My Writing Quirks


You know how my writing process works? Via miracles. Seriously. I’m a pantser so when an idea hits me, I sit down to write, and I wing it. If I start trying to figure out the plot, structure, or the why of things I stress out and confuse myself. Once it’s written, then I revise, rewrite using a Save the Cat outline, get feedback, revise again. Take a break and repeat—because I never know when to stop. My writing process also works well with wine and coffee (not together—that’d be gross).

Speaking of wine and coffee, when I write, my mind loves to focus on the most ridiculous things. Like writing rituals, for example. I must have things a certain way, or I may as well give up on life. Okay, well . . . maybe something less dramatic.

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. I just hope no psychologist reads my “musts” when writing. I’d hate to be sent to a madhouse because I decided to be honest with you.

My writing process MUST include these “genius” quirks:

  • I must have music or background noise. Not too bad . . . right? Get ready.
  • Coffee is a must when I start working. A few hours later I might switch to wine, but it must be white wine. I love red, but to write: white.
  • If I’m in the zone for a few days, it’s all about energy drinks.
  • When my nails are too long, I feel like I can’t write. Yes, I type and it’s fine even if I have a few extra typos, but it literally stops me mentally from writing. So, I cut them off. I’m either girly or am a writer. Apparently, I’m incapable of being a girly writer.
  • I write down new ideas with black pens but revise with blue. Let’s not be judgy! 😛
  • I find Wednesday and Thursday to work best for me. No change in my schedule for the week, they just happen to be my most productive writing days/nights.
  • When writing, I must have a few notebooks (say 3 or 10?), at least five pens, and different colored stickers by my side even if I don’t use them.
  • When revising I need a printed copy of the MS as well. Again . . . even if I don’t use it. I just need it, and if I don’t have it, I can’t breathe.
  • I usually work in my kitchen, so when writing, I like to face the window, but . . .
  • When revising I have to face the opposite wall. Why? I don’t know.  

These are just some of them; I’m sure I have more that I can’t think of right now. And before you think I’m completely insane, well, let me tell you: I’m in good company. Mark Twain wrote while lying in bed. Shakespeare, Milton, and Chaucer recited Homer’s invocation of the Muse before typing a word. John Cheever wrote mostly in his underwear. And dear Hemingway wrote standing . . . and naked.

Tell me I’m not the only crazy one. Is there something maybe silly that somehow *absolutely* makes a difference for you in being productive?


S. Katherine Anthony

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9 thoughts on “My Writing Quirks”

  1. Can’t laugh at your list or judge you because it looks too much like mine! 😉
    – Coffee…and lots of it! Red wine for afternoon, er…I mean evening writing.
    – Music…preferably an eclectic mix of powerful singers – Anita Baker, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Regina Bell, Pink. It’s a long list! LOL!
    – My journals…I only actually write in one, but I have to have them all close.
    – Brush tip markers…because I doodle when I get stuck
    – My tiny space heater…I live in AZ where “hot” is redefined, but for some reason when I write, my feet get cold. Weird.
    – Post-it Notes…never fails when I’m working on one wip, ideas for others come to mind. Never fails!
    – Gonna get judged for this one! My mister is a renal patient and has dialysis three times a week. Can’t wait for him to leave – I do my best writing on those days when he’s gone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leaning psychologist Guthrie believed that muscle memory, the physical things we did while learning, were an important part of recall so you’re mostly not crazy…mostly not. Mine are 1. I have to clean my desk, like furniture polish cleaning and keyboard with alcohol swab cleaning. 2. I have to title every chapter and sub chapter. 3. I have to mentally see each chapter like a movie first (that usually involves a playlist and laying out by the pool). 4. Each book has its own incense lol…the creepers saga is dragons blood in case you’re wondering what the end of the world smells like.

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  3. I have just a few. I have a pretty crazy life and if I was too picky I’d never get a word down. Those few necessities are: Cold Caffeine usually Mt Dew but the Kroger brand Citrus Drop is as good if not better.
    Music I call ‘Power Vocals’ because it has to have a great singer, and preferably a heavy bass. But I’m not really picky beyond that (Ruelle, Andy Black, and Beyonce as some examples)
    And I need to be sitting up in a chair, preferably with a table but that’s just a nice addition. I cannot lay in bed and write.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, I feel a little less crazy now – I’m also a total pantser, so glad to know it’s okay to be both OCD and spontaneous all in one act LOL. Mine are:
    1) Coffee, coffee and more coffee with the occasional ice water to re-hydrate, I don’t drink soda or wine.
    2) Prefer and work so much better with absolute silence, but I’m a mom with 20 rowdy teens (I only birthed 2, but apparently they’re from the Gremlin species and I fed them… my bad.) so I also have an eclectic music list, but it can’t be anything so catchy I find myself singing along, rather than typing!
    3) At least one notebook and a pen (must be blue ink), for those inevitable notes, even though I usually have multiple documents and Scrivner open at once.
    4) I have all of those documents open, because I can’t write one book at a time, my muse hops between at least two stories at all times.
    5) My wireless mouse has its own free-range pasture where nothing else can exist. I just can’t function with anything else in that area, I will mentally shut down.
    6) I have to sit with my back to the sliding glass door or I will get distracted by the squirrels…. the real ones that play in the trees just beyond my balcony. Yes, I crack up every time someone uses the ‘squirrel’ joke. If they only knew…:D

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL, it’s sadly true. And yesterday it was a big raccoon just meandering through the grass in no hurry.

        Good luck with that – they getcha on a technicality: it’s after midnight until noon! 😀


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