A: Yes, give yourself a deadline or end goal. You’re going to want to meet it and possibly exceed it. There’s lots of wonderful stories about writers who have finished a book in mere days, or completed massive amounts of prose for the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) What works for you?
A: How you write it. Do you think it through? Look for the ways to enhance a story or world? Do you research? Do you plot? Do you allow for spontaneity? Writing is personal and it is fluid. What works for you is not what works for someone else be it either in the telling or the reading of it. Faults aren’t always bad. You can embrace them and run amok and produce something very fine indeed. Not everyone will get it, but some will love you for it. A perfectly engineered book is also delightful. When every thread is wrapped up to perfection and an author makes it appear effortless (which it can be…sometimes…) it is beautiful and deeply satisfying. Just be passionate about your topic or story and the rest will follow.
A: I queue my book playlist, and find a song to start the day or hit shuffle. Sometimes I reread the last scene, but if I do reread, I only allow myself to make nominal changes to it before continuing. Editing, as I’ve heard, is the biggest time suck to your writing process if you let it rule you before its time comes. I’m careful to not do too much of it until the book’s first draft is done.
A: I write until I reach a stopping point, which is usually three to four hours into the process. If I deviate from writing to do research, social media, e-mail, or blog then I stay at the computer longer and try to get in those solid writing hours.
A: I sit on the loveseat in the office and write on my laptop, or I sit on the leather couch in the family room and look out the window, or I sit on the balcony and write with the breeze rifling through my hair, or I sit at the bar height dining room table and prop my feet on the swivel chair rungs. That’s the great thing about a laptop you can write nearly everywhere.
A: After work on weekdays, middle of the afternoon on weekends.
A: Nearly so. If it’s not writing then it’s editing or researching how to put the book together in all the formats I desire to publish.
A: Getting into the habit of writing a little every day. The first few chapters will be your toughest chapters to write. You will probably question your sanity for starting the project in the first place. You’ll doubt yourself and wonder if it is possibly any good. You will wonder who would read it. Why would anybody care? Trust me when I say don’t give up and keep going. Once you get past these bumpy chapters the rest is smooth sailing by comparison. Writing will be easier because after the first few chapters you have a narrative and a world that is being crafted. It’s easy to add to a world, a lot harder to think one up. You can modify the world as you go to adapt to the characters and situations.
A: Starting before you’re ready to start. If you wait to be ready you might never start. If you wait until you know your story and all its nuts and bolts you might never start. Don’t worry if your idea isn’t fully mapped out because you don’t need a perfect outline. Nobody reads that except you. If you wait until all the research is done and you’re a subject matter expert (SME) you might never start. It is better to start and have to redo something than to not start. A blank page is scary, but a page with words on it already is not. You can tackle it a lot easier because the creative pressure is almost fully gone. Starting was the hardest part for me. I had a couple of false starts, but you know what? A false start is still a start. If it doesn’t work figure out why and try again.
A: Depends on where I am at in the writing process. For instance for the book Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest I took a lot of time in the beginning to research Norway – climate, locations, photos, maps, things to do, etc. It’s not as good as being able to experience Norway in person, which I do hope to do one day soon, but it’s a good start. The key to writing is giving yourself permission to not be a subject matter expert (SME.) I started using the research immediately and took whichever elements suited my purposes (i.e. – artistic license.) If I waited to use the research until I was positive I could distribute the information like an SME or a native of Norway, the story would never have been started and it certainly wouldn’t have been finished. Sometimes you have to put the research away and just write.
A: In 1st grade, Mrs. White encouraged her class to use the computer to type up stories. They were usually short, frequently misspelled, and each page was a sentence long with room enough to spare for illustrations. I had fifty or more of these books which were bound in construction paper and lovingly stored away by my mother for many years. I think my hope of one day being a published writer started there. In 2nd grade I wrote a series of picture books about Sprinkle who was a fairy godmother/Cinderella combo, her marriage to Prince Tom, and their seventeen children and pets whose names all began with ‘S’ or ‘T.’ As I grew up my writing progressed from poetry onto fanfiction and then onto blogging. I’ve always had a creative outlet.
A: Yes. I excelled in English and Reading in grade school. In high school I got A’s in English and I was president of the Writer’s Guild Club. We met on Fridays after school got over. (I can hear you all cringe at the idea of staying late after school on a Friday. Oooo.) The club focused mostly on poetry where the challenge would be to write something that met a bunch of crazy parameters. We concluded our meetings at a Dunkin’ Donuts / Baskin Robins combo. My best friends were in the club and we’d get together after everyone left and chill out for the weekend. It was great. It should be no surprise that in college I got an A in my poetry class. 🙂