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January 12th, 2006

How I Write

I've received email from several people, asking me how I write. We're talking physically, not "where do I get my ideas" or "do I work from an outline." I figured I'd answer the questions here - probably in an ongoing series, an FAQ of writing.

So. Physically. I sit in a completely luxurious CXO brand office chair that I thought cost way too much but has proven to be worth every penny (especially when I was able to negotiate the "Healthy Back Store" highway robbery price down to the "Sit 4 Less" turnpike petty theft price). It has more adjustments than an Aeron, and more padding as well. When I sit in it, my entire body gives me a grateful little sigh of relief.

I pull the chair up to a computer desk that looks like excess space shuttle siding; I bought it at IKEA about fifteen years ago. I assembled it by guessing at the right heights for the desk surface, the monitor surface, and the storage shelf at the top, and all my guesses were correct. The desk is in front of two tall, thin windows; I have blinds that open at the top, so that I get a little bit of outside light, but no curious stares from folks walking by on the sidewalk. (Our townhouse is a few blocks from the subway; there are lots of pedestrians in the neighborhood, and our windows are about six feet from the sidewalk.)

I use WordPerfect 10, running it on a Dell Dimension 4550 desktop, with a standard Dell keyboard and a Samsung 19" monitor (my newest purchase, and one that I am fast falling in love with.) I use a Kensington Orbit mouse, which my husband insisted I needed. (I didn't believe him at the time, but he was right.)

I usually have a small grey cat sitting on my lap.

In short, there's nothing particularly special about my writing area, nothing unique (except the small grey cat), nothing that couldn't be replicated by everyone out there. And yet, I suspect that no one reading this has the same set-up at home. I'm fascinated by the different ways that we all get to the same end-point - creating published or publishable books. I've taken several classes at the Smithsonian, where they interview mystery writers, or historical novelists, or whatever writers. Inevitably, I find the "how do you make your work" questions the most interesting.

Mindy, ready to shove the cat off her lap and head out to the day-job


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