The Physical Needs of Writing

So I was going to make this a vlog. I even recorded it, but it’s already been deleted. I have a confession. I HATE seeing myself on video (or pictures). I avoid getting my picture taken like the plague, and so video and I … not anything I like doing. Maybe I’ll try again sometime, but for now, text, or maybe a podcast. But video.. not gonna happen for now.

But the real thrust of this post is about things you need when writing. Now I know if you trying to write, or you do write, you’ve seen 1001 things on structure and pacing, read more style guides than you care to count, and been offered many different software tools to write with. That is ALL necessary, and needed. But, I realized that there is a section that other “independent” authors seem to gloss over. Two things in fact. the two most import physical needs of writing that I think there are.

A Chair, and a Keyboard.

Bear with me.

A Chair. Not sexy, not interesting. But think about it. Your going to be sitting a lot, typing. And retyping, and then reading what you typed and hating some or even all of it. And through all of it, your going to be sitting. If your sitting in a chair you hate, or sitting in a chair that grows more and more uncomfortable the longer you sit in it, your going to have problems. When I started really writing Oversee of One, I had this chair that I’d had for several years. I quickly realized that while it was fine for sitting at while I was checking email, or even playing a short game, sitting at it for any length of time, and writing was near impossible. It just wasn’t comfortable. I replaced it with this. It was more than I wanted to spend, and I almost didn’t order it. I’m very glad I did. It’s been a great chair to write in. Comfortable, decent back support, and the mesh back, which I wasn’t sure I really would like is awesome for me in the lovely weather of Florida.

Keyboards. Now I’m not a guy who can write much on laptops. Simply put I got big hands, and little keyboards mean lots of mistakes. I’ve tried, but it doesn’t flow as well. I need to write sitting at a desk with a real full size keyboard. Wired or Wireless doesn’t mean much to me, I go wireless simply because it’s one less cable for me to catch my foot/leg on at 11:00 at night when I’m rereading what I’ve written for the last two hours. Some people love mechanical keyboards, especially if you like that ‘click’ sound when you type. It’s very old school, almost typewriter-ish, and I’ll admit are somewhat more responsive than a normal keyboard. However I just use a good quality wireless keyboard. The key for me was finding one my hands felt good with. I went to my local bog box retailer, and pretended to type on every keyboard they had on display. I’m sure the folks working there thought I was a loon, but the fact was, if I was going to be using a piece of equipment to create with, I wanted to make sure it felt good to do it with. I ended up with this one. I’m not using the mouse, just the keyboard. It’s responsive, doesn’t seem to drain batteries like my old one, and just works.

Writing is a very mental act, but it’s important to remember that it’s also a physical one. If the chair you plant yourself in, or the keyboard you use to type both don’t help you in that mental work, it can make the actual act of writing a tedious one.

 

Writing what I don’t know

So as I explore in this new book, I find myself in both highly familiar areas, and some that are different to me. I know IT, the ins and outs, and the personality types that are involved. I see it day in and day out. I’d say roughly 75% of the IT things (and office things) in the new book come from personal experience. ¬†But some, the thriller parts, the law enforcement, the legal parts, those parts I don’t know.

Now, for those who don’t know me (which is probably everyone reading this.) When I don’t know about something, I am a researcher to the extreme. I read everything I can on the subject, I ¬†pretty much drown myself in data for a day, days, or even a week or two. Then go from there. I even read an abridged FBI interrogation techniques manual for this new book. But that’s only half of it, at least in my process.

The other half is to find good fiction in the same basic genre, and read it. Not to steal ideas not to copy, but to see how other’s have handled their pacing, their background building. To make it believable and livable. I take notes, and take the data I have, and seeing how it’s paced in others stories, helps e make it ‘real’ for the reader. The ultimate goal in any story (and least the ones I write) is that I want the reader to ‘be there.’

Back in the distant past, I did a lot of theater stuff. I always remember an acting coach pushing me hard to ‘do not show.’ It’s the same with writing for me. I can put on a show, but does the reader get involved? Can I take that reader and have them feel along with the story. I want them to be not only an observer, but to be linked to the characters.

It’s not easy. It’s not easy in acting, and it’s not easy in writing.

Writing what I don’t know is one hell of a challenge.

 

But damn it’s fun when it works!