When Do You Write?

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

“When do you write?” I think all writers have been asked this question. I’m not quite sure why. Is the person asking looking for ideas as to when s/he can find time to write? Are they asking so they can mentally have an excuse as to why they don’t have time to write? Or, is it simply curiosity? Maybe the unstated part of the question is: “When do you, with all you have to do, find time to write?”

Last year I wrote a blog about finding time to write. Basically the answer to the question is: A writer is always writing.

Not physically, of course, but mentally. We “write” while walking, reading, doing housework, taking a shower, driving, at work…even while sleeping. More than once I’ve had a scene I didn’t know how to work out and have told my subconscious, before I go to sleep, to come up with an answer…and in the morning the answer is there.

There are times when I don’t realize I’m writing only to discover at a later time that something I saw/read/heard fits perfectly in a story. The information was there, simmering in the back of my mind, ready to come forth when I needed it.

Yesterday I posted that I’ve finished the rough draft of my third “Crow” book. It’s a “shitty” first draft, to be sure (Anne Lamott’s term), but at least I’ve gotten from point A to point Z. Today I’m cleaning house, shopping, and cooking so I can entertain some neighbors this evening. I’m not going to look at that manuscript, but I’m working on it. In my mind I’m listing places I know I need to revise and expand. I’m thinking of ways to explain the crime so it sounds reasonable. I’ve already remembered some things I’d forgotten to add, such as the fact that P.J. has a bruised cheek and no one mentions it.

Tomorrow I should have time to write and all the mental writing I’ve been doing today with take form as words and scenes.

So when do I write?

All the time.

Castle ruins on road to Galway, Ireland

Castle ruins on road to Galway, Ireland

Can’t you just imagine a story set in one of these two castles?

Look close, it's a murder of crows

Look close, it’s a murder of crows


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8 Responses to When Do You Write?

  1. Maggie says:

    Funny you should write this today. I usually fall asleep quickly and easily, but last night I couldn’t turn my mind off. I kept thinking of lines of poetry, and they kept spinning around. Finally I got up and wrote them down. And, just as you say, I could work with them with the light of day. I, too, write all the time, even when I am away from my computer. Thanks for the relevant post.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Maggie, thank you for your comments. It’s always nice to know there are others like me. Getting up and writing down the lines was probably the wisest thing you did. I know in my case I’ll keep thinking about it until I do write it down…that or it’s a long, sleepless night.

  2. Melissa Keir says:

    I love to write mentally, now if they can figure out a way to turn that into pages… 🙂

    • Maris Soule says:

      Melissa, as I replied to Lucy, they have an implant now that will control some thoughts. I’m sure mental writing will be possible in the future. The idea, nevertheless, is a little scary.

  3. Diane Burton says:

    I usually take this question literally. So my answer is: in the morning. I’m fresher and more creative than later in the day. But you’re right, Maris. I do “write” all day. When I can’t fall asleep, I think about my story and where I can go with it. Then my subconscious takes over and I wake up with a great idea.

  4. Lucy Kubash says:

    You’re so right. It seems the writing is always in your head. Now if there was a way to take what’s in my head and put it directly on the computer (a cable you plug in?) that would be great, because what’s in my head always sounds better. I love those castles. I’ll bet you could set a great mystery there.

    • Maris Soule says:

      What’s a little scary is in the not too distant future there will be something that will allow us to transfer thoughts to computers (or some gadget that will save the idea/dialogue/writing to a file). I read an article about a chip that can be implanted in the head that will allow control of negative thoughts. It’s coming.

  5. A chip implanted in the head that will allow the control of negative thoughts. There’s a story in there for sure. I’m with the rest of you, it would be great to transfer thought to paper just by thinking it.