Over the years I have heard and read any number of ways writers go about their business. Most are relatively straightforward, others a little quirky. There is, for instance, a writer from Texas who strolls the streets at night with pencil and paper in hand, writing as he walks. There are people who do not write unless certain conditions apply: a prescribed number of freshly sharpened pencils all lined up; a favored selection of music playing in the background; a cowboy hat perched atop the head.
And so on.
Me, I can and do and have written things anywhere and everywhere. In airports and on airplanes, on the bus, alone in my office, at the kitchen table surrounded by family, in motel rooms, at all times of the day and night, in front of the TV, with a radio or music or nothing playing…. Well, you get the idea.
I also write in my sleep. Don’t ask me how it happens. But many (it would not be pushing it to say most) mornings, I wake up with a string of words stuck in my mind. If I went to bed with an advertising assignment pending, I would often awaken with an idea, a headline, and even a draft of the copy ready and waiting.
It happens with poetry, too. A couplet, a quatrain, a stanza, even the basis for an entire poem may greet me with the sun. Or dialogue—a whole conversation between characters—for a novel in progress. A way to say a passage, an opening or closing line. An idea for a character, a story, a detailed concept for a novel, the framework for an essay or magazine article.
Sometimes I even see it happen. In that not-quite-asleep-but-not-yet-awake time in the morning, ideas and words and phrases ricochet around in what passes for my brain and I just sort of lay there and snooze and watch as they turn into something useful.
That’s all for now. I’m going to bed. Maybe, come the morning, I’ll have more to say.