Friday, November 30, 2012

The Magical Part of the Process

school supplies
This has been a month of major deadlines--a YA historical due to the editor mid-month, 60 articles on children's and YA authors due today, and a 3-sample-chapter request from a book packager. Plus NaNo--which got a bit sidelined with all the traveling for the holidays. (Although part of that travel meant I got to spend time with my fav CPs from PA!!)

Now I've met all my deadlines and I'm ready to start on a new project. It's temporarily under wraps, but I've started some research and hope to get a lot done on it over the next month or two. I'm working with a great collaborator (it's actually her idea that we're working on). It's exciting to work with someone so enthusiastic and supportive!! Can't wait to see what we produce together. And thank heavens for the Internet and cell phones as we live on opposite sides of the country.

Right now I'm in the fun stage of the project--the preparation. It always reminds me of getting ready for the first day of school. The blank pages of new notebooks and smell of sharpened pencils and pointiness of unused crayons. The anticipation.. The adrenaline surge when everything is fresh and new, and anything can happen.

So much of writing is just showing up to the page, churning out word counts, ignoring carpal tunnel syndrome and stiff necks. So before the newness wears off and the dull dailiness sets in, I'm taking time to revel in the broad expanse where anything can happen and usually does. This is when magic happens.

What part of the writing process do you find magical?

Bonus: I've shared some wisdom about rejection letters and bad reviews on the Downtown YA blog. If you're feeling discouraged, you might want to pop over there for a little encouragement.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I love writing at Starbucks. The drinks are a wonderful bonus, of course, but it's not just about the chai. It's about the focus.

At home, there are a million things clamoring for my attention. Okay, maybe not a million, but I can certainly find plenty of things to do when the writing isn't flowing. Even when I'm determined to focus on my writing, clutter and household chores send little jabs of guilt my way, distracting me from the task at hand, interfering with the writing and kicking the distractibility cycle into gear.

Going to Starbucks is like going to the office. There are rules. They're self-imposed, but when I physically leave the house in order to write, I feel obligated to follow them and just write. No Facebook or Words With Friends until the job is done. These things are "breaks," allowed only when I've reached a certain productivity point. Ditto emails, and as for phone calls, the hubbub around me rules out all but the most necessary: work-related and calls from home.

It's odd, actually, that someone who needs quiet to write at home can function in the constant undercurrent of noise that is the atmosphere at Starbucks, but since none of the noise is directed at me personally, I have learned to tune it out. And, if the lyrics to the music from the sound system begin to integrate themselves into my brain waves, I can always pull out my earbuds and change the tune, or simply block it out.

But mostly, the writing comes when I'm at Starbucks simply out of habit. I've been doing this long enough that I have almost a Pavlovian reaction. Order drink, sit down, open laptop and write. Repeat as necessary.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an ebook to write.