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Saturday, June 22, 2013


Writing Begins With W

I’ve been thinking about three Ws of writing. Why do I write? When do I write? What medium do I use to write? If I recall correctly, this whole idea came about chatting with fellow writer friends. The conversation went something like this:

Tina: “I just entered another contest, of course I want to win, because I think it’s really important to get my name out there.”

AnneMarie: “I just want to win; it’s the same high I got in high school when I’d place in a track meet. I’m competitive I guess.”

Me: “I’m not sure why I entered; it just sounded like a fun challenge.”

I really don’t remember much of the conversation after that point. I was stuck inside my own head; I tend to think everyone is just like me. I was glad we had the conversation and it gave me some insight. Tina has monthly budget, life goals, professional goals, and short term plans as well as long term plans. Her writing is no different. She plans to publish her memoir in the spring and getting the publicity of winning a few contests will help increase her name recognition when her memoir is available. AnneMarie writes because she loves it and her ultimate goal is to get traditionally published. If she has long and short term writing goals she doesn’t share them and she is very private. I, on the other hand, am an open book. I have long and short term goals for just about every area of my life, and just having blog traffic is enough to make me feel heard as a writer. Each of us has a different “why I write” story, and I bet there are as many stories as there are writers. That is definitely a lesson for me … again, not everyone is just like me (whew)!

Now onto the WHEN of writing; are you a:

• Late-night-writer?
• Early-morning-writer?
• Only-when-all-the-other-work-is-done-writer?
• Right-before-my-deadline-writer?
• Especially-when-I’m stressed-writer?

I find this answer changes with life events. Honestly, right now I’m not writing anything longer than a blog post or short story. I’m pregnant and feel like I have a hard time concentrating for long periods of time. My writing right now on long pieces feels choppy and bounces around too much. That’s not to say that I’ve always been that way; just right now I prefer shorter pieces and I like to write first thing in the morning but then again I like to journal late at night. What works for you? When is your WHEN?

Now onto what may possibly be the most discussed W … WHAT medium do you use to write? Of course this depends at which phase in a process you may be but I guess the question is: What do you write with when you begin something new? Do you sit down with a keyboard because you like to edit as you go? Do you use an old type-writer, because you love the nostalgic feel of the keys and the rhythmic sound? Do you grab your laptop and open a new word document? Do you have a leather covered note-book and a favorite pen? What brings out your creativity?

I like to use a fine point pen and a favorite old notebook. The look of the letters on the page can be as romantic and musical as the story being told (this is especially true when I write poetry). Typing can be faster, but I find myself too easily distracted by social media and emails. Even if I turn off my wireless connection I still don’t get the same satisfaction … for some reason, writing out the words: the car was hit from behind, and I felt myself plummeting down the embankment toward certain death has a completely different feel when I can press a little harder or softer, underline as needed, etc., and as much as I enjoy banging on my keyboard, it hasn’t doesn’t come across with the same conviction and passion as those hand written pages

Please share your W’s in the comments below. That is one of the great things about being an avid WOW! reader and writer, it brings us together regardless of our physical location and allows us to celebrate our writerhood and our sisterhood. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Crystal J. Casavant-Otto is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, two young children (Carmen 6 and Andre 5), three dogs,two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. Crystal and her husband, Mark are expecting another son at the end of September.

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Blogger Sioux said...

Crystal--Why? Because I must.
When? Frequently, it's a half hour here or there. In the early morning, before anyone else gets up, or late at night, when everyone else is asleep (and often both on the same day).
Where? At my laptop. In a notebook during a meeting, when I should be taking notes on the meeting but instead I'm working on something to submit. In the doctor's waiting room on a piece of scrap paper. It varies.

Congratulations, Crystal. Of course, once the baby is born, you'll have different "distractions" when you have three little two-legged love bugs to care for...

5:42 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

WHY? I'm not sure once I started that I can do anything else. :)

WHEN? Whenever--really. I prefer morning, but so do kids, so sometimes, I am writing in the middle of the night.

WHERE? Almost exclusively on my laptop

Sidenote: I have a hard time writing anything "dark or edgy" now that I'm the mom of a toddler and constantly reading picture books and princess stories. :)

7:55 AM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

This was a great post and reminder that there is no one correct way to be a writer. We all wear it differently!

Why: I love words and pulling them together so they flow and evoke a response in people. Gives me a charge.

When: I quit my job to pursue this full time so I go at it like a job: time for platform building, reading and writing in an 8-hour day.

Where: Normally, when college son isn't home, I use his bedroom for my office. But I write at home, mostly. Sometimes I like to get out to a coffee shop for a little stimulation.

8:46 AM  
OpenID said...

I usually start a short story or essay with pen and paper. Around the second paragraph, my thoughts speed up and I can't write fast enough, so I switch to typing. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

9:23 AM  
Blogger SE Hudnall said...

Why? I wish I could fully answer that question. Many reasons I suppose. The closest I’ve gotten was a blog post back in April when I finished a rough draft. Writing. . .it's a chronic, raging disease. . . and the strangest joy.
When? Right now I’m doing it constantly it seems but in reality I sit down twice a day at my keyboard, early in the morning and again of an evening. In the morning I’m fresher and can spin out new ideas and snippets. In the evening I comb through my morning work, pulling out tangles. I very rarely take a day off. Sometimes a friend will drag me off to the movies or something but I still manage to get some writing time in.
Where? I’m at the table in my breakfast area with my laptop most of the time. It’s kind of strange to me but I don’t take it outside or other venues unless I’m traveling. No, when I take a break and head out to a park or just tool down the road I always take a notebook (preferably but not always college ruled) with me and a couple of very-fine pens. I’m particular about the pens and finally found one with a 0.3 tip. Yes, my handwriting is cursive and extremely small. Most of my poetry starts with handwritten copy. Fiction starts on the keyboard.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Anne Renner Phillips said...

Why: because if I don't my soul may wither and die. I write to survive.

When: I usually start very early in the morning at 4 or 5am. I like to watch the sun come up and hear the birds sing, especially the mourning doves.

How: first I write it out longhand. I love the feel of the pen in my hand. It is gratifying to see the pages fill up with my words. Then I transfer it to the computer. I recently discovered Scrivener. It is a wonderful program for a writer organize all writing files and documents all in one place. It definitely helps with organization and productivity.

I love reading about how other writers create.

5:47 PM  
OpenID marilynslagel said...

When: Whenever the mood strikes me. I'm not good at sitting and staring at the screen waiting for something to come to the surface.

Why: It is like a conversation with me. I'm a widow, live alone, work from a home office - writing is company at times. Posting blogs, long emails, SoMe, etc. keeps my mind stimulated. Longer stories test my technique.

Where: At my desk on either the PC or my new laptop. I love the romanticism of people who write with a pen and paper, lovely cursive flowing along the page - but it is way too slow for me. The only longhand I do is personal letters.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

I LOVE reading all these comments! It feels like we are chatting in my living room over a lovely cup of coffee! You ladies warm my heart. There's no right way to write. Thanks for sharing <3

10:06 PM  

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