Thursday, July 26, 2007

What's Your M-O

Maven Lacey KayeNew topic. Just kidding. We talk writing, right? Well, over the last week or so I've been trying to remember just how that goes. Conference killed my brain, though it seems to have done wonderful things for my muse. Unfortunately, without a brain the muse is outta gas, so I've just been trying to keep good notes of the crazy ideas I seem to be coming up with lately.

So many ideas, so little time. I have a new name for my hero. Uh, the hero of a book I'm both not writing or dreaming up a plot for. Tack it to the Muse Board. I have an idea for a scene between the hero and heroine of my current wip, in which they duke it out parasol to walking stick. But I'm not working on that book. I have an idea for a mini-black moment for them, too, which will require tons of setup and lots of new scenes. But, you guessed it--that's not my current project.

How do people do it? Not go crazy with all the ideas that seem to assault a writer all at once, when other days...Nothing. How do you handle it when you spend, quite literally, your entire day at work dreaming of going home to work on your manuscript only to fall into bed for a three-hour nap? What happens to your mojo when you plan your entire weekend to center around writing, and then all of a sudden your friends come crawling out of the woodwork wanting to chat?

It seems like writers are at a huge disadvantage to other employees, in the sense that most of us don't operate on a strict 9-5 schedule. If ONLY the ideas came just when we could use them...If ONLY we could clock in to our writing and clock out of the rest of the world...if ONLY we weren't so easily distracted when we SHOULD be writing, held accountable to no one and nothing except ourselves?

But then again, could I really, really sit down in front of my computer for 8 hours a day and just write?

Hm. Work is starting to look pretty good.

So what's your schedule like? Do you write for hours on end? Are you a 15-minute sporadic kind of gal? Do you keep files and storyboards full of notes, or do you bop around from one project to the next?


Erica Ridley said...

If ONLY the ideas came just when we could use them...If ONLY we could clock in to our writing and clock out of the rest of the world...if ONLY we weren't so easily distracted when we SHOULD be writing

Amen, sistah!

But then again, could I really, really sit down in front of my computer for 8 hours a day and just write?

I think about this sometimes, too, and I think my answer is: no. But I wouldn't want to. I could write for four hours a day. (And have before, on those wonderful magical days when I actually had four hours in which to write.) And then I'd spend an hour on email/blogging, an hour on promotion (this is assuming I was a full-time writing with something to promote), and the other two hours on reading.

Even when I'm doing my real job, I don't spend all eight hours doing the exact same thing. I have various projects, calls, emails, client meetings, etc. So I think an eight hour writer day would be like that, too.

I could go on and on (as I so often do) so I'll cut myself off here to say that at the moment I don't have the luxury of an eight hour writing day, so I try to write an hour or so first thing every morning. (Er, when I'm writing.)

And I'm not one to bop around between stories, either. I could write one while revising another, but I'm not sure I could come up for (decent) new material for several projects at once. (Then again, I've never tried...)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Lately my schedule has been toast. I'm supposed to write at night. Not that I only have nighttime to work, but I work best after dinner for some reason. But since I haven't really been writing at all, that's gone to hell in a handbasket. When I'm writing like I'm supposed to, I do about 2-3 hours with little breaks here and there. On a good weekend day, I can edit on and off all day.

As for my ideas, they're all over the place - literally. I have scraps of paper, napkins, notebooks etc. with ideas jotted on them, and if they're lucky, they make it into the file I keep on my computer.

Darcy Burke said...

I can write for long stretches at a time and love when that's possible, but given my two little children, I am often interrupted so I have mastered the fifteen minute (or less) snippets. I imagine a full time writer's life to be pretty much what Erica described, with tasks changing depending where you are in the cycle of writing.

And, yes, ideas come all the time. I actually had an idea for a YA series the other day. !!! Who knew?

Tessa Dare said...

I can't get anything done, writing-wise, in snippets of time. An hour's the bare minimum, but several hours is preferable So that means I must wait until my children are asleep or in the care of the DH/grandma/etc., and consequently the bulk of my writing is done in the wee hours or on weekends. I love it when I have a whole weekend day to just work intensively on my manuscript - that's when I get the most done - but I don't know that I could do that every day.

Gillian Layne said...

An hour in the morning, a couple of hours late at night, if I'm awake.

Life interferes with the rest, but life also inspires the stories, so it all works out.

And while I cannot write anywhere yet, I can certainly read anywhere.

lacey kaye said...

Erica -- you're probably right about how I'd spend my day, which is partly what I'm afraid of. If I could justify that everything eventually trickles down to writing.... Take, for example, my penchant for cleaning the house. I could argue (and do, all the time) that it's hard for me to concentrate if my house/office/room isn't clean and tidy. Uh... Yeah, I don't think that will fly with the editor!

B.E, I'm so impressed you write 2-3 hours at a time! The last few days I've managed to do that, (mostly revising), but usually I have to get up and do something else. I just have so much time sitting!

As for your idea box, I just bought a magnetic board, a cork board, and a wipe board for my office. I'm ready! Muse, attack!

On the other hand, I'm with Tessa in that the fact that Darcy can get ANYTHING done in 15 minute snippets, let alone write most of a book, totally amazes me.

Gillian, I can write anywhere but ONLY if I'm handwriting into my little notebook. So...that doesn't work very well for revising! Agh!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Ack. I don't do the 2-3 hours without at least 2 ten minute breaks - mostly because I smoke, and we don't smoke in the office (bad for the computers and all that junk). If I'm writing new words, I need the nicotine and the walk away to keep myself sane.

Jennifer Linforth said...

Funny, I was just thinking about this topic as I was trolling around blogs. I recently had to set up a blog over here and was groaning "I should be editing..."

I am a new mom, so finding time to write is a team effort. My husband allows me the time I need at night after our daughter falls asleep. (Which she is refusing to now) I put her in daycare for an extra day a week even though I don't have to. This frees up my time to have "Typing Tuesdays" devoted to the research an editing of my manuscripts.

But my days of writing until midnight are long over. But I make it a point to write every day.

Now. I should be writing and not blogging.

Thanks for the post!

Isabel said...

You've read my mind by writing this blog, Lacey. I often wonder the same thing, how do other writer's do it?
I think it was Maven Jacqueline who said it here, "you have to make time to write." Or something along those lines. :)

To answer your question(s) I need at least an hour to get some work done. (I'm currently working on chapter one for the Maven critique). I have yet to master the 15 minute writing sessions though.

I find the best time to write is first thing in the morning when I get up and sometimes in the evening, providing I don't have to make dinner.

As for ideas, I write them down on anything, napkins, post its, back of grocery store receipts, kleenex, anything really.

Another thing that's helped get back on track was cutting back on the places (blogs, message boards, writing sites, etc). At one point I was visiting as many as twenty different blogs a day! WOW! I could be writing during all that time.

lacey kaye said...

LOL, I love your reason for not smoking in the office. Today one of my coworkers was complaining that we only pay for new, fancy air conditioners to keep the server room at a level 68 degrees!

Jennifer, thanks for trolling by! Congrats on the baby and good luck finding the time.

Isabel, no kidding on the blogs! They're so addictive. We're excited to hear you're working on your first chapter (me, especially!). Now get back to work! :-P

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