Writer Quirks

Saturday, April 23, 2016
All writers write. But all writers write differently.

I went around and asked my lovely writing buddies about their most interesting writing quirks. And here they are. 

- - -

"I type faster and more accurately with only my right hand."
but my typing speed stands up to someone with two hands.

"I sweat and shake when I'm writing an emotional or intense scene."
and when I get really into writing, I rock back and forth without realizing I'm doing it.

"I clean the whole area before I write."
I usually write in my room, so I have everything put away and straightened before I sit down to actually write.

"I have to chew something while writing."
like gum, sweets, or a pen.

"I write better when it's completely dark."
with a dim computer screen. And black document with white text.

"I write my first draft without chapters."
I don't mean for this to happen -- I just lose track of words and scenes and before I know it the book is finished without any chapters.

"I type better if I don't actually look at what I'm typing."
embrace the typos.

"I like to sit in weird positions."
I haven't been able to (yet) figure out how to sit upside down on the couch with the laptop on my lap.

"Every time I write a good sentence or scene I have to get up and walk around because I'm so excited about it." 
Every. Time. And usually I go to the bathroom...

"I write better after I read."

"I have to be listening to stand up comedy..."
...and I write dark short stories and poems.

"I can't write well sitting."
I have to be standing or lying down.

"I talk to myself to brainstorm."
I'll open a document and have a chat with myself. Plot with myself against myself. Scream in all caps at myself.

"I steal pens."

"I hand write all of my books."



"I only listen to a few specific songs."
I'm able to forget that I'm listening to anything, then accidentally keep one on repeat for literally hours without noticing music is on.

"When I come to a character name that I haven't come up yet, I write something like [Name of That Idiot Jerk Dude].
Then I'll fill them in later once I actually come up with the name.

"I type with my eyes closed."
I like to picture the scene in my head and describe it with my fingers. Can't open my eyes to edit or anything because I'll lose the visual.

"I wrote more words the earlier it is."
When I was writing my first drafts, I'd wake up at 3am and work from 3 to around 7 to get the most words down.

"I tend to take on the expressions of the characters I'm writing while writing them."

"I usually can't write anything until around midnight."
I have to be really tired and basically ready to fall asleep at any minute before I can do anything productive.

"If I'm writing a really intense scene, I start talking as if I'm dictating it while I type."
It's weird.

"I have to be drinking tea."



"I've been told that I scowl at my laptop."
I think it's just the face I make when I'm concentrating, but apparently it's kind of unnerving.

"I either listen to really loud metal music or complete silence."
Depends on the day. It's weird.

"I write 97% of my novel with the help of word wars."
Lifesavers, I'm telling you.

I dance while writing occasionally.
Also, I cry when I write something good.

"I've noticed that I tilt my head to my right shoulder."
I leave it there until the momentum of the scene is gone or I start getting a crick in my neck... Whichever comes first. xD

"I always have a glass of Gatorade."

"Sometimes I'll sit on an exercise ball while writing."
And "attempt" to balance my laptop on my lap.

"I write faster when I am just slightly hungry."
I don't know why. xD


// katie grace

(thanks to my friends over at the Go Teen Writers Facebook page for sharing some of your writer quirks! <3)

(AND, the giveaway winner is Rosalie! Congratulations. :D)

Can you relate to any of these quirks?
What are some writing quirks that you have?

124 comments :

  1. #firstcommentaward ;)

    This was so much fun to read! I love hearing about the quirks of other writers... we are all very different. :)

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    1. *awards you pizza, mwahahaha*

      ISN'T IT FUN? This was one of my favorite posts to put together. :D

      Delete
  2. These are all awesome xD Most of them are really relatable (why does it always say relatable isn't a word? It is, dangit!) and this is just compiled proof that writers are very odd and eccentric people.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. (gasp, relatable is totally a word. That's weird xD)

      Yesss. We're so odd and I love it. :P

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  3. Hehehe great post! It's nice to hear exactly how odd all us odd balls are XP

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    1. Hehe, thank you! <3 It was great fun. xD

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  4. These are super funny! Writers are wonderfully strange creatures.

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    1. We are. :P Strange AND wonderful, like you said. Interesting combo. xD

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  5. This was so fun! I love the way you formatted this post:)

    I find that I get my best work done while writing in an Evernote note on my phone, on the bus. Which is strange and also kind of pitiful, haha.

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    1. Aaw, thanks!

      Ooh, on a bus? Writing on a phone? o.O I'd get so distracted, probably. Not to mention that I'm HORRIBLE at writing on a phone. *alllll the typos*

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  6. I loved this post! We writers are a strange breed, aren't we?

    I get really worked up when I'm writing an intense scene. Like, if I stopped writing right after I finish an intense scene, I will literally feel shaky and a little drained :D. Another quirk of mine is that I only write with a gel pen. I mean, I WILL write with a normal pen if I absolutely, positively have to, but otherwise I refuse to use anything but a gel pen. And I normally go through a pen every week or two, so I'm constantly buying more :D.

    (by the way, I recently re-vamped my private blog and was wondering if you would take a look at it? I would love to add you as one of the allowed readers!)

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    1. Savannah, is there a link to your private blog? I'd love to follow it if you'd be willing to let me in. :) You are super sweet; I'd love to read a blog by you. :)

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    2. SAVANNAH. I didn't know you had a blog. :O Would...would you possibly be willing to let me see it? I'd be thrilled to pieces because, girl, YOU ARE THE SWEETEST. Your comments make my day every time. *huggles* Anyway, you certainly don't have to--I completely understand that--but I would be honored if I could follow your blog.

      Delete
    3. Oooh, gel pen? Interesting. AND A PEN A WEEK IS A LOT. o.o Wow. I'm in awe.

      *gasp* YES. All the yes. I'm squealing at the thought of being able to see your blog! ^.^ Do you need my email or anything? *dances* Eeep, so much happiness!

      (and I echo Emily and Mary. You are the sweetest, girl. <3)

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    4. Emily and Mary: Well, I THINK that I MIGHT (notice the huge emphasis on 'think' and 'might') be starting a public blog in the next few weeks, and y'all can see it then. If not, I'll ask my parents about adding you to my public blog :).

      Katie: Yeah, I'll need your e-mail, but I already have it since you e-mailed my mom when I was beta reading for you :). So I'll be inviting you soon! (also, don't judge my poor blog by older posts. I started the blog when I had absolutely zero idea what I was doing, LOL XD.)

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    5. (argh, wasn't done with my comment) And guys? YOU ARE THE BEST. Your comments made me grin so hard :D. *hugs all of you*

      Delete
    6. *realizes ridiculous typo in first comment* Oh man, I just said I'd ask my parents about adding you to my public blog. *facepalm* Good grief, me and my typos!

      Delete
    7. EEK! I. Have. So. Much. Excitement. One, for getting to read your blog. And two, that you might start a public blog??! *screams* Wow. I would read that so much. xD

      Delete
    8. *squeals* OH, Savannah, I would LOVE it if you started a public blog. :D

      Delete
    9. EEEP, I'M SO EXCITED! I would be beside myself with happiness if you started a public blog. :D :D :D

      Delete
    10. YOU GUYS I CAN'T EVEN - You're all making me smile so hard :D. Y'all will be the first to know if I start one!

      Delete
  7. My writing quirk is that I tend to make the face expressions that my characters are making. I also get depressed and sad when I write a scene were someone dies. 😄😝 XD

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    1. YES. I always take on the face my characters are making. Or mouth what they're saying. :P
      Aaaw. *hands chocolate* Not good... not good. xD

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    2. *accepts chocolate and heats it up with milk to make hot chocolate*

      Delete
  8. Oooh, this is so funny!! I can relate to some of these. =D Love this post!

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    1. Isn't it? I loved seeing what writers had to say. :D
      Thank you!

      Delete
  9. Huh, these are so interesting! I don't do any of them, I think... really, I don't think I have any writer quirks. I am just boring. :P

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    1. Aaaw. xD Well, you're still a writer, and some people thing that's interesting enough by itself, soooo. :P

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  10. This was a great idea!!! So funny :D I actually take on the expression of my characters quite often...I even do it when drawing (most the time it's when I'm trying to portray a vivid emotion). Lol!!!
    -mic

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    1. The same thing happens to me! When I draw I often find myself frowning or smiling like the character I am drawing!

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    2. Oooh, I like that you do it while you're drawing. So funny. xD

      And that's awesome that you draw! ^.^ Do you do it often? What do you normally draw?

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    3. I normally draw people-girls. You can see some of my doodles on Mic's Room as well XD. http://lovelypinkduckshome.blogspot.com/2015/10/on-craft-table-fall-decor.html
      -Mic

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  11. Interesting... I don't do very many of these other than WORD WARS YES LIFESAVERS.

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    1. WORD WARS. ALL THE WORD WARS. FOREVER AND EVER. They are so helpful. xD

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    2. WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A WORD WAR!!!!!!

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    3. Its when a group of writers get together and have a set time of usually 15-20 minutes and whoever writes the most, "WINS" but most dont really keep score. Its just a fun, social way to get words down

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  12. I think I may occasionally make the same expression as one of my characters while writing...

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    1. Yesss. Somehow I feel like it might make it easier to describe what the character is feeling? I dunno. It's hard NOT to do sometimes, though. :P

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  13. I do a few of these. :)
    For instance: I scowl at my computer,I tend to take on the expressions of the characters I'm writing while writing them, and I only listen to specific songs.

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    1. Scowl at your computer. xD
      Ooh, what specific songs do you usually listen to?

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    2. I listen to any songs by For King & Country, and Cathedrals (Tenth Avenue North) :)
      Do you listen to music while you write?

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    3. oooh, For King and Country is awesome! I saw them live in concert a year ago and they were amazinggg.

      I listened to the Interstellar soundtrack while writing A Twisted Star. Otherwise Switchfoot and Twenty One Pilots.

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    4. I saw them in concert!! They were so great :D
      Ooooo, Interstellar. Love that movie :)

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    5. *sneaks into conversation* Ooo, you saw For King and Country in concert? That's so cool! I love their song 'To The Dreamers'.

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    6. Savannah:
      ME TOO! *fangirling*
      I really like 'Without You' and 'Priceless,' too :D

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    7. Hmm, I haven't heard 'Without You' or 'Priceless' before. That shall have to be remedied :D.

      Delete
  14. WORD WARS. AMEN.

    That is all.

    JUST KIDDING. I'm not letting you off the hook with a comment THAT short. ;)

    THESE WERE HILARIOUS. And super interesting! I think I share like...two or three of these? My stories are essentially written via word wars, I use the brackets when I can't come up with a name for a character, and I used to write all my stories by hand (before I got my precious laptop *pets*). And I also tend to write verrrry late at night. Oh, I guess that's more than I thought. :P

    ANYWAY. I loved this post. So much weird going on in the writing community. XD

    ReplyDelete
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    1. *only got fooled for a small moment* xD

      AREN'T THEY?? It was so much fun. :D And yay for late night writer! *high fives* I dunno, but something about writing late at night feels very writerly. Alll the weirdness. xD

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  15. oh my goodness, I tilt my head to the right when I'm really into it. Like, I don't even realize I'm doing it for a while. XD And yes, I have to force myself to do the chapters. XD

    Loved this, totally awesome idea! XD

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    1. Ooh, you do? I'm tilting my head to the left a bit right now, but I'm not sure if that's just because my neck is sore from bending over the computer screen.

      CHAPTERS. That was one of my own quirks I dropped in there. So. Hard. To. Remember. :P I need to put a sticky note on my computer reminding myself or something. :P

      Thank you! <3

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    2. hahaa, it's strange because I don't even realize it. I wouldn't say I have any really odd quirks, or maybe I just don't realize them. XD

      *jaw drop* Like...I put a sticky note on my computer with "CHAPTERS" written on it. Try it, it worked for me! I also find if I have a range amount of pages I normally do for a chapter, I usually just scroll through every 6 or so pages and start a new chapter. It helps me to remember, and work on chapter "cliff hangers." You should totally try the sticky note thing. XD

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    3. I will HAVE to do the sticky note thing the next time I write a first draft. Which will probably be November. So I'll make sure to report back. *nodnod* :P

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  16. I put in chapters randomly whenever I get sick of scrolling to the bottom of the chapter to find where I am to start writing, I think I shall have to re do a lot of my chapter placements, but who cares it is a first draft.

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    1. Exactly. First drafts can be messy and I take SERIOUS advantage of that. And always regret it when I get to editing. Buuut, oh well. :P

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  17. All these are pretty interesting. The "no chapters in the first draft thing" is the same with me. I cannot do chapters in the first draft; it breaks the flow. I put markers where a particular scene ends and when I have a POV switch; that's it.

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    1. Yay! I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one with that. :P I usually don't get chapters in until the 3rd or 4th draft. :P

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  18. These are the best! I also type better when I don't look at the keyboard. My typo's are soooo bad :') I go back and have to work through what I was trying to write.

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    1. Ewww. Beware the attack of the typos. *sigh* :P

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  19. These are absolutely neat (and weird but awesome) quirks! (Aaaand I see mine up there, haha)

    I relate to two really strongly, and that's the loud music while writing thing because the louder and more rock-ish (that's an adjective, okay?) it makes me more pumped to write, so my headphones go on in the morning! Also the 'I write faster when I'm slightly hungry'. YES. Food is a great motivator!

    I wish I could write with a cup of tea by my side, that would be really fancy and calming at the same time. Sadly I can't stand tea :P

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    1. (oooh awesome! I didn't recognize you on the GTW Facebook page :P)

      Definitely on the food! I often TRY to put a piece of chocolate beside me to motivate me, but... it never works. I just eat it write away.:P

      I'M WITH YOU. Tea and coffee... eh. Though I haven't actually TRIED much tea, so I can't really form much of an opinion.

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  20. Word wars are what fuels my novel. Especially since I am very competitive it makes me write faster.

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    1. SAME. I'm such a competitive writer. It probably isn't the smartest thing, but... hey! It makes me write faster. xD

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    2. It probably isn't but it works. And then you just have to victory dance when you beat everyone.

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  21. Haha, this is the BEST. XD I love how you compiled so many. I actually read this list out loud to my family at lunchtime today, and they got a kick out of it too.

    I make my characters' expressions too! I think my face just generally mimics whatever mood the current scene is supposed to have. This is one reason I have yet to try the classic writing in a coffeeshop thing. XD

    I've dabbled a bit with word wars, and I think I want to do more of them. :) They're great for getting yourself unstuck.

    And I tend to type faster when I'm writing intense scenes... Unless it's a tricky fight scene and I'm struggling with the play by play, in which case I write slowly.

    Writers are such a strange breed. (But we're awesome too.)

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    1. Aaaw, that makes me so happy! <3 I'm glad they enjoyed it. :D

      YES to all you said. I totally write faster when I'm intense scene. I'm just not as into it with slow scenes?? Which makes sense. I just wish it was easier to get in a "zone" with them.

      Strange and awesome. Oh yes. :P

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    2. *raises hand* I too write faster during intense scenes! And then my hand cramps up ... so that's kind of a bummer, but hey, at least I get a lot of words written :D.

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    3. *runs to give Savannah an ice pack* *or heating pad, whichever is better for cramps* That sounds painful. :P

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  22. Wow! Great post! It was neat to see the huge amount of writers' quirks. I can really relate to needing to chew on gum or candy while writing - it just helps your focus!

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    1. YES! My mouth likes to be busy. I go through so many sticks of gum in a day. It's insane. :P

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  23. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Word wars are literally how I get through NaNo, along with word sprints of course. It's wonderful.

    The weirdest thing I do is act out my scenes before I write them? Like I'll try to see how I want the character to speak and how I just want it all to mesh? I really hope that's not too weird because if it is I literally just revealed this to the internet fantastic okay

    ~Noor

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    1. SAME. Seriously. I write with word wars or I hardly write at all. I'm so glad that SOMEONE is always on to war me with the late schedules writers have. xD

      OOH, REALLY? That's awesome. Quirky -- but not in a bad way. Now I want to try that out...

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    2. *gasps* I'm not alone! I'll sometimes act out my scenes before I write them. Only kinda-sorta acting, it's mostly just me talking to myself, but still :D. That's definitely not too weird!

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  24. I also hand write all of my stories except for one which got deleted *face palms* because I had to wipe out my entire computer!

    Another quirk is that I write my stories better when I draw a cover on my copy book *shrugs*.

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    1. Oh nuuu! A whole story?! That's... wow. I can't even imagine that happening. *hugs and chocolate* I'm sorry! o.o

      Ooh, yes! Covers are so much fun. Though I can't draw very well. But good for you! I'd love to see a picture. :D

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  25. So many quirks and so little time. These are amazing and definitely apply to me!

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    1. Yesss. All the lovely and weird writer quirks. <3

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  26. Replies
    1. Weren't they? I kept giggling. xD

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    2. Yes! I write from 6-7 in the mornings, and my dad always brings me coffee except when he and bro go to bible study. xD

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    3. OH MY. That's early. I wouldn't be able to do that without typing incoherent words. xD

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  27. Hey Katie! I have another question about Beta Readers stuff. How did you make it so that no one could edit your story, but you could still edit it?

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    1. Hmm... I'm... not sure what you mean by this? Sorry, Anika! If you want to email me with a bunch of questions about the beta readers, that might be easier. :)

      Delete
  28. This is so awesome!

    I do that one where you make the facial expressions of your characters. Except I also do it when I'm brainstorming scenes while not writing. Like when I'm at work or eating breakfast. *cough* I usually realize what I'm doing when I notice someone give me a weird look.

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    1. Eep, thank you!

      Ha. That'd be awkward. xD Especially if you're thinking of a character in love and just staring dreamily at your cereal. :P

      Delete
  29. My writing quirk would be that I connect way too much with my characters emotionnally. Like, I dream about them and I'll always think about that specific scene or reaction... They're just insanely real in my head XD

    Otherwise, it's really cool to hear about other writers' quiks. We're so weird :)

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    1. Taïsha, I feel the same way with thinking about them all the time. Like I'll be acting out the scenes in my head all the time. :P

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    2. OH MY GOSH. You dream about your characters?? Wow. Much jealousy. My dreams are always ridiculous. xD

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    3. Same here, Hannah, same here :D.

      I've dreamed (dreamed? is that the right word?) about my characters a few times ... but they're always strange versions of my characters, so I can't quite tell if it's really them or not :D. It's very strange indeed ...

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    4. Oooh, that's so cool! Sounds like an opportunity for plot bunnies. xD
      *really really wants to dream about my charries, now*

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    5. It's more day dreaming for me like walking around and not even thinking about reality but my story and people start talking and I'm just like 'whatttt' *in minion voice*

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    6. haha I know pretty practical XP

      Actually though, it's kind of a weird phase where I'm not sleeping but I'm not awake either (AAAAAAAND this is how crazy I am). Either that or I do dream about them doing something I never thought about so I wake up and jump on my phone to write that down (or I start another story because it doesn't fit the other story's plot XD)

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  30. (Wow, I haven't commented this far down the page for AGES!)
    Egh, crazy quirks like making wookiee noises at the computer when I can't think of what's going on?! :D I do that a lot.
    Cool post! Love seeing other random writerly quirks. :)

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    1. (I know! o.o Quite a change from you being first in the last post. ;)

      Wookiee noises? o.O Well. That's something I'd like to hear. Made me giggle. xD
      <3

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    2. I make weird noises, too, Jane!
      Like this one time, I was typing at our families communal desktop, and I made a weird gurgling sound and
      my sister looked at me like I was CRAAAAAA-ZZZZY. XD

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    3. Yup, mine are apparently almost exact mimics of the sounds a wookiee makes. Sadly I can only do it when I'm not trying. :D

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    4. You two are making me laugh with your crazy noises. xD

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    5. Jane:
      I really want to here that! XD

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    6. *realizes I have a minor typo in last comment like 5 hours after I post it*
      Haha, I meant hear...

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    7. I'll have to do it really loud sometime, then you might have a chance. :) I mean, so what if I live in Australia and you guys are American?! (I'm assuming you probably are, Hann?) I'm sure you've both got super-hearing. :D

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    8. Yeah, I'm in America.
      I think... Maybe... If you would do it loud enough, I could hear it. I am known for my super-hearing ;P

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    9. He he, I'll have to give it a try. XD

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  31. Ah yes, we are such wonderfully strange creatures. Don't you just love it? Some of these were very peculiar! This was so enjoyable!

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    1. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Ugh, I'm so glad I'm involved in the writing world. <3

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  32. Yeah.... I think, as a group, we're all a little touched in the head!! ;-)

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  33. Ah, this made me laugh! It is quite relatable. I, too, sometimes rock back and forth as I write (I think it takes my mind off the pain of writing), and I have been known to clean compulsively before writing, and I used to write in the dark regularly. Now I want to try writing with my eyes closed—it sounds like an interesting exercise.

    All of this probably means I'm not a good candidate for coffeeshop writing sessions, ha!

    Thanks for taking the time to compile this!

    (And sorry if I've just commented five times. Blogger doesn't like to let me comment from my Wordpress account, and I can't tell if my comment's actually gone through yet...)

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    1. I've tried writing with my eyes closed... It works until I become typo-crazy and can't stand to see all the squiggly red lines on the screen. :P

      (Oh, boo. I've heard that it's hard to comment on Blogger as a Wordpress user. Sometimes you can do the "Name/URL" option and just insert your information. That might work better. :)

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  34. those are really good. I agree with quite a few. I do a variety of things myself. Most of the time I have to leave my story be for about a month. Then I reread it and add stuff. most of the time. I have to explain the plot to some of my friends too.

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    1. Ahh, yes. Leaving it be is a very good idea. I try to leave my book alone for at LEAST a month before diving into the edits. It helps being able to look at it with a different view. :D

      Delete
    2. so true. I sometimes look at the ones I wrote years ago when I was stuck on this one guy. It was soooooo stupid. Then there were all the boy band obsessive ones. Those are killers. I;m thinking of editing the boy band part out and just making them into an everyday story rather than a fanfic

      Delete
  35. Oh my goodness.
    I. Love. This.
    THANK YOU!
    I always randomly get up and walk around. After every sentence. It's like I have to fully think about what I just wrote before I can move on to the next sentence, and that apparently requires dancing, flicking my fingers, and pacing? Also, I write best really early in the morning, before my sanity kicks in and tells me that my dreams aren't hitting the paper right and I ought to just give up. It's good to hear that I'm not alone in this.
    What sorts of writing quirks do you have?

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    1. EEEP YES ISN'T IT AMAZING? It's sooo fun to read through the writer quirks.

      Whoah, that would be hard to write fast, then, if you're getting up so often. o.o YOU WRITE EARLY IN THE MORNING? Uff. I can never do that. My words just turn out like "blahhhh."

      Mine up there were the writing late at night and not being able to keep track of chapters. Though I very much agree with having to chew SOMETHING. (like gum.)

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  36. This is a great list! Thanks for including my quirk. ^ ^ It's cool to see what other writers do to write. ^ ^

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  37. I clean, chew gum, and listen to all kinds of music. Glad other people have their quirks too!

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  38. Great list.
    I didn't write my first book in chapters. Sometimes I would get to spots I thought would be a good chapter break though. Since I'm writing most of the second one in yWriter I have to divide it up roughly, but I expect to move everything around.
    Sometime reading something good will help me.
    Also I do most my handwriting with a particular brand of cheap pen. We picked them up for free and I've had less trouble with them that with the good pen I bought.

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  39. This is terrific list! I can totally relate to most of the these. :D

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  40. I grinned every time I came to one that I do, too. :-P

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  41. LOVE THESE! I can relate to a few of them -- the tea drinking, the handwriting everything, the tidy room, the leaving [That Unnamed Character], sometimes FOR YEARS (I'm not joking, this has happened with people and places in my fantasy book!). OK but "I write better when it's completely dark with a dim computer screen. And black document with white text." absolutely horrifies me! For one thing I can't stand writing onto a computer screen, but in the dark? A BLACK DOCUMENT? Save me from the terror! Thank GOODNESS everyone gets to make their own choices about how they write, eh?!

    Great post, thanks for sharing! (I know feel I should be writing. When actually I should be studying. When actually I'm reading blogs/on Pinterest? Oops.)

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