Seven Questions

[Originally posted on my former blog, Michael Runs the Gamut]

As part of an online meet and greet with other authors, we were all asked to introduce ourselves by answering a series of questions. These were mine.

Where do I write?

I have created a corner space in our study, no windows near the corner to distract me (see pic below). I built bookshelves which surround most of three sides of the room, plus one shelf which juts out from the wall, partially closing my space off from the rest of the room, giving me some privacy and surrounding me with my writing and reference books, and my novels. I attached a series of angled shelves to the bookshelves to hold my monitor and keyboard and to be my desk.

Image of my Writing Area
My little corner writing area (yes, everything has a purpose, especially the coffee mug on the right)

Look to my left in my writing space. What do I see?

I see my laptop. I like to be able to go portable sometimes, but at home, I use a 22” monitor, and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, so I can have a larger screen (to give me room for a browser window and notes on one side of the screen, and for my manuscript on the other side).

Favorite time to write?

None in particular. Maybe early morning, with a fresh cup of coffee, before anyone else is up.

Drink of choice while writing?

The above mentioned coffee, blended two parts decaf, one part high octane, a tiny bit of sugar, and slug of milk or cream. I also like my tea the same way (cream and a sprinkle of sugar).

When writing, do I listen to music, or do I need complete silence?

Both. No music when I’m alone in the room. When I’m in a coffee shop (or any other loud area) my headphones go on and I play some music I like (Sigur Rós, Dave Matthews, Bach’s Cello Suites by Yo-Yo Ma, Radiohead, Seryn, Fanfarlo, Elbow, etc.), often just to create white noise to counter the room noise. If I’m deep into editing something, the music is almost always instrumental (often ambient so I don’t get distracted by unusual rhythms or lyrics).

What was my inspiration for my latest manuscript, and where did I find it?

Two weeks before the 3-Day Novel Contest, I didn’t know what I was going to write about. We got a call, at 3:00 am, from the assisted living facility where my wife’s parents (both in their nineties) are living. My wife’s mother was wandering at night, and grabbed a china hutch in their apartment to steady herself. It came crashing down on her and knocked her to the carpet. The china hutch hit the opposite wall (fortunately, it was in a narrow passageway) so she was unharmed, just slightly bruised. My mind went into overdrive. What if someone had rigged the hutch to fall, but it failed? Would they try again? How? That became the main plot for my story.

What’s my most valuable writing tip?

Don’t give up. If you have to write, you’ll write, so don’t talk yourself out of it. Oh, and plant your butt in the chair and stay there, fingers to the keyboard.


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