A good friend asked me about my work space, environment, rituals, etc. Although I have always written short stories, poems and novels, I kept them to myself. So it was usually pen against paper in a notebook or on a legal pad. It is a recent decision to take some of my work public, and in doing so, realize that my archaic methods needed a little updating.
I now have a modern computer, (hey, the old one worked well for many years), and after I got tired of digging through my one drawer for paper clips and post-its, I bought a cubby unit with lots of spaces for each little thing to be right at my fingertips. Good start.
I also have my muse near the desk. It is a Renoir reproduction of ‘Alphonsine’, a little souvenir of my time at the writing workshop in France. (I have an entire blog devoted to her in archives.)
The best tool I have easily accessible is my blackberry. I can take notes, pictures, work up my blog – as I am currently doing while I wait for morning coffee to brew. Yes I am an addict to both coffee and blackberry.
As for rituals, it’s early morning for me. As a wife, mother and full time employee of the postal service, time is rare, quiet time nonexistent after seven in the morning. So it’s up at 5:30 at least, some days 4:30. And if I get home first, I try to sneak in a few extra minutes.
Ideas come to me from everywhere. I have lists and lists of topics to explore. The hardest thing is letting it develop itself. I can have a path chosen for a character and suddenly she runs headlong in the opposite direction, or something unforeseen to me grabs her and takes her for an adventure. I thought I was undisciplined, that the lovely old couple currently living in my character’s grandparents’ house, shouldn’t be insane and delusional – they definitely shouldn’t have drugged her and locked her in the attic. That wasn’t where I was suppose to take the story. But, that is what they insisted on, so what do you do?
Hannah Tinti said that she never plans her work, that it comes to her. And that is what I love about her writing. It surprises the reader. Who would expect the noise in the chimney to be a dwarf?
So, I am learning to get out of the way of my writing, to value the time I have and to let somebody else do the shopping and the dishes. Right now my heroine is trying to break into her stalker’s hotel room, so she needs me. Gotta go!
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