• Brianna MacMahon

How I Write

For me, writing has always been a methodic, therapeutic process. In this blog post, I will relay how I best write, including: my preferred writing space, my chosen writing medium, and my thoughts on outlines.

Writing Space

Though a part of me wishes I was more "free form," able to write anywhere and everywhere, I must have a dedicated writing space to feel most productive. I love the idea of writing in a coffee house and gaining inspiration from the people around me, but I know this is not the best writing environment for me. I tend to people watch more than actually write in public spaces, and while this is useful for developing potential characters, I don't get as much writing done as I would like.

For me, the ideal writing space is a desk (or just a simple table) by a window, with a gorgeous view. I draw inspiration from nature, and being able to swivel and see the outdoors does much to stimulate my mind and boost my creativity. When I find myself at a creative standstill, unable to finish a scene, I love (weather permitting) going for a walk outside. The fresh air helps clear my mind, and I do my best thinking while I am walking.

Writing Medium

When I was younger, I used to write by-hand, but in recent years, I have gravitated more toward writing via laptop, for a variety of reasons:

  1. I type faster than I can write. Often, I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head for a given scene or character, and by typing as opposed to writing, I can more accurately and quickly document those ideas.

  2. I research as I write, and possessing immediate access to the Internet is crucial. Whether I am trying to figure out which day of the week a particular date was, or street placements in a given city, I love being able to simply open another tab and find the information I require.

  3. I love the ease of having all my writing files in one, secure location. I regularly back up my computer (through Carbonite, for the curious), and this grants me creative peace of mind. As someone who tends to worry about unforeseen incidents, such as fires, I need to know that my writing is somewhere safe that only I can access.

Thoughts on Outlines

I have always been a strong advocate of outlining a story. Before I begin writing, I deeply delve into my characters, drafting bios for each of them and briefly outlining their character arcs. That way, when I am stumped, I can refer to my outline and see what my overall plot arc is, which limits the effects of writer's block. Outlines can also help you realize who the most important characters in your story are, and if some are actually superfluous and unnecessary. You don't want your story to feel too cluttered, so you need to ensure that every character has a purpose that is not duplicated by another. Consequently, outlines help you more intimately understand your characters and plot, and though they take a significant amount of time to complete, the end results are more than worth it.


While we all have different ways of writing - some only write at night while others write during the day, for instance - we are all united by our love and passion for writing. What works for me may not necessarily work for you, and that's okay! The important thing is doing what works for you, and making time to write. For me, I know that if I'm not in a quiet, controlled environment, I will not be able to write. Know yourself, and be honest about when and where you are most productive. Then, and only then, will you be able to write your best work.

#writingstyle #howiwrite #writingtips #writingblog

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