06 September 2006

Spontaneous overflow.

In the spirit of week two, when all conversation in my creative writing classes turns to the writing process, here are five questions.

1. How do you compose? Longhand, on a computer, or a combination thereof?

2. What is your drink of choice when writing?

3. Music, or no music, and if so, what kind?

4. Revision: do you revise as you write, or do you freewrite and then go back?

5. You as a writer: creator, or instrument?


Penultimatina said...

1. How do you compose? Longhand, on a computer, or a combination thereof? Ack! I really want to be one of those writers who scribble on paper, but it's all typed, baby. I am super paranoid about losing things, thanks to this.

2. What is your drink of choice when writing? If I'm writing at home, a glass of cabernet. If I'm writing in my office, a bottle of water.

3. Music, or no music, and if so, what kind? Nooooo music! Must have silence.

4. Revision: do you revise as you write, or do you freewrite and then go back? I revise as I go, though I'm afraid I lose a lot of stanzas this way.

5. You as a writer: creator, or instrument? I feel more like an instrument. Inspiration hits me, ideas pop into my head, and I write them down. I have to let go in order to write, relinquish control.

Stephanie King said...

1. I compose on a computer. When I try to write longhand nothing good comes of it.

2. I usually don't drink anything while I write. But if ever I do, it's probably a Capri-Sun.

3. I am usually a silent writer... but lately, music gets me in the mood to write, so I've been leaving on some mellow music really low.

4. I revise as soon as I'm finished... I just look back over the document and fix things that I feel need fixed, but I save the original and the revision as two separate documents. I usually go back and revise the document again a couple weeks later.

5. I would say I'm half creator, half instrument. I need inspiration in order to get started, but once I'm in the poem I become the creator.

Justin Evans said...

1. I do both. I keep dozens of notebooks with my scribbles; most of which have fragments.

I really write on computer because I have a little of the OCD, and unclean pages drive me nuts---and with a computer, I can clear a page rather than start over in notebooks, which means wasted paper.

2. I don't drink or eat while I compose. I don't drink alcohol, so I never thought of having a 'drink' while I write.

3. again, both. I like a little noise as I write, but there are times when I need absolute quiet.

I never keep track of what I am listening to as I write.

4. I revise as I go. My first drafts are usually my finished drafts because I go back and forth so much throughout the process.

5. Both. Inspiration hits me, but often as it does, I simply sit in front of a screen and start hammering something out. I get a lot accomplished by way of glancing over what other people have written. Something will strike me and I will begin writing off a riff I form from what I have read. Most of the time that is not even related to what I read, just a thing I thought of as a result of reading.

Gerald Huml said...

1. Mostly on my laptop with a legal pad of paper and a pen handy if I need to try out words, write myself a quick note before I forget an idea, or freewrite.

2. Coffee of some kind usually. Occasionally a beer if I’m at home writing on the desktop.

3. If I’m writing in a café I’m at the mercy of whatever they play, which is usually something trendy like jazz or Johnny Cash. I prefer quiet as a first choice or my own music on my MP3 player as a 2nd choice. I like rock and metal for the most part played very low.

4. I revise as I go usually until I get what I feel like is a decent draft to work with. I then put it aside and come back to it later to revise and revise.

5. I feel that I am a creator and if I’m lucky an instrument.

Steven D. Schroeder said...

1. I scrawl ideas on paper often enough, but I write on a computer. I print drafts and scribble all over them as I revise, but the actual writing still happens on the computer.

2. Diet Mountain Dew Code Red, flavored carbonated water, and the occasional sweet margarita.

3. Usually but not always no music. Occasionally an episode of the Simpsons that I've seen a half dozen times.

4. A little of both, but more writing then going back. If a revision is easy and obvious, I do it then, but I often write stuff knowing it's filler I'll change once I have a better picture of the poem as a whole.

5. Creator. Even when inspiration strikes, I write the damn poem. :-)

Charles said...

1. Only on a computer. I carry a notebook with me only for taking notes on writing-related lectures and for jotting down lines that come to me when a computer is not nearby.

2. Water.

3. Preferably no noise, although sometimes I play guitar to take my mind off my life so I can write.

4. I revise after I have a complete first draft.

5. Creator. I work toward the ending of a project I have identified.

Matthew Thorburn said...

1. I work in longhand first in notebooks -- either a larger one at my desk or a pocket-size one for on-the-fly images, titles, ideas, good words. But this is just for the odd bits that get jigsaw-puzzled later into something like a poem draft. That assembly I do on the computer. I've always needed to see linebreaks in type.

(But also I used to get a lot of ideas and lines in my head at night, trying to fall asleep while the wheels keep turning upstairs. So out of fear of forgetting anything good I started keeping a little micro-recorder handy. I like using that -- at any time of day -- because I talk more freely than I type.)

2. As an undergrad, I once wrote an Irish lit paper while sipping a beer, but otherwise I've never mixed writing and alcohol. In the good old days, a steady intake of Diet Coke and Marlboro Lights helped get the job done. Nowadays, I'm boring but healthier. It's bottled water or the occasional hot tea or Diet Coke for me.

3. More and more, I enjoy the silence. It's so rare! But sometimes a little classical or old jazz. Nothing with words, though.

4. Once I move from note-taking to assembly, I tend to type it up, print it out, then carry the pages around for a while and mark them up. If I'm not sure where something's going -- or if it's a longer or more complicated poem -- I'll keep those mark-ups on file, so I don't lose anything I might want later.

5. I'm a creator, meaning I do the hard work myself. Those "and then the poem just wrote itself" comments in the back of Best American Poetry always drive me crazy, since that's never happened for me. Though recently, for the first time ever, I found a draft in my "work in progress" folder that I honestly couldn't remember writing or typing up. That's not the muse, though. Just lack of sleep.

Frank said...

1. 'puter.

2. Diet Coke

3. Absolutely music. Preferably something I know so well I can sing along with it without thinking about it. Like anything Beatles.

4. Revise as I go. And then make a half-assed effort at proofing. Sometimes, when I have a lot of energy, I scribble notes to myself all over the manuscript. Nice vague notes like "more of this" and "longer here." A final note on revision: I HAVE TO revise in silence.

5. Creator. I envy the instruments.

Radish King said...

Jeeze. Youse guys are organized. I write when it strikes me, wherever it strikes me. I always have a notebook handy. I write in bed in the middle of the night, I write during movies on whatever paper I can find in my purse, I write during a rehearsals. A LOT during rehearsals, actually. If it hits me I go with it. I revise at the very dead end, on the computer.

I am not an instrument of anything or anyone. I have an instrument, actually several including 2 violins, a piano, a ukelele and a WWI bugle.

jim said...

1. How do you compose? Longhand, on a computer, or a combination thereof? -- I write on a yellow legal pad with a medium point ball point pen. Or one scraps of paper, envelopes etc. especially when I'm in the car. The only thing I do on the computer is revise.

2. What is your drink of choice when writing? Merlot. And if there is no Merlot in the house, then coffee.

3. Music, or no music, and if so, what kind? No music, except the music in my head.

4. Revision: do you revise as you write, or do you freewrite and then go back? Both. I scribble all over the page.

5. You as a writer: creator, or instrument? Creator. Or creator of the instrument.

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