I’ll take it any way I can get it. Some days I can’t wait to run home and break out my notebook to jot down a few ideas. Other times, those few ideas quickly evolve into chapter after chapter of exciting people doing extraordinary things in breathtaking places. Sometimes the words just flow effortlessly. But other times, I can’t get past the first sentence.
What’s a girl to do when she needs to feed the demon but the words just won’t come?
Most important for me was to find out how I am most comfortable writing. I have a big old recliner in the corner of my room. It’s comfy, albeit covered in dog hair due to the mutt’s insistence on using it as her bed at night. This is the place I seem to write best. I tried for a while to write in bed, but there was just never a good spot. Too soft, too hard, too sleepy. I didn’t know whether I was Goldilocks or the Seven Dwarfs. But the chair works, as does the living room couch – but only when the house is quiet and I am alone. It’s difficult to write when your 18 year old is watching football with his friends inches away from you, and the pizza delivery guy is knocking on the door.
In the beginning, I tried putting the words down directly onto my laptop. But for some reason, typing it as the words came out of my head created an obstacle for me. Too much stopping and starting. I’d see a typo and instead of just going back later with spell check, I would immediately backspace and re-type it correctly. This stunted my creative flow. What does work very well for me though is putting the words down with a pen and notebook. There is something satisfying about the way my pen dances across the paper when I am on a creative roll. It just seems to energize me and makes me want to write even more. Then, when I come to a stumbling block, I go back to the beginning and type everything into my laptop for later use. It’s during this time that I do a rough first edit. By the time I get to where I left off, I am ready to put the laptop away and begin writing again.
Normally I need complete quiet in order to get my thoughts onto paper. But there are times when I can benefit from a little background music. If I am tackling a particularly emotional conversation between two characters, or even a romantic tryst, I put my headphones on and play something I think might fit that particular moment. For example – currently I am in the middle of creating a conversation between two characters who are ex-lovers. Things ended badly between them, and they have not spoken since their relationship crashed and burned. She is now with someone else, and they each now find themselves returning to the same place at the same time. Here is my playlist for this powwow:
It’s not so much the lyrics that help me think of what my characters are going to say to each other, but the feeling that the songs convey. The sadness, the anger, the pain. The loss. The music often helps me draw on my own life experiences and puts me in the right frame of mind.
Most importantly, I need to remember that if the words won’t come, the best thing I can do is just walk away. Forcing something down on paper just for the sake of filling up pages will only frustrate me later when I go back and read what I have written. If I don’t want to read that crap, no one else will either.
Writing this book is about me becoming the person I always knew I could be. The part of me that I knew existed, but I never showed to others. Writing this book is going to change my life. Hell…it already has.