I am the most persnickety of writers whenever I am starting a new project. Like the princess and the pea, everything has to be just right. I have to get out of the house and be in a public space for stimulation, and I have to have coffee and snacks. Where does this lead me to? Starbucks, or some such coffee shop stands in for my office. I need a little noise and friendly banter with passersby. And then my creative energy only comes in bursts - I am never able to sit for more than two hours without taking some kind of break. Making all of those character and plot choices deplete my energy.
(My mentor and grandmother, Madeleine L’Engle, could write anywhere, but most often since I was born, she wrote at the library of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, where she was also allowed to have hot drinks and shortbread, or Chinese food from across the street.)
Once I have the first draft down however, I can write anywhere and for longer periods of time. I do not have to ban myself from my home; I do not need as many snacks. So now I can go to a library, or be on the train, or even in the kitchen while I’m making pasta for my husband and three kids! However, most often you will find me under the covers in my bed, doing the part of writing that I love the best: revising. Filling in the holes, deepening character, questioning motivations. Revision is the most fun, because I have the beginning, the middle, and the end, and it is like working on a puzzle, figuring out how everything will fit together and make sense organically. My writing is character driven, so sometimes the middle changes drastically, because the character is speaking to me and telling me she wouldn’t do something the way that I, the author, have designed it. And I have to listen! This is happening to me in my WIP right now. It is exciting but exhausting, and I am tempted to get out of bed after I write this post and hit up Starbucks for some inspiration.