Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog Chain - Perkiness, Quirkiness, Smirkiness

Quirkiness, smirkiness. Here we go. You asked for it.

The topic for this chain is quirkiness, not to be confused with perkiness. One I have a lot of, the other, not so much. The awesome Mary started this topic, and her post on her neatness and her sheep are awe-inspiring. There have been uber-fantastic posts between hers and mine, so go check them out. The blogger before me was Abigail and the next person is Terri. Keep the linkage going, baby.

So here's the question Mary posed:
What kind of quirky habits or rituals do you have regarding your writing? (or regarding anything else, if that is more fun.)

Many people have posted pictures of their writing space. Um, I can't do that. I don't have a desk. I write on a laptop, and it's become a third appendage. It goes with me everywhere I go. I write on the couch while my husband plays X-box, at the counter while I eat breakfast, or in my office at school during lunch. (In fact, I'm posting this during lunch.)

My favorite place to write is in our old, blue recliner upstairs. I guess I can post a picture of it. This is my desk space. It's right by the window, which is a bonus, because it has a windowsill for my popsicle sticks, my USB drive, pens, the remote, and anything else small enough to fit. There's no place I like better than my blue recliner. The footrest up, headphones on, laptop open…ahhh, the life.

I'm very orderly, not to be confused with organized. That's one thing I'm not. But everything has an order, and must be done in that order. I feel funny writing that, because I very rarely write a novel from beginning to end. I guess it's the process I go through to write that's orderly.

I guess I'll call it a routine. I think routines are important. I teach school, and I always joke that things don't go well until the kids are trained, which is about October. My husband and I refer to the kids as dogs. Now, before you go all postal on me, I don't think kids are actually dogs, but they are very trainable. Once they know the routine, they very seldom deviate from it. I live my life like this. Everything has a routine. I get nervous if the routine is disrupted in any way. I guess that's my quirk.

Before I write, I open the Internet. I check email, then my forums. Once I'm satisfied I'm all caught up, I open what I'm working on. I usually back-read about ten pages to get myself in the right mindset, editing as I go. I make a few notes about what's coming next, and then I write. I always do everything in the same order. Before I quit, I make a few notes about what I should work on the next writing session, just to remind myself.

It's all in the routine of writing. It doesn't matter if I only have a 30-minute lunch to write or a two hour block of time after my kids go to bed. I always follow the same routine.

I'm not really sure that's quirkish enough for you. So I guess I'll spill a couple other quirky behaviors about myself. Notice I said quirky, not to be confused with obsessive. I'm a very scheduled person. I get up at the same time every work day. I get ready in the exact same order—shower, dress, check email, brush teeth, dry hair, makeup, dress daughter, do her hair, breakfast. If I have to deviate from the order, I'm all discombobulated for the rest of the morning. Like if my daughter won't come when I call her, I just stand there at the top of the stairs, trying to decide what to do. I can't do anything, because it's simply time for her to get dressed and do her hair. I can't go out of order.

I drive the same way to daycare and then school. When they closed the road (for construction, it's open again, phew) to my daughter's daycare, I just sat there at the intersection, a little nervous. It's not that I don't know my way around the city. I've lived here for nine years. It's my routine—and it's being disrupted. Eliza even says, "Mom, this isn't the way to Rainy's." I grip the wheel a little harder, try to smile, and say, "I know, but we can get there this way, too." We really can. It's no big deal. Except that it is.

Everything must flow in order. And it's time to check the email, yes, I do that about forty times a day. There's always time for email, that can come in any order. How's that for quirky?

Yeah, check out the next blogarific link in the chain, Terri.


Abi said...

I always have to read back a few pages before I start writing too, and of course, every time I read through it I always edit. And I am a huge bullet pointer or note leaver when I'm wrapping up my writing session. I don;t want to risk loosing my train of thought.

Nice post! :)


H. L. Dyer said...

It cracks me up that you are so ritualistic in the order of everything but writing your novel. :)

And I'm with you, babe. I don't have a designated writing spot either. I feel deprived!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I also have to check the Internet before I start writing, and I also like to edit what I've written before starting to write. No wonder I never get anything done. ;)

Good post.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oooh, I love your blue writing recliner - it looks so comfy and inviting!

I also totally understand the check email and forums before writing can begin routine - I do the same thing. My husband will come in and say "I thought you were writing." Sigh... understand he does not.

Michelle McLean said...

I do the same thing! Email, forums, write - every time :D Awesome post! The part with standing at the bottom of the stairs made me think of the movie Pleasantville. Ever seen that? When Bud doesn't come in for work on time, the restaurant guy (his name escapes me for the moment) didn't know what to do, because the routine had been disrupted, so he kept wiping the counter off. :)

And nice chair!! I want one! :D

TerriRainer said...

I'm awfully disappointed that you don't also have a messy desk!

My life tends to run quite the opposite...I am all over the place, never doing the same thing in the same order, for the most part.

I envy people like you that have such set routines! I've learned that with five kids, routines just caused me frustration, because they are ALWAYS interupted.

Good post!

:) Terri

ali cross said...

This was way fun Elana! And I'm to-OH-totally with you on the order of things. If I somehow get out of order, say getting ready in the morning, I will totally miss something ... because it didn't come in its proper spot. It's very sad and disturbing.

High fives to quirkiness!

Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

I always read back over what I did the day before, edit as I go, and then start up from there, too.

And I think your blue recliner looks much more comfy than our desks. (But you know I don't do a lot of my fiction writing at my desk, either. *grin*)

Anonymous said...

I'm in the recliner right now. Frootie wrappers in the windowsill. I'm glad I'm not the only one who does some of the things I do.

Kate - "understand he does not." I love that. It's like Yoda. :)

Terri - I'd die without my routines.

Archy - *wink* I know exactly what you mean. I'm not ALWAYS in the recliner. *grin*

Anonymous said...

Definition of Quirky: The first thing I noticed was the cup next to your recliner and thought "Oh good! She has a drink!" :)

Anonymous said...

Leah! You crack me up! Yes, I almost always have a drink - or a popsicle - next to me. LOL! :)

Jessica Verday said...

Frootie in Frootie Tooties?? OMG Want.Some.Now. Those things are addicting, addicting, I tell you. (I don't have a writing place either! How cool.)

Anonymous said...

Jess, I shoulda posted on yours about the notebooks I use. You would die. They're the small green-paged ones. 6 inches by 9 inches, I think. I love them. They fit in my purse and I can take them anywhere. I did a lot of writing by hand this year while I waited for my kids at their swimming lessons.

And frooties. Dude, get them this Halloween season. They're everywhere, and the sour grape ones are phenomenal. :)

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