A gifted writer and dear friend, Silvia Villalobos, invited me to join the blog hop–My Writing Process–which offers viewers a look at the writing processes of different authors and artists of the pen. Please take a look at Silvia's blog, Silvia Writes. She's participating in the A to Z Challenge through the month of April (as am I), so in the coming weeks she'll be posting new articles six days per week. That means it's a good time to get to know her and her work. I've had the opportunity to read her novel, SRANGER OF FRIEND, even though it isn't out yet, and I'm definitely looking forward to the glorious day when it is.
Now–drum roll–what am I working on?
Jeez. Too many things.
I'm working on the revisions to a fantasy novel for middle graders, a literary coming-of-age novel, a genre romance sprinkled with bits of mystery, and a literary love story. When I'm not working on a novel, I'm working on short stories. I've had shorts published in the Writer's Journal, Woman's World, Short Stuff for Grown-ups, The Storyteller, and Once Upon a Time. Last December, I had my first online publishing credit, a short romantic story in Downstate Story. Currently I'm working on a sci-fi short story and three literary shorts, one about Alzheimer's disease, one about the power of jealousy, and one about a mentally handicapped boy who helps his sister discover who she is.
|Paul Cubitt, Pinterest|
My writing process
I NEVER close a day of writing without leaving the project I'm tackling on my desk so that I know where to begin the next day. I generally stop writing at the end of a scene or chapter. If I only have an idea of what’s going to happen next, I make a note of that idea. This way, I never face a morning wondering what I'm going to write about. If I don't have an idea, I seriously use a one-word prompt. I might look around my house and see something weird or odd in some way. It might be my husband taking forever to peel an orange. Watching that process might be my prompt.
Throughout the night, I'll be thinking about it and find a way to associate at least the process, if not the orange, to one of my characters. I'll have left that note on my desk, so I will think about the image the next morning. (Keep in mind, this is only if I don't already have an idea of my character’s next move.) Once I start thinking about the peeling process or any other process in the morning, I've already awakened my creative brain. At that point, I reread and perhaps do a little editing on the writing I did the day before. This plants the voice back in my brain and reacquaints me with any tension I left off with. I let myself feel it again and then start writing.
If I get stuck, I look for another prompt. Usually they work. If they don't, so what? There's a delete button and at least the prompt will have awakened the creative part of my brain and pushed me into writing. I don't have the patience to deal with a blank screen, so I found ways to work around it.
I pin up my long hair with a clip, because I'm one of those weird people who believes that having hair fall on either side of my face blocks my ideas from coming out freely. It's distracting. If I lean forward a little, I can see that hair out of my peripheral vision. The hair clip avoids any distractions the hair might otherwise cause.
I bring a cup of decaf coffee to my desk and let myself be fooled into thinking it still works like regular coffee, and maybe a snack or two so I don't have an excuse to leave my desk, and then I commit to spending the day seat-to-seat (butt in chair) and work until quitting time.
Sometimes, rather than edit my own work to get my brain into the writing mode, I start the day critiquing another writer's work. This also wakes the brain up. Whatever works, I do it. Chocolate helps. Sometimes I use it just as a reward. I promise myself that if I accomplish my goal during a given day's writing, I get a guilt-free chocolate bar that night. (Bribery is good for more than raising kids.)
Again, many thanks to Silvia for inviting me to this blog hop. I’m tagging two excellent writers to share their stories–Lynne Hinkey, author of MARINA MELEE and soon to be released YE GOD! A TALE OF DOGS AND DEMONS, and Sherry Gloag, author of many titles including two wonderful reads coming to you soon. Take a look at Sherry's blog, The Heart of Romance.