I’ve had a person or two ask me about my writing environment lately. That is to say, they wanted to know my target schedule and how I stay motivated. So I thought I’d blog about that today.
In the last year and a half, I’ve had five books published. That doesn’t mean all those books were written in that time frame. A couple of them had been ‘practice’ manuscripts I’d played with for several years. Just like any other skill, writing has a serious learning curve. One I’m still riding, BTW! Those old ratty stories got serious rewrites last year and were subsequently published.
But the other novels I’ve published were written over the course of the eighteen months aforementioned. I’m not a super fast writer, but I am a creature of habit. So I’ll tell you the habits I’ve developed that work for me.
First and foremost I do a whole lot of praying. I get ragged about that from friends and family sometimes. But I think it’s the single most important thing I do when I set my mind to writing. And I’m not too proud to admit, I’ve asked critique partners to pray as well, especially when the writing seems slow and labored. I truly believe God is the author and finisher of everything I do.
I try to write, edit, or polish 10 pages a day. I have a planner with these targets noted by day. I take great pleasure in putting a big fat X through the square on my calendar when my workday is done. OCD much, you might be thinking? I guess I am when it comes to completing writing goals. 🙂
As to my actual working space, I find I must have books around me to be comfortable. My wonderful and handy husband has built me many lovely sets of bookshelves over the years. Right now my office is a cute little nook. I have a great desk top and loads of shelves above it. On the shelves are research books [for my historicals], some personal items- a tiny sandalwood carved elephant my husband brought back to me from India, the photo of my grandma, and a host of great smelling candles.
When I write, I burn candles appropriate to the particular novel I’m writing. That along with great music set the mood for me and keep me focused. My Medieval novels call for spicy scented Christmas type candles. I usually stock up on these during the after Christmas sales every year. I tend to go with citrus scents for the contemporaries. As I’ve been finishing the rewrite on The Last Rose Pearl, I’ve been enjoying an herbal woodsy candle. It sort of transports me to the early 1800’s.
I do play music when I write. But I’m very low tech about it. I have collected a bunch of great CD’s from thrift stores over the years and I typically pick one and listen to it over and over on an old beat up CD player as I write a book. The Medievals call for the movie sound track from BraveHeart. I listened to the Broadway recording of Smoke on the Mountain while I wrote Birdie Saves The World. Completing TLRP I’ve enjoyed a CD of classical piano, they’re very Regency Romance. For The Giftlings, I used the soundtrack from Twilight.
And like some writers, I do use a very simple Inspiration Board for each novel. Basically I clip images from magazines and put them on a little magnetized white board I have. It’s nothing elaborate, just the hero, heroine, setting, and maybe one quirky image that captures the feel I’m going for in each story. For BSTW that quirky image was an old pink painted bicycle leaning against a brick wall. It had a basket filled with flowers attached to the handlebars.
Sorry this got so long, but I hope it gives you the peek into my writing world you’ve asked about. Don’t miss out on this month’s Book GiveAway! Love Never Fails, Grace