A writing setup

Different writers have different ways of writing. From plotting and research to drafting and rewriting, it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation. And it can be useful to know what different options apply so that you can try them until you find what works best for you.

Of course, different aspects may have different implications or significance to different people, so it’s impossible to say which are more important than others.

So, in no particular order…

Handwriting vs. typing vs. recording. For some, typing straight away is perfect. For others (e.g. me), handwriting is better. Don’t ask me why, but things flow more easily when I’ve got a pen and notebook. And for some, writing itself can be rather daunting, so recording the story (and then transcribing it) is the way to go.

Each of these have pros and cons. Handwriting is more time-consuming and there’s more room for error when typing, but you can also fix typos that you may have scribbled and you don’t have to carry hefty things. You’re also not limited to electricity or a battery life, which is something to keep in mind when typing directly. This is faster, though, but always back up the files. (Re-typing a whole book isn’t fun, but a notebook does allow for it.) And as for recording, the act itself may be the fastest yet, but you may have to spend some money on a person who then transcribes the audio or a good program (although AI may lose or confuse some things). That is, unless you’re transcribing yourself (something I could never do because I hate listening to my voice).

Speaking of listening, music and noise or silence are also to be considered. Absolute silence is a must for some, as any sound may be distracting, but silence can also be maddening to others (e.g. me). When it comes to music, there’s the question of songs with lyrics or instrumental (which I favor), and these I find can also help me set the mood for the scene or chapter I’m writing. Another option is simple background noise, especially if you’re at a café or bar writing.

Which leads to location: your room (or any part of your home) or going outside (café, park, on a train on your way to Verona…).

Writing can be a good excuse to leave your home if you need a break, but considerations come into place if you’re typing or recording. There’s also the expense of going to a café or the occasional lack of comfort if you’re in a park.

Then there’s the potential company that you may opt for, and sometimes, even if you’ve figured it all out, you may simply run out of time or energy, or the inspiration may be elusive, but that’s all right.

No one writing day is the same as the last, and mixing up different options can help you see what works best for you.

Moira Daly

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