My writing process sometimes feels really slipshod and haphazard. But I’ve been doing it full time for a few years now, and it seems to be working, so I can’t really argue. My problem is I focus on the “to do” list more than I do on the “have done” list. And there’s always so much more to do!
I work at home. I love being at home with my music, my reference library, my kitchen, my dog, my sofa, my cuddly blanket. I nest, and I can work in my nest. I listen to music because I need to have some kind of distraction for the list-making part of my brain. This is the part of my brain that wonders if I left the stove on, worries about the laundry, thinks maybe it’s time to take the car in, and so on. If I’m dwelling on niggling details like that, I don’t write. So I put music on, and I can focus on the creative side of my brain. It’s pretty cool.
It takes me a while to get started in the mornings, so that’s when I try to take care of business — answering e-mails, book keeping, blogging and essay writing, and so on. Little jobs I can cross off the list to feel like I’ve accomplished something.
My dog, Lily, who is a miniature American Eskimo dog
At noon, Lily (my dog) and I go for a walk, then I eat lunch. Sometimes I’ll go have lunch with friends who work near me, which is good because it gets me out and socializing. Afternoons are for writing.
I write every day, even weekends. But I have a pretty low bar — at least 500 words when working on new fiction, but I usually get to 800-1200. When I’m traveling, I tend to journal rather than working on fiction. Heavy revision counts as writing, or I’d never do it. Significant brainstorming and outlining count as writing, or again I’d never do it. Sometimes writing is a lot more than putting down new words. It’s also putting thought, planning and daydreaming into a story. I think all that’s necessary for making it deeper, richer, for taking it beyond the ordinary. So I try to put in the time on all the steps.
And I try to get it all done before dinner so I can relax for the rest of the evening. It doesn’t always work, especially if I’m close to a deadline.
My desk (which is very, very messy. I hope there’s nothing embarrassing there)
I used to spend as much time writing on the sofa with the laptop as I did at the desk, because the sofa was more comfortable. Then a year or so ago I bought a GOOD office chair, and it’s made a world of difference. I can sit at the desk all day now, at the right height and in the correct posture, and actually get work done.
My desk, by the way, is a huge mess. Pay no attention. I make lists — lists of deadlines, daily to do lists, annual goal lists, lists of books and stories I’d like to write. I also have lots of pages and notebooks with brainstorming. The desk is kind of my brain made physical, so I can look at it and figure out what to do next. Scary thought, huh? I also have a bulletin board with all kinds of stuff posted on it — a list of deadlines, as well as anything that makes me smile. Items to note: my Wild Cards team jacket on the back of my chair, my Monty Python attack rabbit, the picture of two wolves from a World Wildlife Fund calendar that makes me think of Kitty and Ben, the postcard of Tim Roth, the Dendarii Free Mercenaries Official Staff Vehicle bumper sticker, the “What Would Machiavelli Do?” bumper sticker, and so on…
Kitty’s House of Horrors: out now
Voices of Dragons: YA due out in March
Kitty Goes to War: out June 26 from Tor Books
Discord’s Apple: stand-alone fantasy out in August