I like reading how other authors work. Listen to a famous author tell of his day.
Could you say something of this process? When do you work? Do you keep to a strict schedule?
When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and you know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through. The Paris Review, Issue 18, 1958
Doesn’t he make it sound like a magical, wonderful process?
It can be. It often is. Other times, for me, writing is like trying to swim in peanut butter. I struggle through a thick mess trying to find a rock, a bit of shore…something…anything that is clear and solid. Bits of ideas make it to the surface. When they do, they are often fragmented and chipped and bear no resemblance to anything solid. It’s a magical, scary, frustrating part of my writing when the story is sticky and uncooperative and when I wonder how, in the past, I ever got from a beginning idea to a fully formed story. The temptation is often to abandon the story and go do something more interesting. But I’ve learned that patient plowing through the quagmire will eventually result in a story. If I just keep picking up the clues and sorting them out.
It’s times like this that encouragement about my writing is valued the most. Someone tells me they enjoyed a book. Or I read a good review. Or I get copies of a new release. I guess it proves (to me) that I can somehow, with perseverance, figure out how to shape this current mess into a story. So I pull out charts and templates, go through my craft lessons and on line courses and slowly start to turn the mess into a story.
Just in case you need some help (not to be confused with procrastination) on your own ‘swimming-in-peanut-butter’ project here are a few sites that might help you.
http://prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com/This is a blog but if you check out their archives you will find a wealth of information.
You could also check out my website and go to the articles pages for more help.
About Linda: Linda Ford grew up devouring books and making up stories in her head—often late at night when she couldn’t sleep. But she hadn’t planned to write. Instead, she dreamed of running an orphanage. In a way, that dream came true. She married, had four homemade children, adopted ten and lived (at times, endured) the dream. During one of those times when the dream seemed more like a nightmare, when several of the kids were teens and acting out in weird and awful ways, she discovered the wonderfully controllable world of writing.
Writing first took her to non-fiction human-interest articles for newspapers and eventually a non-fiction book about tuberculosis set in the 1930s and 1940s (Touched By The White Plague). But romance had always been her first love and she turned to writing love stories. She is multi-published in the CBA market.
She lives on a small ranch in Alberta where she can see the mountains every day. She and her husband continue to enjoy their children and grandchildren. Linda also provides care for a paraplegic, double-amputee man.
She still finds a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction in creating imaginary worlds, only now she does it on paper—or rather, at the computer.