I’d like to start off today’s blog by recommending another website: whereiwrite.org. I urge you to visit this website for your own curiosity’s sake and see Kyle Cassidy’s project to report and share the places where several well-known fantasy and science fiction writers crank out their masterpieces. What you will find is that is varies greatly, from wide places in hallways, to easy chairs in living rooms and studies, to desks in offices to desks in cramped cubbyholes surrounded by books.
In his classic book, On Writing, Stephen King talks about how for many years when he first got started, he wrote on the utility porch with the washer and dryer. Later, when he became successful, he bought a massive desk and built an office that he could work in. He ended up turning the office into a playroom for his kids, because he had gotten used to writing on the utility porch. He also found that writing in humble surroundings kept him focused on the task at hand.
Right now, I am writing this blog in my sweats, sitting in my easy chair in my living room, with a persistent dachshund curled up between my legs. She is cold, and will not take no for an answer. And so I have to put my laptop off to the side to write.
I have written books in my office at work, on my laptop in the living room, back yard, kitchen, and many other places, and even sitting on our bed. I do not do as many other writers do–write it out longhand, then retype. I had a creative writing teacher who insisted that we do it that way, but I refuse to rewrite my stuff, at least that way.
When I am writing a book, and I know that I will be writing on several computers–my laptop, my desktop at home, classroom computers–I keep everything backed up on a flash drive, which I carry with me. I learned when I was working on my doctoral dissertation to become paranoid about losing things. The biggest problem comes when you have multiple versions of a project, and you can’t determine which is the latest version.
The point is–as is for most of writing–that you have to find out what works for you. As long as the book comes out on paper–or on the screen–it doesn’t matter the process you went through to get it there. I used to be fascinated with the methodology and lifestyle of other writers. Now I realize that even though my process may be totally different than theirs, it’s all good, as long as the final product is good.