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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How I Write

Sometimes, I just sit at the computer, open the file of a WIP, read the last few lines from the day before and start typing away. When I get to the top of the next page, most of the time I stop, (happy to have made that little goal) but sometimes the writing is so hot, so flowing-from-my-fingers-good that I don't even notice when I hit the top of the page. I just keep going and going.

I love when that happens.

Sometimes, I pull out my moleskine (okay, most of the time it's a black and white speckled student composition book.....but picture the moleskine, it's more authorly) and a blue pen (or fat leaded pencil) and try to unclog the clog in my brain that is keeping me from getting good work done. Usually, when I read back on stuff in the notebook, I have no memory of having actually written it....the writing is very free.....half of the time it is usable.....don't aask about the other half.

I get more work done when I have less time in which to do it. Sad but true. Last week, on vacation in NM, I got only two pages done. Really, that's not very much. Yeah, I know, I was on would have been fine to take a break from writing. But for me, vacation IS for writing. I dream of days just for writing.

Those days never happen.

Days in which I know I have unlimited time during which to follow my muse....well, she reverts to her slacker days...or her inner preschooler takes over and she is forever distracted by shiny things. Days in which I know have but a tiny window....I get much more done.

I work on lots of stuff at the same time usually, but this past week I have only worked on one thing. Weird for me. I need to open up something else today I think. Perhaps I'll work on the poem for Surfiesta so I don't have to eat it in a few weeks.

Speaking of eating....what is it about going on vacation that forces you to eat so much?



Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Traveling takes more energy than you think! Which is probably why you eat a lot. I do, too.

And THIS: I get more work done when I have less time in which to do it.

I am exactly the same way!

Thanks for sharing your process. Really interesting and refreshing!

Jemi Fraser said...

I tend to get more done when I'm busy as well - but that's most of the time, so I don't have to worry much :)

Mohamed Mughal said...

My hat's off to you for continuing to write even when you're on vacation! :)

Sometimes these days, even when I'm at home, I'm too tired to write....

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I am constantly amazed at how productive and creative you are when your life is so busy. You've earned your crown and more.
I do find I can write more when a deadline of some kind is in the mix, even if it's an online contest.

Corey Schwartz said...

You're very impressive, Shelley! I almost always work on one thing at a time. When I am working on a PB I am usually consumed by it. I eat, sleep, and breathe it. Virtually impossible for me to switch gears.

SWK said...

Great post. Vacations are so challenging. You are torn between sitting with your words and making memories out in the world. Well put! - Stasia

Hardygirl said...

Yes!!! What is the deal with that? I get so much more done when I know I don't have as much time.

Except for the summer, when it's a struggle to get anything done with these needy little girlies who live with me. I have been doing a lot of reading, though.

And, we're on vacation. I decided that I wasn't going to even attempt to work on anything because I always THINK I'm going to write when we're away from home--and then I end up frustrated and crabby.

You're supposed to eat a lot on vacation because it doesn't count (you know, it stays in Vegas . . . right?).


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing about your writing process. I think it's great that you were able to do some writing while on vacation.

Lisa and Laura said...

You are SO right about the time thing. Whenever I don't have much the words seem to flow. Maybe that's why my most productive hours are 11PM - 1 AM? I think sometimes I need to feel the pressure and just write. If I have too much time I think too much!

Love the glimpse into your writing life, Shelley.

storyqueen said...

Michelle-And the people that you visit keep serving up the food!!(Didn't we just finish breakfast??) I suppose I didn't HAVE to eat it....but it was sooo good.....

Jemi-Thank you for coming by! I just wish I could balance things better....

Mohamed-I started writing during my lunch break for just that reason! Sometimes I come home just so darn exhausted, but then I'd get mad at myself if I was too tired to write. Having written a bit during the day really helped!

Tricia-Speaking of contests and you know know.....???

Corey-That is because you have a logical, smart brain that doesn't forget what it is working on. Half of the time, I just forget where I am at on a piece....which isn't always bad, actually.

SWK-exactly! It is good sometimes not to write...but I would love to go to one of those writers' retreats with cabins and no electricity and just write...sounds so romantic.

storyqueen said...

SF-I WISH it would stay in Vegas...and not on my butt. And you are right, I was trying to avoid a dose of summer crabbiness.

Susanne-You know, although I wished I had accomplished more, two pages isn't that bad, really.

L and L-I think it's a time management thing....probably like money management. If you don't have to watch every penny and make it count...then you just don't. (Wishing for more money and time.)

Jackee said...

I love your writing-how. I agree with all of it, especially getting more done when we're busy. Which is why I've fulfilled your challenge for me today and cranked out the final 10k (over the last few days). So I did it! Thanks for helping me get motivated. :o)

Now I'm in fear of getting distracted by shiny things today...

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

When we travel, I feel obliged to make a purchase if we stop to use the facilities...which means, we'll have to stop again and repeat the process.

My time has been eaten up by the basement flood and household disarray, followed by my daughter's acting stuff...and more vacation time coming up soon...


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