Diary of a hopeful author: How I write to episodes of 24…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

How do you work? Or more’s the point – how do you write? It’s a subject of reasonably fevered discussion here and I’ll tell you why. Nine times out of ten, I can’t write in silence. It’s like time has stood still and my brain has frozen over. The reason I say all this is that the past week has seen me swimming in editing and writing. Sometimes it works out well, other, mah, not so much. But imagine my surprise when I realise that my best bouts of productivity come when I have 24 playing on my iPad in the background! It’s like having your cake and eating it. My friend thinks I’m nuts (don’t say it…) ‘Christ,’ she says, ‘how can you work with all that going on? If anyone so much as sneezes when I’m working at my desk, my mind implodes.’ Best not tell her then about the gun-shooting chase scenes in 24 then…

There is research out there that says that when a brain is multi-tasking, you know, lots of noise, activity, it can lock down on the task its owner needs to do.  Owner. It makes my brain sound like it’s a little puppy. Actually, that’s not a bad analogy…Anyway, of course, even though I am a woman, multi-tasking doesn’t always work out. I do find myself catching a scene of 24, for example, gauping at it then returning to my work and wondering what the hell I was writing about. And then it…Sorry, where was I?

It doesn’t just have to be episodes of 24 for me. In the past few months of writing and editing various projects I have got through: The entire series of My So Called Life (I learnt so much!); Series 1-4 of Prison Break (tattoos as maps – who knew?); over 10 films; 5 BBC documentaries; and one episode of Dennis the Menace (my daughter was off ill…). I’m like the hungry catapillar of box sets. Sometimes, when on the rare occasions TV and film on loop doesn’t boost my brain, I switch to music. We’re talking a bit of classical, jazz mainly. Sometimes only talking will do, so I go to BBC radio 5 or 4. If I’m feeling really with it, I’ll go to radio 1, but, as I am not below 25, this has literally only happened once.

As I shuffle through the rest of this week, I shall be watching 24 on loop. In fact, as I write this at, let’s see, 5.40 a.m., Episode 16 of Season 3 is playing on my iPad. It does make me feel quite sneaky, watching programmes when a) I am working and b) everyone else is still asleep. It’s like sneaking out of class at school without permission and going down the shops. Whether I’ll get a load of work done this week is still to be seen. But hey, at least I’ll know what’s happening to Jack Bauer and his team. Him and Denice the Menace.

So, how do you work or write? Which camp are you on: Is it total silence or a little bit of noise?

 Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about speed cameras…**

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4 thoughts on “Diary of a hopeful author: How I write to episodes of 24…”

  1. So, how do you work or write? Which camp are you on: Is it total silence or a little bit of noise?

    I am a ‘needs silence’ type of writer. I work from home anyway, so I have grown used to thinking and processing while sat in a quiet office, during the daytime.

    Although, I have read that complex music (like Classical music or Jazz), helps the mind to think more clearly.

    I tried it, but I ended up becoming distracted by the music and got carried away with the sound around me, rather than the words in front of me.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. So, you’re a silent writer, as it were. It’s funny how we’re all so different in our little ways and routines. Just goes to show that we have to do our own thing if it works for us. Nice to meet you.

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  2. Wow..and here I was imagining Nikki in a dark and silent room while writing! (kidding!) Maybe 24 would be a bit intense for me, but I too somehow need some “noise” around me to write. I am a huge Fringe fan and I own all of the episodes, so my Apple TV turns red hot when I write! And you you know what helps me too? Public places! This Friday I have a 5 hour train trip to Québec to see my family, and I tell you, I am so looking to it because the last time I went, I wrote more creatively on that train than anywhere else!

    My brain is a puppy too Nikki, but it as if it’s never been trained and it poo…Oh, never mind, I can’t just leave you with that image!

    Beautiful day to you my friend!

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    1. Fringe? What is Fringe? You have my puppy ears pricked, as it were. I shall google. And high five to the public place writing – that one works a treat for me too. Focuses the old mind. That and a deadline. And chocolate. Mind you, that can also be a distraction…Keep on writing! x

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