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My writing process varies depending on what sort of a project I’m working on. One thing that I’ll always rely on when I’m writing is caffeine. I have to have a cup of coffee or tea next to me when I’m working on something.
Surprisingly, I’m actually quite a disorganised person. You’re not supposed to be when you’re a writer but I am. I counteract this by being extremely determined. I write whenever I can, mostly at night. I find that in the hours when everyone else is asleep, I’m the most productive for some reason. This is also the case in the early morning. Sometimes I’ll get up early before college to write for an hour or so. These are at times when I find it easy to write and easy to get inspired.
When I’m struggling to find inspiration, I find that they key to finding it again is to stay calm. If I start to worry too much about whether I’ll have the energy or the capacity to write something, I definitely won’t. I write mostly at the desk in my bedroom. But when I was writing my first book, I wrote almost the entire thing from my bed. I don’t think it really matters where you are, but I find it helpful to sit up at a desk.
Sometimes being in my bedroom is really bad for my productivity. In my bedroom there are a lot of things to distract me from the task at hand. Sometimes it’s even stressful to be working in the same place that I sleep and lounge around. When I find myself getting overwhelmed in this way, I pack up my notebook, my laptop and whatever book I’m reading and take myself to a nearby café to work from there. This almost always works.
The times that I really struggle to write is when I’m not reading anything. I think as a writer, you should always be reading because it just makes sense. I would barely ever write if I wasn’t also reading. It’s definitely my biggest motivation.
I like to read biographical stuff if I’m working on something biographical. My favourite type of biographies are the ones that comedians write although I’m not fussy. I love collections of journalism by people like Marian Keyes or Maeve Binchy, particularly when I’m blogging. I know some people worry that if they’re reading something similar to what they’re writing, they’ll adopt the tone of another writer, but that’s never really been a concern of mine.
When I’m working on something fictional, I also like to read fiction. I find that I go a little bit crazy when I’m writing fiction. For me, the process feels a lot more lonely. I have to lock myself away and really channel what I’m writing. I find it nearly impossible to write fiction in Dublin. The most I’ve ever written was when I was staying in my Mam’s house down in Wexford. The isolation helped me a lot. It’s funny because I could plan a blog post or a Youtube video jotting stuff down in my notebook on a bus, but when it comes to writing fiction, I have to be in a very particular headspace.
I draw on my own life and my own experiences for inspiration all the time. I generally live a busy and exciting life which provides me with a lot to talk about. But I’ll almost always prioritise socialising over writing because I feel that in order to write, you need experience and being around people is the best experience you could have.
I suppose what I’m saying is that when it comes to my writing, there is no real process. I need to adapt to whatever environment and circumstance I have to work with. I think when it comes to writing, you should take a while to find what works for you. If something isn’t working for you, change it. It’s hard work to get into a regular flow, but for me, the reward is always extremely worth it.