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This time Mary Lindsey started the blog chain with the deep and academic question

What kind of quirky habits or rituals do you have regarding your writing?
(or regarding anything else, if that is more fun.)

Our previous chain was tied up with a bow by HL Dyer, so be sure to check out her Summary/Wrap-Up for Creating Story Worlds.

So back to the current chain question.  After Mary shared her neat-freak habits and took us on the magnificent world adventures of her writing buddy, a fluffy lamb named Beeyaaa (that's 2 e's and 3 a's).

Then Kate shared her unusual sandwich-eating tendencies, including her issues with tomatoes...which  makes her wonder if she might not have a touch of OCD.  She also showed us her writing space, which is remarkably dangerous given some Ikea shelves that loom over her head, just waiting to toss their contents onto her head.

So now it's my turn.  Yikes!

My quirkiest writing habit is that I like to write longhand when I get stuck.  I find the cursor blinking so patiently at me on a blank screen to be more mocking than patient.  But blank paper I find comforting.  I have notebooks filled with longhand notes around my writing areas.  If I don't have the notebook handy, I write on whatever I do and staple it in later.  I used to leave everything loose, but I'm kind of a klutz, and after you've dropped something like that a few times...well, a stapler becomes your friend.

When I edit, I often edit in longhand, and I'm very particular about using multiple colors of FELT TIP pens.  Pilot Razorpoints are nice.
It is very difficult to find felt-tip pens these days.  Everything has gone rollerball.  This upsets me, because I want FELT TIP pens. And you can't buy those things in OfficeMax anymore.  No, you have to go to an art supply store.  I'm very upset about the dearth of felt-tip pens in my OfficeMax.

Now, before you decide I'm OCD with my little felt-tip pen obsession, I think you should probably see my desk.


This is what my desk looks like when it's mostly CLEAN.  It's often a couple feet deep.  And this is an ongoing problem.  My desk at work is even worse. Students walk in and laugh. I have these great Post-It notes that say "My desk, my mess, my business." This was the best representation I could find since I'm not at work to scan them:

On a slightly different note, when people say "books to help you write better stories," I think of something a little different than the average writer:


Now, let's say you had a character named...oh, let's make her named Kate. *wink* And Kate thought she had OCD.  If you used one of those regular writer's books, you'd be in big trouble.  But I can just grab my DSM-IV there and check out whether the symptoms might show up if she had strange sandwich-eating habits, for example.


And I can also see in the Differential Diagnosis section the things she might have besides OCD.  Like...oh, hypochondria.  (Just kidding, Kate.)

So on to the illustrious Michelle McLean, who is going to share her quirky writing habits with you!

Readers! Have your own quirky writing habits? Don’t forget to post your own comment before you go!


  1. Kate Karyus Quinn said...
    Hmmm... this "Kate" character sounds oddly familiar. I think I might need one of those DSM-IV books so that I can pinpoint all of my mental disorders, and yes, I think hypochondria would definitely make the list!

    LOL. Great post!
    Suzette Saxton said...
    As far as quirks go, yours are fun! I'll be your notes look pretty with all those fun colors.
    Anonymous said...
    *shakes head* I don't get it. When you get stuck you write long hand? Gah. That'd be like a trip to the dentist for me. You really ought to try talking to a stuffed sheep instead.

    ...pirates. Hm.
    TerriRainer said...

    And with each desk I see on this chain, I feel so much better about my own clutter!

    Good post!

    :) Terri
    Anonymous said...
    And I can also see in the Differential Diagnosis section the things she might have besides OCD. Like...oh, hypochondria. (Just kidding, Kate.)

    HAHAHAHA! Nice one!
    Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...
    Gee, I'm glad I'm after you so you can't analyze my quirks. ;) But you've got some great resources there with your books!
    Michelle McLean said...
    LOL every post in this chain makes me feel better and better about my own little quirks (and my messy desk!) Good to know I've got company in my strange little universe :) And I love those pens!! Sucks you can't find them any old place anymore. Sad.
    Anonymous said...
    Dude, you can find anything on the Internet. Maybe...

    Anyway, I loved the pictures. I wish I had a desk I worked at. Now I'm all worried about what I'm going to post.

    Isn't it funny how we all have something specific we have to have? Love it! :)
    Abi said...
    Archy quirky? It is amazing how attached you become to a certain type of pen. I know I've had my favorites over the years.

    H. L. Dyer said...
    I have those same pens (not colored, though) and I think I got them at Walmart.

    I have to be awfully desperate to break into longhand. I've done it on occasion... trapped in the car waiting for my husband for example, or when I killed my laptop banging out my first draft last year (while waiting for the new one to be delivered).
    Carrie Harris said...
    I admire your longhanded tendencies. Can't do it myself; I'm a lefty. And every time I write longhand, I end up getting one letter stamped on the side of my hand, and then I smear it all around the page. It's not pretty.

    I have all kinds of medical reference books for my WIP; my character is a wannabe doctor. Although my greatest resource is hubby, who IS a doctor, so probably those books are here for show more than anything else. ;)
    Jessica Verday said...
    Yay! Someone else who has to have a certain type of pen. I can't even begin to imagine those who can just use plain pens to write with. *shudder*

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