Writer At Work
So what do our days really look like? Where do they take us?
Well, for me, it begins after I get the kids off to school. About 7 a.m. if not sooner, I try
to be at my computer. I do the email and boards thing first then settle into whatever project I’m working on at the moment. Most weekend mornings, I try and write for the blogs I’m part of: Totally4YA, the YAFF Muse blog, and my own WordPress one. Once I knock these out of the way, I get down to business with writing.
Now, admittedly, all that “writing” time is not always spent doing so. Sometimes it’s research time. I’ve recently researched ghouls, Native American prophecies, skin-walkers, and Genetic Engineering. Research can take hours or days depending on what you’re looking for. Fascinating things catch your eyes, lead you off on a merry chase to discover more about the subject.
Those mentioned above are in reference to a horror story I’ve been working on initialed, SH. I wanted my creatures to be something different than traditional vampires, werewolves or zombies. So I’ve begun to blend, blend, blend the myth with new twists. I love re-working legends. You can take a creature’s fear of the sunlight and make it into so much more. How they came into being can be twisted to suit your purposes.
I’d say 50% of writing time is done researching for me, that’s how much I want what I’m doing to make sense, explore the impossible. The other half is meant to pull the research, characters, plotline etc. together. It’s hard to explain the “magic” that happens to a non-writer. You simply sit at the keyboard or with a pad and a pencil/pen and “listen” to the characters tell their stories. It doesn’t always happen right away. There are days when you fight to get a sentence out of them, and others when the flow can’t be stopped. But as you progress, you realize that you’ve really got something here: a story others might be interested to read/hear.
And so you keep at it, fighting, pushing, and sometimes shoving toward that ending. Is it difficult? Yes and no. But the joy of the finished product can’t be compared. A lot of people want to write a book someday but the truth is it’s harder than it looks and can take years of practice before you even get noticed. There are no short-cuts, no secret formulas. It’s mostly sit in the chair and work to apply what you’ve learned to what you still are learning. It never becomes stagnant.
A writer’s work like housework is never done. It keeps building into searching for an agent, rewrites, more rewrites, hoping to catch the eye of the elusive editor, rewriting again, and even after the books sees print there’s promotion to be concerned with. In today’s market, the reality is, you have to get out there and run the bases to earn your readers. And once you have them, don’t ever take them for granted. They support us to do what we love to do.
It all begins with that first page and carries on to the last. And then, even before you’re done with one story, you must begin the next. You never want to come out of the gate betting on just one horse. At the moment, while I’m re-writing SH, I’ve got Walking in the background, calling out for its rewrites. And then there’s a new story clamoring for my attention. Like I said, the Muse never sleeps. It may get rusty from time to time but it merely needs recharged. Watching a movie, reading a book, observing life can jog it.
Then the challenge begins again. Can I do it? Will it even see light of day? Sometimes it’s frustrating. The road to publication is paved with rejections but don’t lose heart. You came into this business to tell stories, to share them with others, if you never reach bestsellerdom, that’s okay. You did what was in your heart, touched lives out there, all in all, you did your job. And that’s all anyone can ask. Good luck with your writing.