A few thoughts on routine, inspiration and motivation

I am what you call a Pantser, meaning I don’t pre-write or outline. My creativity comes this way… Let’s suppose I’m done with my latest novel and have chosen to take a break before starting a new one.  I only make it a day or two, and boom– an idea pops in my mind and I’m off!

I write full-time–  all day, everyday.  Stephen King says, “If you don’t write everyday while working on a WIP your story loses it sense of urgency…” I totally agree.  And you must read everyday, too.  I say this all the time.  You cannot become a great writer if you don’t read.  You can be a half-ass writer. But who wants that?  You must read a lot AND write a lot.  That’s the secret formula.  No exceptions.  Everyday.  No excuses.  If you work, set the alarm for an hour earlier and MAKE TIME to read.  Go to bed an hour later.  MAKE TIME!  Nothing is worse than excuses.  If you find you’re making one excuse after another maybe you should do something else with your life.  That may sound crass but it’s true.  If you love what you do you’ll never delay your reading or writing because it’s one of the most important elements in your life.  At least it should be.

I don’t have a writing room.  If any of you have read, On Writing by Stephen King– which I highly recommend you do– Stephen King says it’s necessary to have a writing room, or writing space, where you can literally shut the door and block out the world.  This is great advice!  Not just because he’s Stephen King, either.  But in my house it just isn’t practical.  Instead, my husband usually goes outside and mingles with the neighbors– we live on a mountain with only two neighbors who’ve become more like family than friends– and I get the house to myself.  Well, me and either Gideon or Cascius (I introduced you to them in an earlier post), the other is outside with Daddy.

When I open my Chromebook… By the way, I do not recommend any novelist using a Chromebook as their only computer source. If you want to use it in addition to a laptop or desktop, they’re wonderful. But alone, no. The only storage you have for a novel-size document is on One Drive.  I lost my first novel on Google Drive, and let me tell you it was very disheartening, to say the least.  Had I not sent to my dear friend to read the week before I would’ve never seen it again and all that time would’ve been wasted… bummer.

Back to my point. So, when I open my Chromebook my mind instantly focuses.  My surroundings fade away. And I see only the words on the screen and hear only the movie playing in my mind.  Nothing else.  Nothing.  I once heard someone call this the author zone.  Okay, let’s go with that.  In that author zone state-of-mind the house could literally burn down around me and I seriously doubt if I’d smell smoke.  No lie.  I get so zeroed in on the movie in my head that nothing else matters.  I can’t wait to see what happens next or what Shawny (from Timber Point) will do or say once this or that happens.  My husband, Bob, will tell me he just loaded the woodstove not four feet from me and I have no recollection of him ever being in the house, let alone standing right next to me.  I’m dead serious.  I’ve even peeked in the stove to see if he’s messing with me or not.  That’s how bad I get.  Or good.  I suppose it’s a matter of opinion.  To me, it’s good.  For poor Bob, not so good. 🙂

Does that mean I don’t love my family?  Of course not.  And it doesn’t mean I’m not passionate about anything else, either. Although right now I can’t think of anything else that excites me more than writing, so let’s just say that I am.  :0

 

successFor me, personally, a writing room isn’t necessary but I have a wonderful husband who makes himself scarce. It is, however, crucial for many.  You need to block out all distractions and concentrate only on your work.  It’s not selfish.  It doesn’t mean you don’t care, or that you’re self-involved, or not interested in what others have to say.  It only means you’re a serious writer.  Let me rephrase:  a serious author.  I never understood the term aspiring author.  If you’ve authored two or three novels, why are you still aspiring?  The term should be:  aspiring published author.  But that’s a post for a different day.

No one, and I mean no one, not your spouse, partner, or family has the right to tell you you shouldn’t shoot for the stars. This is YOUR dream, YOUR passion, YOUR destiny, not theirs.  Only YOU can make it happen, not them.  Only YOU can make yourself stick to a writing regiment of 1000-2000 words a day.  And only YOU can let yourself down by quitting before you’ve done that.

Let me leave you with this inspiration…  Believe in yourself.  Your destiny is waiting.

YES!

5 Comments

  1. Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ should on every writer must read list. It is simply brilliant. My writing room is my laptop a comfy seat and noise cancelling headphones, block the world ou and focus on the task at hand…

    • You’re absolutely right! It should be on every writer’s shelf. I love that book and refer to it often. Stephen King has a great voice, a great way to teach without it feeling like you’re being taught. As you know, I don’t have a writing room, either. Although, someday I would love one. I never thought of using headphones before. That’s a great idea. I may borrow that idea on rainy days when the hubby is stuck inside 🙂

  2. Awesome post Sue, truly inspiring and sage advice! Keep up the great work! BTW, have you ever read Bird By Bird? It’s a classic for writers. Wow, I had no idea that you lost your first manuscript. Thankfully there was a backup! 😉

    • Thanks, Rob. No, I’ve never read Bird by Bird. I’ll have to check it out. Yes, when I lost my first novel my heart sank. I had worked so hard… Well, you know how hard I worked. I had just sent it to Laurie– Thank God! She saved me. Google Docs is famous for “losing” long documents. I later found out that the longest doc they allow is 10,000-20,000 words. Obviously that wasn’t, and still isn’t, going to work for me. Now I use One Drive until I can get myself yet another computer :$ (I’m not sure how to make the frustrated face with emoticons, but that’s what that symbol is supposed to be :))

  3. Awesome post Sue, truly inspiring! Keep up the great work! I had no idea that you lost the first manuscript?! Thankfully there was a backup! 😉

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    Sue Coletta