Writing with the door shut

February 23, 2008

Jay took this shot in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. I don't think he's writing but I like the shot.In his watershed writing memoir, On Writing, Stephen King discussed his process. Early on, when I’m getting the draft down, I write with the door shut.

I’m active in two very dynamic writersgroups and I regularly bring material for critiquing. But not the first time around. The door-shut time around. A novel is complicated and confusing enough with one writer trying to juggle everything. I can only have my head filled with so many voices at a time, and the first draft belongs to the fictional voices–my characters. This is where they take on a life of their own, but the magic only works if I shut the door and listen.

How do you write? Door open? Door shut?

| 7 Comments
  • Shut. It’s a draft and one stops draft by shutting the door, eh?
    But then, but then.
    Crack the door open, then fling it wide.
    As Garth says, art is not a monologue, but a dialogue.
    Someone must react to the piece. Artist can consider the reaction.
    Good stuff, all.

  • Oh, I wanted to add that On Writing is one my all-time favorite books. I love that Stephen King never takes himself too seriously and is a reader as well as a writer. I look forward to his columns in Entertainment Weekly (though I’ve grown to like Dalton Ross and Diablo Cody as well).

  • I’ve always liked to be alone. This is why I’ll never be a writer by trade. I get paranoid that people are going to read what I’m writing. Best case, I then tailor what I’m writing to an audience. Worst case, I think that what I’m writing is trash and no one should be able to see it. I don’t mind editing with others around, but I need to write at least a first draft by myself or with a door shut.

  • Shut de Doah! Shut de doah! Someones in da kitchen!

    I can see a lot of value in meeting with others and getting input from each other …but so far writing is something I do in private …and it is only in the last year that I have shared any of it with anyone but the home team!

  • Door shut !

    I am in complete agreement about that – I need to hear everyone and sort out where they are going without outside “help” VBG !

    Pam

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