open up my story documents.
    Check in on websites and get settled into the chat here.
    Talk and sometimes manage to get some writing done.
    Snack while trying and often failing to do so.
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    Get a drink. Then I have a ~200 word “mission statement” that I reread whenever I get to work. When I’m on a roll, I stop before I burn out. When I come back to it, I left myself in a good spot to get going again.

    I never go on here or even open the internet when I write. I don’t even play music or anything. I can’t work with any distractions. In fact, there’s been times where I shut off my modem as not to be tempted to go online. I actually even avoid my reference documents while writing as not to get into world building or plotting when I’m supposed to be writing.
  4. Firefly

    Firefly Troubadour

    On a normal day I just pull out my notebook and start writing longhand.
    If I’m starting something new sometimes I pull up one of my ideas docs for a prompt but usually I don’t even touch the computer until I’ve got a decent amount of words down and need to transcribe them.

    I try to avoid extra websites and other distractions while writing; I do it last thing before I go to bed and I try to keep to the mindset that I am done with the internet for the day. If It’s Nano or something and I’m trying to hit an unusually high word count sometimes I’ll read the pep talks or blog posts or something before I start or during breaks to keep my motivation up, but I’m easily distracted so that kind of thing is off limits during writing time.
    Night Gardener likes this.
  5. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    Writing days? I just wait until my muse hits me on the head with a baseball bat, sending me into a scurry to collect the thoughts bashed from my skull and splashed all over me.

    Also coffee. Copious amounts.

    In less gruesome terms, I don't plan at all. I have always been awful at schedules. Writing days just happen when they happen. The hour depends, the rituals depend. The writing tools vary from paper to libre to notes on my mobile to what have you not. I live on writing droughts and floods. The coffee is always there.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    This is great; keep them coming, folks!

    For mine, in all honesty, I go to the three forums where I hang out. I glance through email, though there's very little there to distract me.

    My physical notebook normally lies open anyway, so when I've caught up with my community, I start writing. It sort of feels like saying hello to everyone (even if I don't post) before setting to work.
    Azeroth and Night Gardener like this.
  7. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

    I get up at 4 AM and try to take care of most of my online business, forums, email, whatever, over the next two hours. Not that I won't take brief visits during the rest of the day (even as now). Then a good breakfast, then on to one creative project or another. Maybe writing narrative, maybe not. I'm flexible.
  8. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

    I get on the train and open my laptop.

    I scroll up to where I started yesterday and read. This is pretty much the only time I get to read my work as a reader because I've just about always forgotten what I did yesterday - it's just pure muse pouring out of me and quite intoxicating when it's going well.

    I give yesterday's work a quick polish then forge into today's.

    An hour later I'm at work and my brain has to change.
  9. I write first thing in the morning. Every morning. I find that quiet of the world to be the best for me to lose myself in.

    I'm up at 5-ish with the cat, feed and entertain him a bit, then make my coffee and morning sweet. When I sit down I start by reading what I wrote the day before while I consume those. Then I'll dive into writing from about 6 am to 8:30 am. Usually starting right where I left off unless I have a strong notion to pick another point in the book for that day.

    I have found I cannot write in the evenings at all. Our days are too filled with making/work, answering inquiries, shipping etc and my head is too full of all of that to clear it. However, that's when I often do those things like mapmaking, world building, plotting etc. Mythos Scribes is the one and only forum I peruse and participate in online and I'll do a bit of that in the morning, but mostly save that for the evenings too.
  10. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

    I tend to do most of my writing in the morning. So I get up and make a coffee. Look after my dog which requires a lengthy sniff around the garden, her breakfast, her medications, fresh water and then another lengthy sniff. Wash up the dishes I failed to do the night before. Then open my laptop and write. If I'm in planning mode, I drift between writing forums and research. That's why weeks go by and I don't come on here, because I'm writing and avoiding anything distractions.
  11. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    My writing computer always has Scrivener open with the most important projects up and running in a window. I don't have a 100% exactly the same routine.

    I make sure I'm connected to wifi and the browser is ready to go if I need to look something up. If I'm curious about something, I might look it up before getting to the writing, but I try not to dillydally for more than 5 minutes, because it just makes getting to the writing harder. But usually, I'll just jump to my current project, read a bit of what I wrote yesterday to get a running start and just have at it. If I have a bunch of ideas for what I want to do with the current scene or with the current story in general, I might scribble them down in point form first before getting to the writing, so I won't forget. If I have ideas for a different story, I'll scribble them down first, so I don't forget and I'm not distracted.
    skip.knox likes this.
  12. oenanthe

    oenanthe Minstrel

    i wake up, wash, make coffee, and write in my journal first thing. usually I figure out what I'm going to write that day as a result, so I go write it, and it usually takes about two hours. then I'm done for the day.
    skip.knox likes this.
  13. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

    I put the kids to bed (around 7-ish), clean up the kitchen etc, procrastinate, listen to an episode of Writing Excuses, open my work in progress and my note file. I take a couple of minutes to re-read where I stopped, go over my notes for the scene or write up my notes for the scene if I'm starting a new one, and then start writing.
    Night Gardener and skip.knox like this.
  14. Xitra_Blud

    Xitra_Blud Sage

    Everything but write.
  15. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

    Writing.... nights.

    The vast majority of my writing sessions are at night. I think about my WIP frequently during the day, jot down ideas on my phone or in a notebook/pad, really think through ideas, concepts, and scenes in my head. Showertimes are especially productive lol.

    I usually settle in for a writing session as part of my bedtime routine. Hopefully I'm not too overtired or in pain, but my headspace is finally cleared enough and I am ready to relax. I might have a lovely adult beverage, or a cup of my personal blend of herbal tea. Sometimes I listen to music, or thumb through some pinned inspirational images. I'll go through any notes I made during the day, and get to writing in a 3 ring binder notebook

    I'm an insomniac and writing is, at least, a physically restful activity. If I can't fall asleep, I can write. If I wake up and can't fall back asleep, I can write. I have a battery operated pinlight that I can clip on my notebook so I don't blast my retinas.

    I usually will leave myself prompts and notes to think about and answer between longer writing sessions. Especially if I finally feel sleepy and need to cut a session shorter than I planned.

    If I'm too achey or just not in the mood to write on my own project, I'll go through online stuff (like here or social media for-funsies) or watch my favorite channels on Youtube. Or documentaries. Or do image searches for more inspiration.

    I'm a lucid, vivid dreamer and if I had an especially interesting dream, I'll write it down when I wake up. Over morning coffee, I do my social media for 'news' and updates on friends.

    I end up seriously writing (several hours of quality, productive pages) at least once a week because I can really get into the zone, but I'm constantly building up ideas and compiling them just about daily.

    I wish I could find a talk to type app for android, so I could actually lay down, get comfortable, and just think outloud while not having to physically write because while my body is tired and strained, my brain is not.
    skip.knox likes this.
  16. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    I write by a version of chaos theory... I do whatever needs to be done (or that portion i get to) in the world and somewhere along the line a book gets written. Morning, noon, night, hours that pass for morning or night... the one semi-constant is rereading/editing before I launch into new material. I check sales, advertising, national news, during pauses in writing. Most time I’m flashing to story all the during the day when I’m not writing, which has also been known to cause troubles.
    skip.knox and Night Gardener like this.
  17. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I'm autistic so my patterns rarely vary. If you ever want to really mess with me, mess with my patterns.

    First is always a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. Then I maintain the parts of our social media that I'm responsible for, which is Facebook and Tumblr. If you ever talk to us on Twitter, you're talking to my lovely (and smarter) wife. Then my writing partners (my wife and our younger partner) and I have a morning meeting about what we're all working on for the day. I usually switch to caffeinated water around here. Lots of it. Then I reread what I did the day before and smooth and polish before getting rolling on the day's work. I usually work until I'm tired, with the occasional break to come here and chat or check on any calls to action I left on FB. My wife is super awesome and usually brings me snacks while I'm drafting.

    I'm a slower writer, averaging about 750 words per hour when I'm rolling. Sometimes more, and those are the days I live for.
    skip.knox and Night Gardener like this.
  18. Vogel

    Vogel Acolyte

    I usually get ideas while doing chores. In my current work I have found that if I just sit and imagine myself as a character (trying to start off their regular day) kind of works for some parts of the story. Other times I would just try to do random stuff like watch TV, read, work on something entirely different. I have learnt these techniques help in coming up with solutions for your story. If I am really stuck I stop thinking about my work and just catchup with other things.
    Night Gardener likes this.
  19. Azeroth

    Azeroth Dreamer

    I don't have a set time or schedule, but I do try to write every day. I probably do my best work at night, cause I'm a bit nocturnal. Going online to read about writing-related topics can always help "inspire" me to put thoughts to word document.
    skip.knox likes this.
  20. Danskin

    Danskin Scribe

    I also write (or edit) every day. In normal circumstances, this would begin by putting on my headphones, opening my laptop, and I'd pretty much go straight to it without checking email or anything else. This would be at around 7 am and I'd write for an hour before work. I always have a coffee first thing, too. At present, I'm having to be more flexible about when I write, because I don't normally write all that much at home.

    In terms of the actual writing, I often pick up where I left of more or less exactly, sometimes even mid-sentence. Sometimes, though, I'd take 5-10 minutes to read through the previous section and do a light edit. So my first drafting is a kind of write/edit combo.

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