What Affects Writers and Their Writing? (Penny Rader)

I poked around the Internet to see what I could find about what affects writers and their writing.  Found some interesting pieces and posted snippets below.  I do hope you’ll click the links and read the entire article by each author and perhaps find something of benefit to you.

Book Writing Tips: How Does Where You Write Affect Your Writing? (Lisa Tener)

 … where you write can affect your creativity and productivity, as well as your tone, how well the writing flows and the quality of the writing itself.

Try writing in:

  • A cafĂ© 
  • Your office
  • By a warm fire with a cup of tea
  • Outdoors (if you’re not in New England in January)
  • Bed
  • Curled up with your cat or dog on the couch
  • On a plane, train or ferry

Compare the writing and see how the venue affects it. What works?

Breaking Out of Writer’s Block (Apryl Duncan)

Common Causes
Unrealistic Goals
Neglecting Our Writing

The Cure
Change of Scenery
Rewrite Another’s Work
Use Real Pictures
Object Focus
Building Blocks
Life Events

Butt OUT of Chair (L.S. Taylor)

Yes, L.S discusses something I’m in dire need of: exercise.

  • Resistance Training
  • Sports
  • Water
  • Sleep
  • Stretching

Fear – And How It Affects Writers (Laura E. Bradford)

Fear leads to stagnation.

Stagnation leads nowhere.

… fear also leads to writers closing Word documents and saying "Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week."

… take that fear and put it into your work. Don't let it paralyze you. View it as something positive--something to help you improve.

Healthy Eyes: Tips for Reducing Eye Strain (Robyn Chausse)

In this article, Robyn discusses:

  • Office Ergonomics
  • Rest and Exercise
  • The Stretch
  • Zen Vision
  • The Painter
  • Lubricate

Knowing Your Personality Type Can Make You A Better Writer--Here's How

The Keirsey Temperament Test is a well known psychological test derived from Jungian psychological theory.  Through a series of short questions, the test will assign you a basic personality type--there are 16 possible types. Finding out your personality type can provide insights into your writing style, its strengths and its weaknesses.  If you are having problems with deadlines, writer’s block, or other wiring related difficulties, this test might lead to a solution.

Note from Penny:  This is pretty cool.  There’s a link to the test, which takes 10 minutes or so.  After you take the test, click the link called Your Personality Type and Writing.  And then, if you want more info about personality types, there are several more links to check out.

After you take the Kiersey Temperament Test, you might be interested in Andrea Wenger’s posts about the 16 Writing Personalities.

Music Affects My Writing (Steven Symes)

Part of my writing methodology involves music, since I have found music to be one of my writing muses.

I actually create a soundtrack or a playlist of songs. … I listen to different parts of the soundtrack or score as I write different parts of the story, since the music has the general feel I want to create for the story.”

Plotters vs Pantsers: How to Make Sure Writers Block Doesn’t Kill Your Dream (Glen C. Strathy)

Novel writers fall into two basic camps. On the one hand, plotters are those writers who like to plan their novels from beginning to end before they start writing. Pantsers (or pantsters), on the other hand, simply sit down and start writing, trusting that they will figure everything out as they go along. (The name comes from the fact that they write by the seat of their pants.) Both approaches have their advantages at certain times, but both can fall prey to different forms of writer’s block, which can prevent them from finishing their novel.

Fortunately, whether you are a plotter or a pantser, you can avoid this problem by knowing when to adopt a little bit of the opposite approach.

Sensory Tips for the Distractible Writer (Therese Walsh)

I am so distractible. Dealing with that aspect of myself is one of my greatest challenges as a writer. Though my doc has assured me that I do not have an adult version of ADD, I’ve wondered a time a two.

Being distractible can be caused by a whole slew of things—like genetics, parenthood, stress, and anxiety—but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.

Check out Therese’s article for more tips:
  • Minimize visual distractions
  • Maximize visual helpers
  • Minimize auditory distractions
  • Maximize auditory helpers
  • Maximize olfactory helpers
  • Maximize gustatory helpers

That Only Happens to Other People! - When Tragedy Affects a Writer's Livelihood (Karen Carver)

"What if" you were in an accident or came home from the military missing one or both hands? "What if" you were diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Parkinson's Disease, Diabetes, or Multiple Sclerosis? And what if you were a worker who made his or her living solely from writing or data entry? What if an accident or disease were to dramatically affect or possibly cut you off from doing what you love - writing? And what about that loss of income?


Writers' Dreams – How Do Dreams Affect the Writing Process (Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen)

Stephen King – Part of my function as a writer is to dream awake

James Hall – The more you pay attention to your dreams, the more you seem to dream or the more you recall what you’ve dreamed

Writing Ergonomics: Top Tips for Proper Posture, Alignment, and Movement (John Soares)

Freelance writers and everyone who writes or works at a computer needs to pay attention to proper body posture/position, alignment, and movement — if you want to be a faster writer and be a happier writer, you must learn about ergonomics.
  • Your Writing Chair
  • Your Writing Posture
  • Your Typing Hands
  • Movement at the Computer
  • Using a Laptop

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Penny! My desk sits in a corner of my dining room right by the window. I love that spot! Even though I'm in the middle of things, I still feel semi secluded from the rest of the family.

I write in the afternoons. Mornings are for romps with the dog, my workout, running errands and cleaning the house. All of this activity seems to free up my mind to write.

I only get writer's block when I'm trying to figure out what new project to work on. Other than that, I'm a plotter, so always know where my work in progress is headed, so that keeps the block away.

I do get distracted from time to time, but try to stay focused during my afternoon writing hours, unless the house is on fire. lol

Great informative post!

Anonymous said...

As always a very excellent blog. I'm so jealous of your ability to pull things together in an elegant salad of info.

bdtharp said...

Wow. There's a lot of really great stuff here. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Susan! Sounds like you have a lovely writing spot. I'm hoping to carve out one for myself in our new house...after we find it. ;D

Penny Rader said...

Hi Nina! I'm glad you liked the post. I worried it might be too...unfocused.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Bonnie! I love sharing all the great stuff I find and I'm thrilled when someone else likes it too. :D

Penny Rader said...
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Penny Rader said...
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Penny Rader said...

Nina and Bonnie, I forgot to ask. Do you have a special place that you've found to be especially conducive (sp?) to writing?

Anyone else not a fan of the new Blogger interface? I can't figure out how to make the comments show up as an email notification. :(

Joan Vincent said...

What a wealth of information and presented in a stylish and interesting manner. Great headings! It has very useful info--thanks, Penny!

Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Joan! When I plugged in the key words of the topic I thought it was interesting to see such a variety of articles.

Amie said...

I can totally relate to everything here! Great blog, Penny. Of course I'm just south of you in rainy OK and it looks like day 5 is upon us. But I had to comment on It Happens to Other People. I have been dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis for two and a half years. Once we thought we had it under control, I started having other pains. The doctor thinks it might be Fibro. Crap! Are you kidding? I'm too young for this! And it affects my writing in that RA makes you *extremely exhausted*. I'm a go-go-goer and I just can't do it like that anymore. And I tell you this all to say that I just have to flip it around. Writing is my escape. Of course, I write romantic comedies--or comedic romances as I like to say. But the stories and the characters give me a fabulous world to sink into. And I am so grateful for it. I don't know what I would have done (what I would do without) my writing! It keeps me sane. Well, mostly. :)

Barbara Mountjoy said...

INFJ! Well, something new to learn about. :)

I do best writing in my office, at my desk with a couple of pretty specific music selections. It's like, after all these years, that I am trained to write along with these soundtracks. I can really whiz through sprints of a couple of hours.

I've always wanted to be able to write in a cafe though! :)

Ilona Fridl said...

Interesting post, Penny!
I'm a pantser and if I come on to a writer's block, I just get up and go away from the computer for a while. Usually I can sort things out doing a mindless task. Later I'm ready to write again.

Jeannie said...

Lots to consider in this blog post, Penny. I'll have to check out that link to the article about writing personality. Lately, I've been writing at the kitchen table on my MacBook, but I'm starting to think I need to find someplace else. It seems like everything has been conspiring against the muse lately. Lyda got a job (good thing), but we're sweating how to have enough gas for the car to get her there (bad thing.) Lots of things breaking down, then in the sort of weirdness my life dishes out, they fix themselves and start running again or turn out to be not broken as bad as we originally thought. To top everything off, I've been fighting major head ache for about a week now. Go figure. Well, now that my whine is done, I'll see about writing some fiction! At least in fantasy, I have some control....^--^

Melissa Robbins said...

Great links, Penny. I love creating playlists. The music inspires me. I'm a plotter to the extreme. I recently read a t-shirt that said, "Writer's Block: When your imaginary friends don't talk to you."

Penny Rader said...

Hi Amie, So sorry to hear about the RA and fibro. I've never been diagnosed with fibro, but the fatigue I've been feeling is a real drag. Hope you have more good days than bad.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Barbara! What songs do you listen to? Maybe you could put them on an Ipod or MP3 player and give writing in a cafe a whirl?

Penny Rader said...

Hi Ilona. I think I'm somewhere between a plotter and a pantser. I need some kind idea of what I'm writing toward.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Jeannie! Great news about Lyda's job. Hope you're headache has gone away and that you're merrily typing away on your Mac.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Melissa! I haven't quite figured out how to create a playlist on my MP3 player yet, but I found playlist.com...or something to that effect...and have been enjoying it. Too bad every song I'd like to find isn't always available there.