Miss Bella (see above) is enjoying an afternoon nap, snoring like a revving engine after spending an hour outside, digging holes in our backyard. And why shouldn’t she enjoy a nice nap? She’s had a rough morning of teasing her brother, Codi (see right) and destroying her basket of toys.
When I tell people I work from home they often assume the picture above. *Eye Roll* Let me put this assumption to rest once and for all. *The life of Bella in no way resembles the life of a writer.*
A siesta would be wonderful, but in the writing/publishing world there’s no time for a nap. The people I speak to every day (in person or on the phone) can attest to this statement: My mind is never far from my book. Even though writing is the bulk of what I do, there’s more to ‘writing’ a novel than just writing. I research, study, edit, outline, and I’m sure there’s something else I’m forgetting. Reading is also a big part of being a writer, seeing how other authors write dialogue, interior monologue, character arcs, plot, etc.
Place: I’m envious of the writers who can bring their laptops to Starbucks or the library, and write juicy scenes. I can’t. I’ve tried writing at the beach, in parking lots, in Maine, and as my pen touches the paper, I’m immediately hit with writer’s block. The only place I can write is in my lanai—regardless of how hot or cold it is outside. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve established a routine that’s comfortable and thought/scene-producing, and it’s the only place where the words will flow. On the cold night of November 19, 2008, I sat in our lanai, at our glass table with a pen and notebook in front of me, and thought, “If I don’t get “this” out, it’s going to eat me,” and that’s how/where the book started. So I will finish my last edit in the exact same spot—minus the details above.
Time: Eight hours a day—minimum and no exceptions. Typical is 10 hours and often (when the plot and brain are in-sync) 14 hours a day. As I’ve mentioned before, creativity can spark at any time so when I get an idea, even if it’s 3:00am, I write it down.
*I buy Sharpie markers in bulk—both red and black.
*If my computer crashed, the MAC Gods might as well cut off my air supply too.
*Staples is my home away from home.
*Pads of paper/notebooks are considered décor in my house and can be found in every room.
*Google should put me on their payroll for how much time I spend on their site.
*I have a callous on my middle finger the size of a dime (from writing) and it isn’t pretty.
*Pens, pencils, erasers, and even a few paper clips have fallen out of my hair in the shower. Not sure how they find their way into my ponytail/bun, but—HA!—because they do.
*I buy pens as often as coffee.
*And coffee is purchased (at Sam’s Club) on a biweekly basis. (A coffee detox is definitely in my near future—do they have support groups for that?)
*To avoid being a hermit (during the week), I go to the grocery store even when we don’t need food. I’m addicted to chocolate, so not only do I get ‘a high’ from the bakery department, but also I get to see new faces and write about them.
*My husband gets so excited when I have time to cook, he treats it like a holiday and breaks out the china.
So to all you assumers out there, spooning my dogs, watching reality TV, and catching up on our laundry that’s now spilling out of our laundry room, is not what I do all day. I write and I love every second of it! And don’t worry, Bella and Codi are never neglected. If anything, they get too much mommy love.
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