I recently started thinking about all the little things I (and so many other writers) do in order to get through our projects. (For the record I am, in fact, writing a blog post to avoid rewriting a chapter. I know. Shocker) So, I thought I would share with you everything that I do.
Let's start right from the beginning. My planning. Just like everything else, I find I'm not able to do this just sitting in silence. I've come to the conclusion that I just like to be surrounded by things that other people have created. Shows that actors have acted in. Songs sung by singers. Anything that proves I'm not the only on in the world trying to be creative. Or maybe just trying to get some of their creativity to seep into me.
For the brainstorming portion of my planning, I tend to throw on some show. Whatever I'm trying to catch up on. This may sound distracting to you. I assure you, it is. However, I am also taking in all the twists and turns that writers who have made it are throwing into the shows. It give me ideas. Sometimes it tells me exactly what I don't want to do, but that's usually better than what I had. Occasionally this means that I get to watch that show twice because I got so caught up in my planning I literally lost track of what was going on in the show. More often than not, though, I do tend to find myself dismayed by how little I got done. Still, it works for me (usually) and I do come out with a much better story than I started with.
Actually plotting is completely different from brainstorming. At this point I have to completely immerse myself in the story line. Which means that watching other shows only distracts me from the plot I need to put together. I get the two confused, or just completely ignore my own plot because, let's face it, I suffer from a severe case of theywritesomuchbetterthanido-itis. This also means that I turn to another form of creativity. Songs. I have a playlist on my itunes. (It's actually a work in progress. I currently have 264 songs in the playlist, but that number is constantly changing. Either I buy something new, or I delete something that just isn't working when I'm writing.) While I'm plotting I usually throw on some music in the background and get that plot done.
Writing is a lot like plotting for me. I need to fall into the story. Be so surrounded by it that I'm never quite sure if this world is real, or if the story I'm writing is. Of course, writing requires more of my attention because I have to actually pay attention to things like spelling and grammar (though I quite often fail on those even when I am paying attention). When I'm writing I turn the music up a bit louder and throw the headphones in. That way I'm not distracted by anything around me. I barely hear people knocking on my door. It keeps me focused, and helps me to make it through the writing.
Editing, my least favourite part of the writing game, is different than all the rest. I have what I like to affectionately call my 'editing movie'. Currently it's Star Trek. I know that some people think that I'm productive while it's on because some consider it to be not a good movie, but the truth is actually the opposite. I actually love the movie. I've seen it so many times I can practically quote the entire thing (and I may have even done so on occasion before. Don't judge me.) That's how I can put it on and pretty much tune it out. I can read the story or make the changes, because I'm not afraid of missing part of the story line. I know it well enough that I can glance up for a second and know exactly what's happening. Having a movie playing in the background seems to engage my mind just enough that I can get over the annoyed feeling of having to just sit and do one thing at a time. I'm hoping that I'll get some more editing movies in the future, but right now I don't have enough time to watch a movie enough to get to that point.
I would say that most writers have their little routines. Maybe not quite as strange as mine, but I know for a fact that I'm not the only one that listens to music as I write. Some, of course, can't fathom listening to music. I've had more than one person ask me if it distracts me. Honestly, I don't really hear the music I'm listening to when I'm writing. I use it to drown out the other distractions. But every writer is different.