Friday, September 5, 2014

When do you write?

A lot of aspiring writers ask me when I write and for how long. I'm best from around 8:30 in the morning to around 11:30 am. However I know writers who write at night and others who write all day.

Writing is different for almost every writer and in any place or circumstance.

For me, I need an office or something like that. Since I work at home I like to have a room that's only for writing (and for the occasional guest). I have a great desk that a friend made for me as well as a bookshelf with only film books. My other books mostly non-fiction, are in my living room bookshelves.

I have a very specific time frame, based on breakfast, lunch and dinner and I rarely write after 12 noon unless I need to finish something. I have two laptops, both Dells, one is an aging XP and the other is a lightweight 13-inch for travel.  I also have two Mac's, one is a very old G4 which I can't bear tossing out, and an iMac which I use mainly for Final Cut Pro editing.

I do editing when I shoot documentaries and since I started in this business by working in television news, I am a pretty good cameraman and still enjoy shooting small docs here and there. 

One thing I can't do is write in a cafe or a Starbucks and that's because I'm more interested in what's going on around me but I see writers doing just that and don't know how they can be that attentive. There's a joke about writers who write in cafes that writers are banned from Starbucks because none of their screenplays ever get made.

But if it works for them, that's all that matters.

Then there's the issue of how a writer writes.

I have a friend who might write two pages in a day, another can write ten pages in a day. I settle for around four to five pages, maybe six on a good day.  

Right now I'm writing a travel book and am almost finished. I mentioned this before and should be done by today, then a week of editing. The book, as I've mentioned before, is a series of short stories I remember from traveling through the western part of the U.S. and Canada.

This is my third book, having Emperor of Mars and The Working Writer's Screenplay, each of them very different. You can find more information on Emperor in previous blogs in June 2011 blogs. You can also read the screenplay under Materials on the left of this page.

The travel book, entitled How Not to Get Beat-Up In A Smalltown Bar, is a collection of the many highways and truckstops I've been to, almost a half million miles since 1969. Some of the short stories are funny, some are sad and some just very interesting. It should be out for Christmas.

Right now I'm also working on another screenplay idea but not quite sure how to begin it. This is how it is for most of my writing, I need to find that one thing that suddenly starts me up and there's no way I can explain where and when. It just happens.

Anyways, fall is here in California and the air is just a little bit cool but enough to notice.

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