On Twitter and Facebook I’ve started to take writing-related questions that I’ll answer here. If you have one, feel free to leave it in the Comments section.
Question 1: Please explain your daily routine, how you revise, how you balance professional demands (deadlines etc) with creative/artistic satisfaction.
Answer: I am still looking for the answer!! I got serious about writing in 1992. I had my first book published in 1996. I quit my day job in 2002, and started supporting my family only with income from writing and speaking.
It’s been hard. Way harder than I thought it would be. But maybe that’s good, because it has helped me develop pretty decent work habits.
My daily routine over the years has ebbed and flowed depending on how many kids were living at home, how many parents we were taking care of, whether I was divorced or married, where I lived, and how many weeks/year I was on the road. Right now my routine is fairly simple. I wake up around 5am. Two days a week I spend the morning taking my father to the gym and breakfast, then doing chores and errands for him. The other mornings I try to get out to my writing cottage by 6am. Right now I am working very hard on my new YA, so I write as long as I can, usually until dinner time. I’m bummed because I haven’t had as much time as I’d like for running or gardening this summer, but I really want to get this finished ASAP.
The creative/artistic satisfaction is still there, even though the burden of producing can sometimes feel overwhelming. I wouldn’t be able to work this hard if it were not for the moments of magic, the times when I lost myself in the story and surfaced an hour or four later, without a clear memory of having typed the last ten pages. The satisfaction is enhanced when I get feedback from readers who connect with the story the same way I did when I was writing it.
The revision process? That’s an answer for another day!
“Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.”
― Flannery O’Connor
Today’s Prompt: Write about the time your mother really dressed up. Everything. All the details. All the secrets. All of the dreams and the sadness that you can dredge up.
Scribble… scribble… scribble…
6 Replies to “Pearls of Memory – WFMAD Day 11”
YOU’RE BACK!!! That must mean that you’re feeling well enough to spare some time from your family and your writing to connect with your readers! HALLELUJAH!!!
Aw, shucks, Susan. That was a super nice thing to say. Thank you!
Thanks so much for writing on this, Laurie! 5am… whoa. Impressed. (Not surprised, though.) Glad to hear you’re working on a new YA. 🙂
First, I would like to thank you for your inspiration. You can’t know the whole of the impression you’ve made or the good it has fostered. As a writer and a huge fan of yours, I am so grateful for all of your pearls of wisdom and the hard-won experiences that you share.
Second, I want you to know that I am awed by you and so very proud of you. Because even successful writers need to hear it from time to time, I want you to know that I think you are amazing. As a reader, it is easy to see only the end product. But your triumphs have been met with as much adversity. And you’ve offered us glimpses of your adversity through your blog posts and website. I am wildly inspired by your books and wicked proud of you for all you’ve endured to get them to us. Amazing. So, if you stop reading here, I am content having shared my deep appreciation for all that you’ve given me.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope that you might be able to offer a much needed boost. Like many hopeful writers out there, I’m a full time working mom and I’m also a student. I make time to write when I’m not doing…everything else. I’ve borrowed the idea of the WFMAD challenge to write a short story about a high school student (I’ve purposely not given the main character a name or gender) trying to cope with his/her father’s suicide. Don’t pat me on the back just yet for sticking with the fifteen minute daily goal. This is my way of avoiding something much bigger. (Deep breath.) I am 78,000 words into a YA fantasy fiction novel. For the first time since I began writing this story, I am completely uncertain. For the first time, I am doubting myself. I have been so sure of the story, the characters, my writing. I’ve created a second copy of the document to perform exploratory surgery. I find myself both strong and weak here. I cannot get my fingers to yield the knife that will slice the flesh. I am scrubbed, gloved, gowned, and completely frozen. I feel like I need to turn the knife on myself and remove the cancerous kernel of doubt infecting me. But I don’t know where it resides. Do you see that I could play this game with myself all day? Have you had moments or jags like this, feeling that you are doomed to give in to the dark-cloaked doubt that threatens possibility? How–oh, please tell me there is a how!–do you move forward? I am heartsick thinking about cutting into my work. Is there value in attempting exploratory surgery at 78,000 words? If I am being honest, I feel like I am getting in my own way, delaying and avoiding. And it will ultimately prevent me from finishing this novel. If you can relate, I would appreciate your sage advice. Do you have a fight back plan for doubt?
Many, many thanks for sharing so much of your wonderful self with all of us.