Thanks for having me on the blog today to chat about my weird writing habits and where they happen.
Many of my writer friends create playlists for each book they work on. This gives them an ingenious way to quickly get their minds in gear to tackle the right story when they’re working on multiple projects. I am unfortunately not someone who can write while listening to music. When there are songs playing in my ears, I get caught up in the story they’re telling rather than my own. I prefer to write without a lot of background noise. It doesn’t have to be completely quiet, but I’m easily distracted by conversations and other sounds. This is why I’m not very good at writing in coffee shops either. I tend to eavesdrop on whatever people at the other tables are talking about and then inferring stories from that instead of moving my own fiction forward. While I was in school, I was like this when it came to studying as well. This often caused a problem since most of my college roommates preferred music in the background while preparing for exams and doing homework. Thank goodness for libraries that stayed open late.
Most of my writing takes place in my office at home. I love using my oversized monitor and ergonomic keyboard. And we live on a lake, so the view from my window is inspiring and calming. At least during the week. On weekends, the boaters and jet skiers are out in force and it tends to get a little noisy. That’s when earplugs are very useful. They are also handy when my English husband watches Premier League Football (British Soccer) a little too overenthusiastically. Another reason I love writing in my office is because I’m usually joined by my trusty sidekick Sammy. He’s a mixed-breed rescue dog who likes to nap on his bed next to my desk. Or right under my desk so I can rub his belly with my feet while I write. He’s also very good at reminding me to take breaks from sitting at the desk. Usually he brings me a toy that he squeaks obsessively until I relent and play fetch with him for a few minutes. Now that he’s fourteen years old, the naps are getting longer and the play sessions shorter. But he’s as enthusiastic about his toys as he was when he was younger.
I still love spending time in the library and often team up with writer friends in my area and book a library conference room for a full Saturday or Sunday. Everyone brings their laptops and a snack or two to share and we buckle down to do writing sprints. We write without talking for forty-five minutes straight—someone sets a timer—and then we chat and snack for ten or fifteen minutes before we start another writing sprint. I love these sessions because not only do I get a lot of words done by staying focused on writing, but I also get to catch up on what my friends are up to and just chat about writing craft and business. And something magically happens when a bunch of writers all gather in the same place. It’s like the levels of creativity exponentially increases just because we’re all thinking, talking, and doing writing. Even though I work super hard during these sessions, I return home invigorated and inspired.
As a writer I spend a lot of time indoors, so I try to figure out ways to do some of my work outside. The computer screen is too hard to see in bright daylight, so I only do outdoors writing stuff that involves working on a hardcopy of a manuscript. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest this has to be weather permitting, but on nice warm days I love pulling up a deck chair and mark up copy edits and page proofs while improving my writer paleness and replenishing my vitamin D levels.
What is your favorite space to be creative?
2016 double RITA finalist Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Vikings and Valkyries in her paranormal romances. She arrived in the U.S. as a high school exchange student and quickly became addicted to ranch dressing and cop shows. Asa currently resides on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. She graduated from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers program at Eastern Washington University with an MFA in creative writing and also holds an MS in Medical Physics from University of Colorado. Visit her at AsaMariaBradley.com, or follow her on Twitter.