Marcel Proust wrote in bed, Gertrude Stein wrote in her car. What’s your writing process like? Do you have a special place that you like to write, or any rituals that you follow? What tools or software do you use?
Generally with one hand on my phone and a baby in the other!
I write my newsletter while sitting on the floor in front of my couch. It's probably routine at this point; that area makes my creativity flow.
I have a sofa in my bedroom, which is under the best light in the room. I prop my laptop on a pillow and type away. My newsletter comes out on Sunday afternoon, so I try to write the first draft on Friday afternoon. That gives me all day Saturday and part of Sunday to tinker with it. I also publish a midweek report, which I write on Wednesday mornings, just before I send it.
I'm trying to get better at writing on the go (although it looks like writing from home might be the trick for the next few weeks...), so airport Starbucks and budget hotel lobbies! I've found it super difficult with all the noise and distractions. BUT I just flogged a hot tip from Study Hall where one of the writers there says she starts her day off with a typing test. It's amazing! Something about the 30 or so seconds of the concentrated but kinda effortless flow of typing leads easily into, okay mate time to work now properly.
I wrote my first Substack post in my living room, last night. Then I recorded it as a podcast on my phone, under a blanket to minimize the reflective echo.
I do a lot of early drafting in my head when I'm walking my dogs. When I have some useful thoughts I will jot them in my notebook when I get back. And then, eventually, when I am about to burst with ideas, I sit at my desk and start writing on my laptop.
I've pushed forward some of my favorite pieces in airplanes -- something about being forced to sit there with no wifi or distractions -- you gotta reach deep.
I also like writing in public spaces with lots of natural light and hustle and bustle with my headphones in. From coffee shops to bars to diners. Feels alive and exciting and gets my juices flowing!
Software : Milanote to organize my thoughts and get those sparks of inspiration. Google drive to write out longer drafts.
I've been trying not to get too "precious" with my process, especially after a recent spine issue left me bedridden for a couple of weeks. Instead, I've been trying to think about having something to write in, on or with at all times—a mini notebook, a working pen, a phone—no matter how awful the WiFi or how incapable I am of making it to my favorite writing spot in the park with my favorite coffee in hand. Because of the recent injury, I had trouble sitting up and decided to try doodling anytime I felt I couldn't get through an hour or so of writing. If I feel there's something on my mind that needs to be written about in length, I'll pick up a notepad and just doodle away until I'm ready to write. It's actually been quite fun, and has helped me visualize my brain's reaction to life/words/books/the craft. I even created a Substack with my doodles! :-) https://wordvomit.substack.com/
I read a wide range of different things during the week and then on a Wednesday morning I sit in a local cafe and write the first draft of my newsletter. On Thursday morning I review the draft, fix all the errors, review again, fix more errors and then send. I find it good to have a fixed time in which I write, a fixed time in which I edit and send. I put these as blocks into my calendar and try not to let other things get in the way.
I like writing in a cafe as there is noise and life around me. I find it easier to concentrate and the vibe and activity helps me get into a communicating frame of mind.
I set todo's in Notion and allocate a few hours a week to writing them. I generally also write them in notion.
I wrote in my bed, on a bus, in an airplane, on a ship, on a train... If I want to write, nothing matters.
I'm notorious for getting blog post or newsletter ideas 45 minutes before I need to leave for church on Sunday morning and I haven't cleaned up and dressed yet. There's one guy in the congregation who very noticeably notices my lateness when I arrive.
Naked in a tree
Usually early in the morning — between 4–7 am; I use Ulysses and Airtable to organize things and write. Sometimes stopping to meditate midway through the writing session helps spark ideas.
in a gridded notebook with my muji pen, at a coffee shop
Such a fun question! Currently, on my couch ensconced in blankets. I belong to a coworking space in Providence called What Cheer that is beautiful and spacious and affordable. I love writing in a coffee shop. And I get some of my best writing done on the Acela Regional NYC to Providence route. In general movement seems to be good for my writing: I wrote a lot of my first novel on the subway when I lived on the next to the last stop of the R train and always got a seat! And going for walks always helps me get going. A voice will arise mid-walk so I’ll take a few notes then come back and the writing will often flow!
For those of us who aren't quite at the level to hire a copyeditor (I used to have one and it was the best... but these are leaner times for my biz), Grammarly is definitely worth the investment.
i like to write on the internet
I have a word count fixation - like pennies in a jar, I like to see the count go up as I write and I reach my intended goal. That's why writing in long-hand on paper no longer appeals.
I like keyboards. Revisions are easy. You can slip words into the stream and see how they affect the flow. Like throwing pebbles across ponds and the ripples radiate across paragraphs.
Typing in Arial feels different from Garamond. The content looks like it was dressed differently. And I type in frenetic bursts at times to capture the free-flow just as often as I stare into word starved blankness.
I use Penzu and even while it has remained largely static with several people complaining about it, the classical notebook format creates a certain atmosphere. Writing is like tipping a pot and seeing what emerges - cold, hot or honeyed prose.
When the deadline monster tells me it's now officially "Panic Time". By this point, I'll have exhausted every plausible self-excuse to procrastinate instead of write, and a good number of implausible ones too. There is zero slack left in the rope at this point, and the odds of making my deadlines are slim. Then, I will write until I'm done or drooling on myself, asleep at the keyboard.
I like to get draft ideas on paper as soon as I can, then transfer to Medium.com. Writing at my home office, distraction free, allows me the most focus!
I drive from Boise to Ontario Oregon every Tuesday night for "supplies". When I get home I poor a Jameson, put on some music, and peck away on my iPad. I'm an Amputee so writing takes me a long time!!!
I write at work using MS Word or Outlook if I need to disguise my writing as a work-related email. Gertrude Stein was a scam.
MacBook 12" (seldom the iMac 27") with Pages in full screen mode. Usually in the morning. Have tried dictation a few times with disappointingly mitigated results
I use an app called Croissant (getcroissant.com) that allows me to check-in and pay by the hour at one of over 70 beautiful co-working spaces around NYC! The app is super easy to use and has made co-working incredibly convenient, comfortable and affordable for me as a young professional. If you're interested, I'd love to invite anyone to join me and try it out as I also get guest hours with my membership. Or, if you'd like a free week and $20 off your first month, feel free to use my promo code "valerie17". (You can also join their referral program!!). Croissant is truly the best!
I like to write on my Laptop (Razer Blade 15).
I love IAWriter because of it's minimalistic and clean design (passionate minimalist myself).
I enjoy writing when I feel the urge to share something I've learned, which can be at home, on a train or somewhere else.
I also enjoy listening to chillhop every once in a while but love absolute silence more.
What about you? :)
i have my morning coffee place, my afternoon coffee place, and my open all night donut shop. sometimes i switch them up. but i have to be out around people, whatever i'm working on. they often ask questions or introduce me to new artwork, movies, books, movies, etc. (and i like to sit in a hard chair at a low table where i can see the whole store without having anyone behind me. otherwise, my mojo is off.)
after originally switching to Scrivener for screenplays, i'll never write anything in any other software app. i use it on my Mac, iPhone, and mainly my iPad (sync'd with Dropbox). it has freed me up to write non-linearly and keep all my research in one place — easier than having them all in separate documents or, heaven forbid, one single word-processing document. now, i jot down new ideas into a Scrivener doc, and those develop into final manuscripts. i even export (compile) my final PDF and ePubs for publishing directly out of Scrivener. it's a wonderful thing.
for my weekly substack stories, the question always is, "what's the challenge my reader will be left to make right?" (same for my published short stories and novels, actually.) i keep all my drafts in a single Scrivener doc for now (as i've just started) but will probably separate by quarter or year to keep it manageable.
I'm usually sitting on the couch, with MST3K on the TV
In the browser app, on my phone, while I’m nursing my baby to sleep. 🤦♀️
To create my daily email full of #CoolShit I start at my kitchen table, at 4:30am, with a fresh cup of coffee, an iPad, keyboard, good music in my headphones, and a giant pile of content to dig through.
Usually in bed an hour or so before I think I’m going to sleep. I find that’s when I’m most clear headed. I love to throw on some ambient, calming music in the background too. Once I feel that I’m at a good spot I put it away and save edits for fresh eyes the next day.
I write notes of ideas to include in my phone’s notes app at any time day or night then write it all up at the kitchen table on a Friday morning ready to publish
My favorite place to write theleanhouseeffect.substack.com is in nature on my Mac Book Pro. Something beautiful happens when money and the environment come together ;)
For long-form content at my desk at all hours of the day. For shorter-form content, I tend to write pieces of it absolutely everywhere at all hours and on all devices.
I like to write at the kitchen table or on the floor. I switch up.
in busy rooms like a cafe or facing a wall in a confined space - no window views, it's utter silence or motion i need. motion by day - calm by night
Laptop on the desk or couch next to my dog. Started Daily Art of War, each morning we send a short email with a lesson from The Art of War, https://dailyartofwar.substack.com/
I write in bed from a macbook. Google docs to outline everything. Have a slack group of writers who help me with feedback and getting to final draft.
I write https://wfhtimes.substack.com from my WFH setup, carved out from my bedroom (yes!) and only ever used for work. I also help my product management consulting clients from this same workspace.
Ideas are kept in a Workflowy, or sometimes in my daily journal.
I like to write in my newsletter *wink* (jamesgarside.substack.com)
I write on my laptop, in my notebooks, on walls, on scraps of paper, on the foreheads of innocent passersby. Wherever. It doesn't matter so long as I have tea.
So in truth: Anywhere I can sit drinking tea with headphones on.
Drafts come during random thoughts then I edit my newsletter and blog posts when it's time to post. Evernote is the Software, any special position? Maybe while I'm on my bed... But usually when there's less noise and distractions; words come freely. Such depth
I like to try and write at a desk but more and more I'm ending up laying on my sofa with a blanket over me. Maybe I need a comfier chair!
I writer from my back porch until it gets too cold, and in the summer when there's no rain I'll write from my hammock in the yard.
I write either shorthand Tweet storm like phrases in a notebook, or articles on my Substack blog, "in the weeds", which talks about how to be a better cook.
Before Substack, I used a Sublime text document, but now, I simply keep the draft I'm working on open in a Substack tab. I write almost exclusively via typing on a keyboard because the speed of typing follows the speed at which words vocalize in my head. For the most part, it doesn't matter where I am, but I can't have music. When I write, I talk to myself in my own voice, and that helps the content come to life, in my own authentic way. When I edit, I'll repeat it to myself as if I was narrating an audiobook, and that helps me catch sentences that don't flow or tenses that don't make sense.
The ritual I follow everyday is to "make before I manage," a la Tim Ferriss, which means, I write something, ANYTHING, before I start to go down my to-do list. This could mean my first couple hundred words are just crap, but once I get started, it flows out nicely, and I'm able to get a short article or half a post done.
It's all a work in progress, and I'm thinking of myself more as an artist just experimenting with the hard work of creation (in all of my pursuits), rather than the dull, pounding out of X amount of words.
Drafts, on iOS on an iPad. Best on a long train journey, I find.
This is the first I'm hearing about Marcel Proust writing in bed, and it makes me feel a lot better about doing that myself! Try as I might to get myself to use a desk, I always end up back in bed, lying down, typing away on my laptop.
I wish I had a beautiful desk in a wonderfully lit room and a nice routine. But I basically write wherever and on whatever I have handy: my phone, laptop, little notebooks, and paper slips. When I'm driving, I record notes on my phone. The one common thing to all this is that I always seem to write better during deadline pressure!
I usually write my newsletter from my bed. I like to be warm and curled up under my blankets. Still, sometimes it's easy to get distracted, and it helps to move to a table or a cafe for other types of writing.
It depends on what I'm writing. If I'm writing my newsletter, usually I write directly on a computer. If there's something I'm drafting up, I'll write on Google Docs. If I'm doing more creative writing or journaling, I'll do some free flow writing in a notebook. Usually my writing process starts either by jumping straight in to write down my thoughts, or jotting down a few ideas and then fleshing it out. If it's something that involves more research, I'll do the research first, then work on organizing it and turning it into a written piece.
I really love writing at the mall (especially in the summer when it is ridiculously humid). My mall has several food courts and one of the smaller ones has just enough foot traffic for the perfect ambient noise. Bonus, when I need a break from sitting I can go window shopping!
Me personally, it is not where.. but when I write. Nighttime when everyone is out partying or sleeping is when my mind races and I can really collect thoughts and ideas and put my fingers to work.
As for where? My home office with some lofi in the background gets me going... I’ve written in ubers, planes, trains, you name it. Sometimes those in-transit moments is where the best ideas come from