Question of the Week: Writing Traditions

4 Dec

For those who haven’t heard, Sarah J. Maas is in Cairo, Egypt at the moment (lucky girl!) so I (Savannah J. Foley) am borrowing her account and keeping things going while she’s gone. We miss you Sarah!

This week’s QoTW comes from Kate, who asked: “Do you have any traditions associated with writing?”


My “ritual” before writing would be to prepare myself a cup of tea. Then I check out what scene I’ll be writing from my chapters outline and make myself a playlist of soundtracks or classical music (anything without lyrics) to set the mood that accords with the scene I’m working on. Hmmmm…..yes, that’s about it!

The Writer Who Just Started Querying


I wouldn’t say I have too many traditions, other than finding ways to avoid sitting down in that computer chair.  I’m not like some superstitious ballplayer that needs to wear the same pair of socks the entire time while I’m working on my first draft.  I do tend to write drafts best when I’m at home, at my own desk – often late at night, and preferably with some kind of caffiene-laden drink close at hand. Sometimes I have music on, sometimes not.  When I do, it tends to be movie soundtracks or light classical music that will put me in a storytelling mood, but not evoke any particular memory.   (James Horner’s score to “Braveheart” works, but “Titanic” does not.)  On the other hand, I can edit just about anywhere – and I frequently do.

The Writer Who’s Writing Queries


My traditions regarding is to open my YouTube account and iTunes. I really like listening to music when I write, but sometimes my iTunes playlist doesn’t always help me write. I then choose a song (sometimes it is part of my playlist, sometimes it is a random song, etc.) and click on my Microsoft Word document of my work-in-progress. My document is always open because I never know when I am going to get the motivation or a sudden idea to add. 🙂 Then, I let my fingers dance across the keyboard and write.

The Writer Writing Her First Novel


I’m very particular about how my laptop screen works while I’m writing. I don’t like to have many programs open at once, and I make sure all I can see is the word document. I want the page to cover almost my entire laptop screen. I usually write in Garamond 12, but I edit in Times New Roman 12.

As for method traditions… I like to name my story early on. It helps define it in my mind. I usually sketch out chapters or snippets of writing in a physical notebook before transferring it onto my laptop. I try to write a little bit in my notebook each day, usually before I go to bed when I’m really tired and everything comes out emotionally, but doesn’t make much logical sense. I figure I can fix messy, but not dry.

The Writer Who Is Also on Submissions


Thanks so much for your question Kate!

Audience, what are YOUR traditions?


7 Responses to “Question of the Week: Writing Traditions”

  1. Alexandra Shostak December 4, 2009 at 5:27 PM #

    Haha, Savannah, you’d hate me–I frequently have no names for my stories until they’re almost finished… or already finished. I like how you are particular about the laptop screen, because I’m really particular about that, too. And about the layout of my word document. 🙂 And, I do the snippets in the notebook, too!

    • Savannah December 5, 2009 at 1:43 PM #

      We are clearly writing soulmates. We need to unite our powers; quick, let’s buy matching rings then touch them together!

      I’m very loyal to my story names, and it’s very hard for me to change them once they’re established.

  2. Rowenna December 5, 2009 at 7:51 AM #

    I also don’t format from the get-go–I think that dates all the way back from writing papers in high school and college. If you write them single-spaced Garamond (I, too, love Garamond!), and then reformat into double spaced, and then into Times New Roman if you still need to fill more space, it somehow tricks me into thinking I spent less time on it. It’s like magic, watching the three pages of work become seven! Instantly! That weird mindset transferred to my own writing.

    My only other tradition per se is that Saturday mornings I try to get out of the house and treat myself to coffee or a bagel while I write.

    • junebugger December 5, 2009 at 8:47 PM #

      Oh my gosh. Treating yourself to a coffee or bagel while you write. Sounds like an ideal day to me! Makes me want to go to a coffee shop right now. In fact. Maybe I shall…even though it’s 11pm. We have a coffee shop five minutes away

  3. Landon December 5, 2009 at 8:27 PM #

    Ugh…I have so many writing traditions/rituals/obsessive compulsions that it’s almost a disorder; many I don’t even think I’m conscious of.

    Let’s see…I only listen to music before and after I write; I have three specific lights on in my room when I write; I choose the font by whatever seems to fit the story (this is most likely my weirdest one); I am now ALWAYS turning off the word count/page number bar at the bottom of the window; I only have one window open (the one I’m working on)–stuff like that.

    I don’t know. I’ve evaded the men in white coats thus far.

    • junebugger December 5, 2009 at 8:50 PM #

      LOL. Right down to the specifics, I see.

  4. Samantha December 7, 2009 at 12:45 AM #

    Haha, I have this thing where i have like a stack of maybe eight to ten books right next to my CPU and when I get bored or sidetracked, I pick one up and read a random chapter. My mom thinks it totally clutters space but that’s one of things. I NEED clutter to work properly. When my clutter is JUST right, I can churn out 5k to 6k per hour which is amazing for a procrastinator like me.

    Freddo chocolate also increases productivity 🙂

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