Sunday, August 10, 2008

Do Ask, Do Tell: Mark David’s Writing Habits

Everyone approaches the writing process differently. Everyone has a different way in to the blank page. Truly, there is no right or wrong way. Here's a peek into my writing it is right now...

1) Do you write on the computer or longhand?

All of the above. But no quill, despite the graphic illustrating this post!

I wrote The MoonQuest entirely in longhand, though each evening I input up that morning’s output so as not to be faced with having to type up the whole thing when I was done. I write about that experience and why it was so important for me in The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, which itself was written partly in longhand and partly on the computer.

These days, I do most of my writing directly on the computer...unless I’m stuck, in which case pen and pad are great unstickers.

2) Is coffee or tea part of your writing routine?

Even though I have an expresso machine at home, I don’t make very good coffee. A Tazo green tea blend (Zen) at home and soy lattes when I work in a café, a favorite thing to do (see #7).

3) Do you write best during the day or at night?

I wrote the first 100 manuscript pages of The MoonQuest in bed, before getting up. It was the only way I could guarantee that I would get to the writing. Most of the rest of the book was also written in the morning, before the day’s distractions set in. (See I Can’t Write Until I...)

Parts of The Voice of the Muse were written in the car on my way to work (mornings).

I still prefer to write in the morning, but do some of my best writing late in the afternoon, which is when I'm writing this.

4) What's your favorite genre to write in?

Anything inspirational and anything about writing. I also write fantasy (The MoonQuest) and essays. I don’t really choose my genres, though. They choose me...and I surrender. For example, I never expected to be writing fantasy...until The MoonQuest started spilling out of me. Who knows what I’ll feel called to write next!

4a) Favorite genre to read?

I spent many years devouring contemporary and older classics -- American, Canadian and European -- and have plowed through a lot of young adult fantasy, as well as books about spirituality, creativity, metaphysics and personal growth. These days, I read lots of mysteries and thrillers.

5) Do you use a pencil, pen or computer to revise/edit?

Unless it’s a short newsletter or blog piece, I almost never revise and edit onscreen. I much prefer hard copy and pencil, not pen.

6) Do you have any unusual writing quirks, traits or routines?

Earlier in my writing life, I would set up a little altar -- consisting of favorite crystals, art and other (legal) mood-altering devices. I even carried a portable version of my altar with me in the car if I thought I would be writing there. Now, I rarely need that sort of help getting into a meditative space for writing.

7) Do you prefer writing from home or writing in a cozy café?

I have favorite cafés I’ve worked from over the years. But I do better with fiction from home.

Here in Albuquerque, my favorite café is the Satellite Coffee on Montgomery Ave. When I lived in Santa Fe, I often hung out at the café in the downtown Borders.

8) Do you prefer music or silence while your write?

Both. Depends on my mood. When it comes to music, I prefer something meditative if I’m writing fiction. I’m a bit more flexible with other kinds of writing.

9) What's your favorite motivational writing quote?

Mine, from The Voice of the Muse: "The story knows best." It's proven itself to be true more times than I can count -- in my writing and in my life. So has this one, which also appears in The Voice of the Muse: "Rule #1: There are no rules. There is no right way. There is no wrong way. There is only your way."

10) Do you have a favorite bookmark?

Any scrap of paper!

11) What's your favorite fictional character of all time?

I hate “favorites” questions! I’d have to say that my favorite fictional character is the one who is engaging me in a given moment.

12) Who's your most admired living writer today?

See #11.

What are your writing habits? How have they changed over the years? Please share them here or post them on your own blog.

Thanks to writer L.J. Sellers for inspiring this post.


L.J. Sellers said...

It's fascinating to see how different we all are about getting our ideas down. But we agree on this: The story knows best.
Thanks for the mention. And if you like mystery/thrillers, check out The Sex Club.

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, LJ, for the inspiration and the comment. It is, I suppose, the perfect expression of creativity that so many writers approach their art and craft so differently. Just proves that there are no rules!

Valerie said...

We appear to have had the same history of reading interests. Isn't it interesting that after immersing oneself in metaphysical readings, one ends up reading mysteries and thrillers? Try Laurie King's series on the wife of Sherlock Holmes. The first in the series is THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE. King, who is an American, did a fantastic job of capturing London and other parts of the world during the time of Holmes, not to mention her skill in creating suspense.

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Valerie. I've enjoyed Laurie King's Kate Martinelli books; haven't tried the Holmes ones yet. I'll add them to my list!

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Those are great questions!

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter 1 is online!

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Beth. How about posting your answers to them here?