Q2 – How do you write?

I like to write with a pen or pencil on paper. Pen in my steno pad, pencil on scrap paper if I happen to be working more tentatively, fleshing out a scene, for instance, or some chronology of events. Everything in my steno pads – thoughts, observations, worries, things overheard – forms the basis for later stories or novels. They are my raw material. I type the raw material into the computer, print it out, then work on the hard copy. Sometimes I work directly on the computer, too. But in general I find it less stressful, more intimate and private to work with pen and paper.

I have a rocking chair with wide arms in my second-floor study. I sit in the chair, place a piece of plywood across the arms and write on that flat surface. I got the idea from reading about Virginia Woolf, who worked the same way in the grubby back of the house where they printed the books for Hogarth Press. It gives me much more peace of mind to work this way than directly in front of a computer screen.

I like to get up in the dark when others in the house are asleep. I like to have the world to myself. I like to have the house to myself. Again, some sort of fertile peace of mind descends when no one else is about.

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