How do you write? (And other Very Important Life Questions)
Today I thought I’d open the floor up to YOU guys.
I mean, I know you all through comments and emails, but I don’t know as much as I’d LIKE to know about you as writers and readers and people. So, I’ve put up a bunch of polls, and if you’d care to share which answers you chose in the comments section, then that’ll bring me one step closer to understanding everyone.
This is my office space. Do you have one?
I spend over 40 hours a week writing. I KNOW, I’m kinda crazy, but I treat it like a full-time job. My goal is to get at least 2 books written a year. So far, so good…
For this next one, you can choose more than one (since, you know, you would work on weekdays and work 5-7 days a week). I work every single freakin’ day–even on weekends. The week is devoted almost solely to writing/revising, and the weekends are for blogs, crit-work, and website stuff.
If I could go anywhere in the world to write, I’m thinking this place looks pretty nice… Where would you go?
I’m half-and-half. I like to have a beginning, middle, and end in my mind before I start, and I typically sketch out a few scenes before I write them. Yet I also let myself follow a random idea and give my Muse freedom to run wild when she wants.
I definitely have a critique partner–a few, actually. They each have different styles of critiquing, and as such, they each catch different problems–I ♥ them very much.
Oh man, if I could have lunch with any of these three… I think I’d pick Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie, and William Faulkner. Not only did they live in such exciting, changing times for publishing and writers, but they all had such distinct, kinda crazy (in a good way) personalities!
And so, my dear friends, what did you choose? You tell me in the comments–I can’t wait to find out!
April 11, 2011 @ 11:57 am
awesome polls- lots of fun!
April 11, 2011 @ 2:02 pm
April 11, 2011 @ 1:20 pm
Fun poll! I’ve been thinking for years I’d like to rent a hotel in Edinburgh (my favourite British city) for a week and just wander the streets on my own in the morning and writing all afternoon and evening. I seriously mean to do this one of these years. Or that beach would work, either one 😉
A question I’d be interested in poll answers to is how people finance their writing 😉 I would LOVE to write 40 hours a week. I’d give my right pinkie for that opportunity (guilt-free, that is). Right now I get up, check my job listing RSS feeds and apply to any potential jobs for the first hour or two in the morning, then apart from any chores/errands, spend as much of the rest of the day writing as I can. But I’ve been looking for work for about a year now since graduating. I would LOVE to just be able to write, but unfortunately my boyfriend has the responsible, adult (ie well-paying and stable!) job, and if I was independently wealthy I’d just write all day long without guilt. But I need to get a pay check again.
I’d love to know how people who need to work balance their work and writing, when their writing – like me – is the priority and thing they want to say on their deathbed they gave their best efforts to!
April 11, 2011 @ 2:11 pm
I financed my writing in a similar way to you for the first year. 🙂 I let my husband support me, and I worked all day, everyday until a year later, I got my agent, and then a few weeks after that, I sold my book.
I had a REALLY hard time at first because I have always had a job, and the thought of not working, of possibly not seeing any payoff for many, many years–well, it was daunting. But, the Frenchman has been wonderfully supportive and insisted time and time again that it was fine.
I actually only turned to writing because I wasn’t allowed to work in Germany and I knew I was going to have a lotta time on my hands…and it had always been my dream, but I’d never actually tried my hand at it. So I worked my butt off learning the craft and the industry, and I treated it like a career–even if it wasn’t paying at first! 🙂 If you have all this time, then you’re lucky you can devote so much of it to writing!
Have you ever considered freelance work?
Of course, hopefully your job hunt will pay off and then you’ll be working and writing. Most writers are in this boat–in fact, I don’t personally know anyone else who writes full-time. Lots of people make the limited writing time work, and I think it all boils down to sticking to a schedule. There are lots of books/blogs out there about this exact thing! And if anyone else has some suggestions, I’d also love to hear them! 🙂
GOOD LUCK WITH THE JOB!
April 11, 2011 @ 8:20 pm
Thanks for the reply Susan, and the good luck 🙂 The Frenchman sounds like a fantastic kinda guy! The Scotsman (haha) has been supportive beyond my expectations – and I know if we owned our own house he’d probably be cool with me throwing all my energy into writing, but since we’re working to get on the property ladder, me earning would help a lot. The difference is you’ve got impressive and useful qualifications and if you wanted to work you could get some kick-butt jobs I imagine, whereas film degrees are, well.. chocolate teapots 😉
I have thought about freelancing. Need to do more research. Been writing for a magazine regularly since 2008 (unpaid) and might be able to get some jobs off the basis of that. As for sticking to a schedule, I’ll have a nose around for some useful blogs and ideas. In the meantime, it’s slowly taken me about 8 of my 10 months unemployed to realise – DUH – I don’t have to job hunt all day. I can do it in the AM and when I’ve done all I can for the day I actually CAN write for the rest of the day! I let guilt take me over for too long :-/
And yeah, I totally love your workspace! Very bright and cheery and inspiring!
April 11, 2011 @ 2:40 pm
I love polls!! Your writing space is lovely. The view out of that window is just gorgeous. I only have one small window that looks out to the brick pavers on my front stoop. Not very inspiring.
I think I might steal this idea and post a picture of my workspace later this week (although I really should clean it first. It’s an effing disaster at the moment). I love little glimpses into how others work.
April 11, 2011 @ 6:37 pm
This was fun! I also write full-time, first due to health reasons, then because my hubby wouldn’t let me go back to work. We live on his grad-student stipend, so it’s tight, but we’ve made it work for several years (someday, someday, he may graduate and be a professor;))
If my novel sells for enough money that I feel like I can splurge some of it, I am totally taking a writing vacation in a pretty spot with either a waterfall or the ocean. A pretty spot with fantastic food.
An author I’d like lunch with is Elizabeth Gaskell, a contemporary of Dickens whom he admired. Not only was she an author in the mid-1800’s, she was an active minister’s wife and mother of five.
April 11, 2011 @ 6:47 pm
Ooh, waterfalls and good food! nice!!
And I LOVE Elizabeth Gaskell! I almost added her to the list, but I didn’t think enough people would know who she was!! HAHA! 😀
April 11, 2011 @ 6:50 pm
The BBC put together a four-part miniseries in 1999 of Wives and Daughters (and it’s great!). I think people are slowly discovering Gaskell through it.
April 11, 2011 @ 6:51 pm
!!! I just watched that last week! It is SO well-done. I enjoyed North & South a lot, but I think they did a better job with Wives and Daughters!
Ack, Molly is such a great character!
April 11, 2011 @ 7:01 pm
April 11, 2011 @ 7:20 pm
Thanks, Kathy!! <3
April 11, 2011 @ 7:18 pm
oooo I’m so envious of your writing space! I would love to have a serene, cozy nest that I could crawl into and create from. I have three kids, and my writing time is usually at a coffee house after preschool drop off. Needless to say, I have learned to block out the crazy ambient noise that surrounds me every morning. Who knows, maybe I wouldn’t know what to do with peace and quiet!
Besides the kids, I’m really lucky not to have to hold a job right now, but with my husband starting up his own bakery it has been busier than ever. (He is Basque form the French side:) ) So, often it is late at night when I can get back to my story and/or blogging/reading/learning/internet stuff.
But if Elizabeth Gaskell can do it with five children in the 19th century, then I can do it with three in the 21st– inspiration! 😉
April 11, 2011 @ 7:22 pm
Okay, first of all: BAKERY? Um, can we say AWESOME!?
Second of all: I used to love working at coffee shops, but since we live in the middle of nowhere, there is nary a coffee shop or library in sight. I do miss working in public–though I also love my office. 😉
Third: HECK YEAH you can do it! Inspiration woot!
April 11, 2011 @ 7:50 pm
I write in the morning early. While I wouldn’t go on a trip just to write, I write when I’m out. Especially nice to be at the beach or in the woods. But mostly it’s just my easy chair before anyone else is up (except the dog.) Wherever my laptop is, that’s my office.
Tanks for the fun post.
April 12, 2011 @ 1:03 pm
Yes, at the beach or in the woods sounds wonderful!!
April 11, 2011 @ 9:27 pm
I love your writing space. A window! Plants! Mine’s either on my bed or couch. Lame.
I spend over 40 hours a week writing, but a good portion of that is for my day job. I do a ton of writing for my story on weekends or at night during the week. Still, it somehow always works out that I’ll get the itch to write during the day and have no time to actually do it at night.
April 12, 2011 @ 1:04 pm
What do you do when you “get the itch”? Do you keep a notebook handy or anything? I try to keep paper with me at all times because whenever inspiration seems to strike, I can never remember it later!
And you’re not the only writer I know who sits in bed or on the couch!! 😉
April 12, 2011 @ 5:16 am
I agree with other commenters – LOVE your writing space!!! I tend to write at this coffeeshop that has this huge window-wall with a view out onto the town square w/ lots of trees. Trees and greenery=necessary for inspiration 😉 Oh god I can’t wait to be able to write all the time and not only on the month of Christmas break and the few months of Summer break. But school is almost done! Then I can just mainly spend my time being a writer! And, you know, living a far more stress-free existence than I am currently enduring by attempting to couple edits w/ term papers AT THE SAME TIME. It absolutely crazy-making. Things Heather keeps repeating to herself: May is almost here, May is almost here, May is almost here!
April 12, 2011 @ 1:05 pm
I definitely agree with the trees and greenery! And yes!! May is ALMOST here! And then you can write book 2 full tiiiiiime!!
April 12, 2011 @ 6:03 am
Ilove your office! Someday I will have one.Now I write wherever I can.(Even the bathroom). I work as a Pharmacist so have to squeeze writing in whenever I can,even if it’s late at night.I love my job too, & we need the income.My husband urged me on when I first felt the need. I’m looking forward to sitting outside this summer.
Love your topics & fun things you do.
Thanks for the great information-I save them for future reference.:}
April 12, 2011 @ 1:06 pm
That’s great you love your job! I loved marine biology, but it wasn’t option when we moved Germany. Fortunately, my new career is something I love even more!!
April 12, 2011 @ 6:25 am
Oh, man! I hate answering polls like these when I’m on a writing hiatus! Susan, you may have just gotten my butt into gear. (:
In relation to the “traveling to write” question, when I lived in Italy I was able to travel to Pompeii and Herculaneum (I had a season pass ;D) to work on my then-WIP. It was fantastic being able to sit on a rock surrounded by walls bleached with age and watch the rainbow of tourists walk by and the stray dogs panting in the sunlight and occasionally maybe even look at the ruins themselves. That novel has since been retired indefinitely, but I look back at those days in Pompeii as some of my best.
I absolutely adore your writing space! I have the eye for cutesy areas like that, too, but my trouble is that I’m SO MESSY! It would be scattered with papers and wrappers and old soda cans in a matter of days! I’ll add “keeping a cutesy desk like Susan” to my list of wistful aspirations.
And finally, as for the three writers I’d dine with – as a poet, I had to choose Sylvia Plath. As a romantic, I had to choose Jane Austen. And out of sheer curiousity, I had to choose Mary Shelley. She seems like she’d be an absolutely fascinating character, since her husband was such a piece of work and she created – a young mother in her time! – a tale as dark and deep and moving as FRANKENSTEIN.
April 12, 2011 @ 1:07 pm
Oooh, I love your three selections! Well…to be honest, I’m kinda partial in some way or other to everyone on the list (that’s why they’re on there!).
Italy! Holy crow am I jealous! That sounds amazing! I spent one day at Pompeii, and it sent my head in a frenzy of romantic notions and daydreaming…I can’t imagine writing there!! How wonderful!