Apr 11, 2014


True fact: this list contains my personal writing habits in all their shameless glory

Before I get started on un-peeling my soul for your curiosity I would like to thank the blogger that started this meme, Alessandro Girola. His post is in Italian and so are the others that followed, spreading the idea online for the last week. 
I hope this post will allow the meme to spread worldwide, as I came to understand long ago that, no matter where, when or how, writers need the support of colleagues to get through the rough days of lonely brain squashing in front of the white page.

The List of my Writing Habits

1. The ideas from my stories come from brainstorming exercises that I collected from various blogs and "how to become a writer" e-books. My favorites are directed freefall and clustering, both on paper or using MindOnTrack, a free online software to create cognitive maps.

2. I find it hard to plan what to write before I get started writing. My stories usually flow easily out but then get lost in some crazy mystery plot that I myself can't solve. I rarely get to know the end of my own stories. 

3. To help me get more organized and actually have a plan, create chapters, subsection and character cards, I downloaded Scrivener and after the free trial month I bought it for just less of 50$. It's probably the best spent money of 2014 as I find it extremely helpful and easy to use.

4. Being a traveler means learning new languages, that is great except for when you want to express yourself and all that comes out is some sort of Esperanto blob. Living in Canada means I think and dream in English, but writing... oh, that is a complete different matter. My spelling and dictionary are quite good but I'll never be able to master the slung and the intonation like I do in Italian, my mother tongue. Moreover, emotions are stored in the right hemisphere of our brain, and so is our mother tongue. Every second language, on the other hand, goes straight to the left brain, together with logic and maths. Still, for some unknown reason, I keep writing in English. It could be because English is my language of choice when it comes to reading.


5. I usually read 5 books at one time, all tightly packed in my beloved Kindle: one classic, one mainstream, one non-fiction (mostly on writing), one memoir/biography, one culture-specific (Japanese/Italian/Canadian). In my daily life, whatever does not include learning, I consider utterly useless. That is, except when I'm lazy, traveling... or drunk.

6. I wish I could write like Isabel Allende or J.K. Rowling. For now, I would be happy enough if I could reach the standards of Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern. I don't have a style or a genre of choice yet, but I'm afraid my novels would be considered chick lit

7. I love metaphors, sarcasm, lively paced quests.

8. I hate horror stories, detailed descriptions and introspective boredom.

9. Writing is very tiring and when I manage 1000 words in a day I need a one-week holiday to recover. It's hard to read what I wrote a second time, for fear of finding it unreadable (it usually is). Critiques are widely feared by my fragile self-confidence.

10. To choose a title I usually stare into space and shake my head every now and then. Other times I write a list and then cross out the items until I come up with one winner.

11. My characters are female. All of them. Males are extras that appear in my stories only to humiliate themselves and disappear again. My mother is a constant presence in my writing. Apparently not even my subconscious can get rid of her, ever.

12. Most of my writing is in third person, not by choice. It comes natural and easier than the first person.

13. I often use WordReference to check for vocabulary and translations. I find it accurate, thorough and helpful.

14. I write alone in silence. I write as soon as I wake up, or I'll have to wait until everything else is done before I can focus on writing.

15. Having a blog helps me practice my writing, find other writers I can share my pains with, express myself and my interests. I would like to have a blog in Italian so I could share more with my friends back home and the local writing community. What is holding me back is I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to keep the commitment to two blogs. 

Share your list

It's your turn now. I came up with a 15 items list but others have 20, 25 or 52. It's up to you. 
Why should you spread the meme?
It's a good exercise. It helps getting to know yourself and what you like. You'll be more aware of what you do when you are writing and why you do it.
I would be honored it you wanted to share your list by adding a link on the comments below. 
If you can read Italian, here's the links to the other bloggers that have shared the meme in the last few days:

penna blu 
anima di carta 

Have a good novel!