1. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Can you 'turn it off or on' at will?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tea@3, May 22, 2016.

    Are you able to do extremely minute sessions, then abruptly jump into something else, then return right back to writing? (ie interruptions)

    Or do you require ample time to 'stoke the fire' so to speak?

    Generally, are longer or shorter sessions best for you? Or do you vary it?


    I'm trying to learn to be more flexible on this sort of thing, so I was curious how others handle it.

    Thanks in advance. :supercool:
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm. I don't usually write unless I can do it for a while - at least half an hour? It does take me a little time to get into the MC's head and figure out what the mood of the scene should be. I don't lose that with short interruptions, so I can jump back into it if someone asks me a question or whatever. Longer interruptions? I'd have to get back in the zone again.

    I've heard some people leave the last sentence unfinished whenever they stop writing, so the next time they can jump into finishing something rather than start a new section. Maybe that'd help you?
     
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  3. Nicole-tan
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    Nicole-tan Member

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    For me it varies. Sometimes I can multitask and others not. It really depends on how energetic and inspired I am feeling.
     
  4. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can write all the time. Editing is another story.
     
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  5. tumblingdice
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    tumblingdice Member

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    I like long sessions. I'm talking about 4-6 hours nonstop :D. I don't know, I just can't write anything for 30 minutes or so, go do something else and then come back to keep writing. By that time I've already lost the momentum and might just watch a movie instead.

    It's one of the reasons I hate being interrupted. It makes me furious, seriously. No, I don't want to watch cute cat videos with you, I'm freaking writing.

    I'm weird like that. Please don't judge :D
     
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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I prefer long sessions. But I'm used to interruptions. So either way works fine. I think you need to find a way to be flexible or else you'll sabotage your efforts. Unless you have some cabin in the woods and unlimited time there's always going to be something/someone trying to distract you. Best to just roll with it. A good way is when a person interrupts ask them to hold a second and jot down everything in your mind - where you're going to take the scene, incidents, comments before you leave the computer so when you come back to it those key phrases and words should jog your memory.
     
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  7. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    I can't control the on/off switch.

    I picture some kid out there, flipping a light switch in his garage. With every flip he offhandedly wonders what light it is he can't see that must be turning on and off, with every flip he destroys a part of my life.
     
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  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to write in marathons, but now I write in bursts, probably 30-60 minutes as a rule. Sit down, type out the ideas I had while I was doing other stuff, then go do more other stuff.
     
  9. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    It comes in spurts. Ten minutes here, couple hours there, and so on. There is no flipping of a switch, only the next little chunk to be added. So stop playing with the lights, you will ruin the switch and they eventually leave you in the dark.:supergrin:
     
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  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Turning it off is easy. Turning it on is like making pasta: it takes a while to get the water boiling. That's why I like long sessions. I won't sit down to write unless I know I have several hours clear in front of me. I find it very frustrating to try to write in half-hour bursts.
     
  11. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Complete opposite - I can open up any document at any time and do some editing, but actually writing is different.

    I have executive dysfunction issues which specifically effects the ability to stop and start things (and just generally focus on / figure out how to make those things happen), so personally I do have a fair bit of trouble with this. I try to not be at the whims of ~inspiration~ but the reality of the situation is that if I'm in a good mindset to concentrate and be creative, I need to hold onto it even if it takes seven hours, hahah. I can get myself into the mindset by force by making myself chip away at something until I get into it, but you can bet the writing I put out for the two or three hours+ it might take to get there will be garbage, so it often feels like it's just not worth it. And I'm not very good at switching tasks and getting back to things after I've been distracted, but again I can with time power through it. It's a massive annoyance but I do take pride in the fact that I'm a little better at managing it that I used to be!
     
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  12. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    I tend to get so focused on getting the story that's playing out in my head on paper that my sweet hunny, or one of the kids will say "hey! you need a bath and some food, and maybe brush your hair and teeth." :blech:
    I guess that's long bursts, right?
    Addendum: I never have too much trouble getting started.
     
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  13. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    If interrupted, I find it hard to get back into my story. I then start writing something else for about 15-20 minutes, then I can settle back into the story. I try to write more when the wife isn't home to get more done.
     
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  14. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I generally try to allocate 1-3 hours of interrupt free time. Both my wife and I when we are writing, cannot have external distractions: no TV, no music, minimum interruptions of each other... we have separate rooms for writing.

    That is not to say I use all that time effectively. Some of that time may go to this forum, some may go to playing freecell. Is that a time-waster or a means of focusing? I think more the former than the latter.

    I have a 20+ year old cartoon strip of "Shoe" sitting at a horrendously cluttered desk, computer in front of him. In various scenes he clips his fingernails, makes a paper airplane, moves paper from one pile to another. Then someone comes up to him and he says "Don't interrupt me! Can't you see I am writing?"

    Sometimes I feel like that!
     
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  15. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I almost exclusively write in short sessions (less than an hour), though sometimes I'm stuck for longer.
    I have no real problem with this, and often write on the bus to/from school (say 15 minute sessions) and during breaks in the lectures (5-15 minutes). However, while the time I physically write is short, I usually think about my story a lot in general (so getting into the setting and character's mood/situation tends to be easy).
     
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  16. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Roger that! My wife has taken to writing longhand while she is out, aher favorite coffeshop preferred, and when I drive two from work (hour each way) I turn the radio off so I can commune with my characters. Like @Komposten said, that speeds getting into the scene
     
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  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If I'm actually writing - that is, working on original composition - I want a block of at least an hour and preferably 2 or 3. For editing or certain kinds of research, like specific fact-checking, I'll utilize shorter time periods.
     
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  18. Vrisnem
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    Vrisnem Member

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    I prefer to write in 10-15 minute bursts as I find that is most efficient for me. The longer a writing session is spread out the more my attention begins to wander, so if I restrict myself to a small amount of time I find I accomplish a lot more.
     
  19. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I feel like I need several hours to write. It's frustrating. I wish I could write in short bursts the way so many people can.
     
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  20. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tried my wife's coffee house, "Cool Beans" for reading and pen and ink editing of the WIP. Worked nice. 15 more chapters, 300+ pages, to finish by the weekend
     
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  21. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    By virtue of my lifestyle (work 9-5) I only have about 1 hour sessions. Sometimes it takes awhile to get into it, sometimes I can jump right in. The best thing that helps me is to physically put my hands on the keys. Once that happens, the words follow soon after. It sounds like one of those internet "one weird trick" things, but it really works for me.

    30 minutes is about my minimum writing time, preferably. When you have kids, all bets are off.
     
  22. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have spent an hour on the bane of my existence, hypnotized by freecell repetitions. Yes, getting the fingers on the keys is critical.... Lew, let's get going, wine is waiting!
     
  23. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I'm not a machine. I prefer a fancy dinner and some mood-setting music first, but then I have a nice long session. Candles and a foot-rub also help too.
     
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  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's not just interruptions it's the fear of interruptions that handicaps me. It's why I do my best writing either early in the morning before anybody else gets up, or on days when I have the house totally to myself (which are few and far between these days.)

    When my husband it up and about, he does want to come in and yak at me. He will often peer into the room to see if I'm actually typing. When I am he says 'oh, I can see you're busy.' Which, of course, means he's already interrupted me. If I'm just staring into space, I'm fair game because I'm not actually writing, am I.

    He's supportive of my writing, but just cannot get it through his head that this kind of thing kills it. I often put a sign up on the door, saying 'do not interrupt' and he is pretty good at obeying that. But he snuffles around outside the door, and I know he's considering whether to risk my wrath or not. Even if he goes away without saying anything, the snuffling has interrupted me.

    I've made it clear that it's fine to interrupt me if something important is going on, or if he needs an answer to a question before getting on with his day. However, he tends to be very pedantic about this, and can come up with all sorts of reasons for why a question is 'important,' when it's actually not. He's a retired journalist, who was used to working while other people talked and moved around the room. Of course what he was doing was editing somebody else's work, not creating his own, but he can't get a grip on the difference. So rather than have WW3 every time I try to write, I just try to do it when he's not likely to be up and about.

    I can ignore the phone because I have an answering machine. It takes a long time for me to get scenes going in my head, and if I don't see and feel these scenes clearly, I end up just writing rubbish words.
     
  25. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I can barely turn it on at the best of times.
     
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