I am so excited to host Scott Tracey here! He is a rock star, because he is so entertaining. Not only did I love Witch Eyes (read my review), but I’ve been following him on twitter since before I read his books. His tweets always make me laugh and one time he tweeted about how Somoa’s were the best Girl Scout cookie. (Yes, that is the tweet that made me pick up his book. That is a completely reasonable criteria on which to judge a person, but feel free to disagree in the comments.) Yesterday he tweeted this, which is probably my favorite tweet from anyone for the whole day:
I asked Scott to share a little bit about his writing process and writing space. His response is below… with pictures, and there is a giveaway at the end!
Writing is, they say, 3 percent inspiration and 97 percent perspiration Or it’s 3 percent inspiration and 97 percent keeping your butt in the seat. For me, it’s about cutting out as many of the distractions as possible.
I typically write in my room, at my desk. However, the problem with having a big desk with a lot of real estate? It’s really easy for things to pile up on it. And the more it gets cluttered, the more difficult it is to write. On the plus side, I have a laptop that can go anywhere in the house, and in a pinch, I’ll flee my bedroom (because cleaning it just isn’t an option) and go find somewhere else to work. The kitchen table, the basement, the couch, the other couch, in front of the television, on the stairs, in the comfy love seat, in the uncomfy love seat, on the floor by the coffee table…
The problem being, of course, that as the clutter spreads like a virus into each of these places, I then have to flee and find somewhere else to work. As I speak, I’m at the kitchen table and there’s a mountain of advertisements and other useless mail that’s threatening to fall over and suffocate me. It might be time to go back to the living room.
So yeah, writing space is probably not the best place to start. When I get stuck and start to panic, I just pick up and move somewhere else in the house. I figure the change in scenery can’t hurt, right? And if I don’t see the clutter, then I don’t have to feel guilty for not cleaning it up.
For me, the most important part of writing is the focus. I get distracted easily, so I have to do whatever I can to limit the things that pull me away. When I lived in a much smaller apartment with a roommate and we both had to work in the living room, I sequestered myself into one of the corners and faced the wall so I wouldn’t get drawn into whatever she was doing.
It’s all about the headphones. What I listen to depends on the day, but the one thing that never changes is the headphones I listen to them on. If you’re easily distracted like me, I suggest using a pair of stereo headphones that cover the ears. Not only is the sound quality better, but it diminishes how much of the outside world you hear at any moment. And it’s perfect for me.
I’m easily distracted so I have a playlist going whenever I’m working. Sometimes it’s a book playlist, sometimes it’s a movie score, and sometimes it’s a white noise generator or a rain background. It really depends on the day, and like the location, I can tailor it as needed.
The next part of the process that’s so crucial for me is the accountability issue. I keep track of how much I write every day, and keep it somewhere where I can stare at it day after day. If I wrote 1800 words every day last week, there’s no reason why I can’t do that this week. And actually, if I did 1800 easily, then I should be able to write 2000 words a day this week to push myself.
Accountability is a huge motivator for me. I love doing word sprints with friends or word wars: timed writing sprints where you compare your end word count with a friend afterwards. It keeps you focused, and keeps your eye on the prize. That’s what I love best about it. It’s fun, but it’s also productive, and that’s the most important part.
At the end of the day, for me it’s all about finding ways to limit distractions and focus. I try to find places to work where that’s possible. My best results, of course, are writing retreats where I can completely pull away from my usual distractions, but that’s not always a possibility.
Thank you for sharing, Scott! I, for one, know exactly what you mean about distractions and I’m pretty sure lap tops were invented by someone for the sole purpose of escaping clutter.
I’m giving away the winners choice of one of Scott’s books. The book needs to be currently published (Witch Eyes, Demon Eyes, or Moonset) and is open to anywhere that The Book Depository ships.