Friday, May 6, 2011

Are U in the Mood? With Guest Blogger: Kristen Howe

Meet aspiring author Kristen Howe today at the Book Boost. She's here to chat about writing moods!

Here's what she had to say...

What's Your Writing Mood?

Whether you're writing a poem, short story, nonfiction article, or a novel, we're going to talk about our writing moods. The same thing applies to editing/revising/rewriting too. It all boils down to your preference of a setting, (along with the pros and cons that follows it), and the music on your Ipod's playlist.

Let's talk about the setting. Many writers go to a coffeehouse like Starbucks to do their work. Or even the library. Allison Brennan is one of them, for example. Others prefer to do it at home, like I do. Let's take a look at this match of coffeehouse vs. home.

At home:

Pros: You don't have to go anywhere far. You don't have to worry about traffic and gas. You have everything you need, all in one place.

Cons: Distractions galore. Life does throw distractions along the way, like family, the phone, the TV, your pets, etc. It all depends on where you work, and when. Plus, if you ache for loneliness and camaraderie of other writers, it could be a minus here. Nonetheless, we all work best alone.


Pros: Good coffee, conversation, and plenty of quiet to work on your laptop. You're also joined by other people, besides writers. Plus good Wifi!

If you prefer the library, you have a soundproof room of computers to work on. And if you need a break, you can always read a book in the meantime. If you prefer a bookstore, you can also go for the coffee and look for inspiration in buying a new book or two.

Cons: You do have to commute, get gas, and be lucky to have an empty booth for those places.
You do have a time limit to go on the computer at the library, since others are waiting. Plus, you do have to pay for copies, which is only a minor fee. At a bookstore, you would have to wait to print your work, when you get home.

Now, let's talk about working at home. For this battle, we're talking about the bedroom over an office. And if those are lucky, some people have a soundproofed “writer's room.” I use my bedroom, since I live in an apartment.


Pros: Your desk is right there with you, along with your books, papers, and other supplies. It doesn't matter, if you have a laptop or a desktop for this round.

Cons: Same distractions as above, especially TV, radio, and phone.


Pros: If it's soundproofed, it's distraction-free. If not, you have more room to put everything, depending on the project you're working on. Everything's turned off. You just have silence.

Cons: Silence may be golden, but it can bring boredom. A little music wouldn't hurt, now and then.

Let's break it down some more to computers and paper vs. pen, before we focus on what kind of computers. There are many advantages to have a desktop or a laptop. And for those who are lucky on having both, kudos to you.


Pros: You can save your work on a zip disk and external disk drive and make multiple copies. You can email it to yourself. You can print it out for edits. No one uses typewriters anymore.

Cons: Unless you have Internet/computer issues, or have a thunderstorm, you could lose your work, if you don't save it. Or if you break your computer by accident, you might lose it all on the Hard Drive. (We won't go into what kind of computers here.) And sometimes, you need to buy a new computer, which can be costly.

Pen and Paper:

Pros: If your computer is in a shop, you can continue to write here in a notebook. You can do it at home or anywhere.

Cons: For writing in notebooks, you can get cramps and needs your pencil to be sharpened. If you have an erasable pen, you might need a new one, if it runs out of ink. It can be lost, spilled on, messy, and needs to be a binder. Plus, if you're doing Nano or not, you would have to work hard to type everything down, and save it to disk.

Now, we're into a new fight of what kind of computer you use. And like I said earlier, for some of us who are lucky, we have two computers---the best of both worlds. This battle leads into the final rounds, before we talk generally about music.


Pros: This is great for travel, whether it's to your local library, bookstore, coffeehouse, or on the road, like on the plane. It's a huge plus, if you're doing Julno (July National Novel Writing Month) or Nano (National Novel Writing Month.) You can take it with you for your local weekly Write-ins. If you prefer to lay back on your bed, or if sick, you can do your work from there. And it comes in a cool traveling case. A good back-up computer, if your desktop PC is busted.

Cons: The only negatives I can think of, is that you have to wait to print your work, or save it. It's a minus, if you're on the plane though.


Pros: You have everything connected for your writing: External Disk Drive, printer, mouse, etc. You can lean back on an ergonomically desk chair.

Cons: You can't take it to you anywhere, travel-wise.

Now we're down to the final two rounds in your writing moods. Do you prefer to work in silence, or with noise? This is almost like the bedroom vs. office battle. This one is more general altogether.


Pros: Like the bedroom/office round, this is overall. You can concentrate on your work anywhere without distractions.

Cons: Overall, you can get bored and lonely. It may drive you crazy, depending how long you need to get your work done.


Pros: This maybe the best route to go to. Along as it's not too loud or soft, you can filter out the silence. Plus, life is full of distractions, once again. The phone might ring. If you have kids, pets or both, they might need your attention. And that goes for your significant other/spouse too! You just have to adjust and work with it.

Cons: Too many can drive you crazy, just like too much silence. Needless to say, not much work can be done, if not at all. Some is better than nothing too.

Now, we're down to the final round—what time of day do you write in? This can be generalized or broad, and the only one with three preferences. It all depends on our schedule too. Most of us can get 10-15 minutes in, while others have much more than that.


Pros: With your family at work and school, the house is yours, if you work at home only. Between chores and other household duties, it's all yours for a few hours. Ahh. Peace and quiet. For the weekends, you can work, while everyone sleeps in or they're out. Everyone's schedule is different. Then again, I've heard many famous writers who have families write in at late night/pre-dawn hours, when everyone's asleep. I prefer writing all times of the day—mostly edit at night, and write/edit during day.

Cons: Most of us work in the morning, and won't have this liberty, except for weekends. And if we're busy, it's very limited.


Pros: Same as mornings, only very limited, when everyone comes homes before supper-time, like sports and after school activities. But any time is better no time. You can even take your writing with you, if you have a laptop. With the weekends, same deal as mornings.

Cons: When your family's back, peace is interrupted. That's the only negative.


Pros: Best to take an advantage of this, until it's time to go to sleep. After supper, the kids are doing homework, your significant other/spouse is watching TV, the pets are fed. Time is on your side. And for weekends, you have more time.

Cons: Same as above.

Our final debate is on music preferences, whether on our Ipods or elsewhere. Since there's so many kinds of music out there, we won't go into that here. You can't lose on this one!


Pros: It doesn't matter, on what kind of Ipod you use. It all applies here. If you have selected a Playlist to your novel, nonfiction article, poem or short story, this comes in handy. I haven't done one yet. But I've heard, if you're doing action/fight scenes, you want something up tempo like rock, or a love scene, you might want to tone it down to a country love ballad. Those are just examples on how you set up your scenes.

Cons: You do have to pay for an Itunes card and have an Ipod. You do need to do maintenance, if your Ipod has issues. Plus, you would have to shuffle tunes randomly picked to build your list.


Pros: It's all free. You can switch stations. For the Internet, there's free radio stations like Pandora, when you can pick the songs you want to hear.

Cons: You do have to pay for the electricity though. Plus, you would have to use CDs to do it automatically, or cassettes. You would get a bad reception, if you're having bad weather too.

So there you have it! My writing mood battles. We each have preferences on how, when and where we write. We're all writers out there, just making the most of the time we have. Thanks for reading and sharing my debates. Good luck and God speed!

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Kristen and for your in-depth analysis of the battles we face when trying to find time to write. Best of luck in your writing endeavors!

Want More Kristen?

Follow her on Twitter here:!/Kristen_Howe

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