Friday, June 18, 2010

Scheduling Time to Write

As I mentioned in my post last week, I will be writing from home (or Panera/library) full time starting this Monday. It's hard to believe I will have the (on average) nine hours a day I spent at work Monday through Friday to write. It seems like a ton of time to work on the craft that I love, but we all know how quickly time can be zapped away.

In preparation for my new found life, I started to go through my files trying to figure out where to even begin. I realized that I have a small problem. I am currently working on two stories (which for me is a problem in itself) and have multiple copies of both. I'm the first to tell you, make sure to back up your work. I had to write three+ chapters over again when a file of my last story, Lost and Found was corrupt and I didn't have a current backup. That being said, I now have three versions of one of the books and two of the other. Before I start to even think about sitting down to write I need to figure out what I'm going to be working on and what files are most current.

Now comes the topic of this post, schedules. I have a very loose time line in my mind of when I want to have one of my current WIPs edited and ready to start querying, but is an end date enough? I'd love to hear how some of you manage your writing time throughout the week when not working full time. I know that everyone is different, but just a general schedule would be helpful.

I think it's important to have an idea of what I want to accomplish in a day/week's time so I can feel as if I've completed something. This is one of the problems that I see arising with working for myself. I'm the kind of person that likes to hear praise from co-workers/peers/my boss. It keeps me going and makes my day. Once those are gone (or at least, a lot of it. I'll still have the great ups and downs with the crit group), I fear I will become complacent. I like the satisfaction of ticking someone off a list when it's finished.

I will be starting my new writing journey by figuring out what story to focus on, which is the most current files (and archiving the old) and tackling a schedule. Any advice is welcome!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Inspiration Strikes

Yesterday, sometime after the Season 3 opener of True Blood and well beyond my I-have-to-work-tomorrow bedtime, the infamous 9:07pm (someday I'll be able to follow Tami's awesome example and write full time - for now I live vicariously through her), I sat at my desk chair for a few minutes. Not writing. Not editing. Not hanging out on Twitter. I simply observed the stuff I had around my office – propped up on shelves or tacked up on my bulletin board.

Torn pieces of patterned paper, notes scrawled on envelopes or napkins, swag postcards with funky artwork, Halloween candy wrappers, wolf images, gem-coloured glass bottles, fake tombstones, plastic (black) roses, ribbon cuttings, etc…

How does a random piece of fancy paper contribute to my writing?

Well, when I’m stuck for words, or am halfway through a scene and inspiration goes on strike – I look around the room. There’s a tale etched in each piece on display. Each element of my menagerie invokes a mood or seems to wear a story – or multiple stories – that I’m compelled to try and tell.

Don’t get what I mean?

Try this….look at the following images, photos I took of moments/settings/objects that seemed to have a story. (Besides collecting physical objects, photography is a fantastic way to capture ideas/moods). What are the first three words you think of as you glance at each one in turn? Now imagine the person who lives in this world. What’s their story?

From one item, or picture, I can imagine numerous plot lines, character traits, visualize settings, time periods, etc. A whole world can be created around just the right piece. Thankfully, I don’t hoard. I purge my collection every few months – leaving room for new stories.

I love this room, my writer's cave, with yet to be discovered worlds all around me.