by Biljana Likic
Writing quirks are little things that people need or need to do while writing to get as much out of it as possible. Not everybody has writing quirks, but when they do there’s usually a reason for it; comfort, antsyness, concentration… Next time you write see if you catch yourself making weird faces or muttering to yourself. Some are more conscious, like a favourite pair of Writing Pants (à la Meg Spooner, check out her fantastic post on just this topic), and others are done while you’re totally engrossed in what you’re writing.
Personally I think quirks are hilariously awesome. They make me feel a bit loopy and obsessive (a bit?) but when it comes down to it, if it helps me write, I don’t really care.
For example, here are a few of mine…other than the making faces and the muttering.
The first one concerns that blinky cursor thing you see that tells you where you are when writing. I have a love/hate relationship with it. When writing, I adore it because I feel like it’s encouraging me to go on and that my story’s awesome. When reading, my biggest pet peeve is to have it twitching in the corner of my vision.
Another one is randomly jumping up from my seat, walking briskly to the kitchen, getting nothing (maybe a sip of water), and returning to write without skipping a beat. This can happen during the most exciting scene in the story. Strange, I know. I’m thinking that, with my faces and my muttering, the rest of my body wants in on it too.
But enough about me, even though I’m so cool. Let’s hear what the other ladies have to say:
Formatting is incredibly important. Some stories I can only write in Garamond, others in Arial. The one I’m working on now is Times New Roman, single-spaced. It just depends on the ‘feel’ of the story.
Also, I can’t write to music, but I like background noise, something I can fade into. My family would get so annoyed because I’d get mad if someone shrieked or changed the channel unexpectedly. If I could have a tape of just normal background noise I’d be a happy little writer all my life. That gives me an idea…
I MUST have a caffeinated drink with me when I’m writing. I’ve been known to down several shots of espresso before charging into a battle scene. Definitely not the healthiest thing to do, but it keeps the words flowing.
I like having lots of papers on my desk when writing. I type up my stories because I prefer the ease of copy&paste, but it feels more authentic having some actual handwritten notes with me. I love the sound of paper shuffling, so sometimes I’ll just flip through my notes without even reading them just to hear it. It’s inspiring to me.
I don’t really have one big quirk, so I’ll give you two little ones 🙂
I know so many writers who write with music, but I can’t stand that. If I had my way, I’d write in absolute silence. I need to be able to hear the voices and sounds of whatever scene I’m doing. Also, I don’t separate my work into chapters until the final draft.
Oh, I am SO addicted to coffee and tea while I write. And I know, with music, some people have play lists but I tend to listen to one song on repeat for like three chapters, and then another on repeat for another chapter or so and so on.
Also, I totally write my best stuff at 1am. Come to think of it, that may explain the coffee and tea 😀
–Vahini Naidoo (but who could this be?!)
Like several of my colleagues here, I cannot write with music playing. I’m a great lover of silence. As Kat said, the voices in my head are the only sounds I need. My other quirks have to do with posture when writing versus posture when editing. I cannot write sitting up straight at my desktop computer. If I’m working on an early draft, I have to be semi-reclined, on the couch or bed, typing on my laptop. However, the opposite is true with editing! Since I print out my work and edit with a pen on paper, I can’t seem to make it work unless I’m sitting upright at a desk or at the dining room table. Because of these quirks, my “writing materials” (outlines, notes, earlier pages) don’t stay in a permanent “writing space.” The pile sort of follows me as I move around the house.
I like it when my 3 year old daughter isn’t shouting at me to help her with her mickey mouse puzzle.
I used to have tons of quirks but lately those are sort of a luxury not a must. I love gummy bears + diet coke.
What quirks do you have? Don’t be shy about posting the crazy ones!
Biljana Likic is an aspiring author, currently revising her first novel, TIME IS A FUNNY THING. She’s in her final year of high school, waiting and waiting to graduate, finish university, and finally have all the time in the world to write. You can visit her blog here, and check out her work on her FictionPress account.