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Re: A writer's day

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  • Wendy Darling
    Hi, To add on to this thread, I started doing my writing mainly be doing it at work. I m a web designer and at the jobs I had, I was often much too
    Message 1 of 13 , Jun 30, 2004
      Hi,

      To add on to this thread, I started doing my writing mainly be doing
      it at work. I'm a web designer and at the jobs I had, I was often much
      too industrious, finishing off jobs too quickly so I had a lot of time
      on my hands. So, since I didn't really need to work so quickly, I
      began to pad my hours by writing. My job was very much one where I
      worked on my own projects so nobody ever looked over my shoulder. Last
      year my friend Bridgette and I had a book published and I would say
      probably 75% of the initial draft came out of email discussion we'd
      had while both of us were at work or out of us actually writing at
      work. When we did the work on the actual book manuscript, we did that
      work at home because it required absolute concentration and so I wound
      up spending night and after night last summer editing, re-editing,
      writing, in order to get it right. It was exhausting, especially since
      at work my schedule actually picked up!

      Since January I've been self-employed, of my own choosing, at work at
      home as a freelance web designer. One of the biggest surprises to me
      is how much LESS writing I get done now that I'm actually at more
      leisure to do it! I have a science fiction novel I've been working on
      for a couple of years and when I started this new life, I thought "Oh,
      no problem, I'll have it done by June now that I have so much time!"
      Ha ha. Not only do I not have nearly as much time as I thought I
      would, but for a couple of months I had no *desire* to write. I think
      for a long while I was writing to distract myself from the job I
      hated, so without that job I had no "reason" to write. Thankfully, I
      was commissioned to write a short story for a story anthology and that
      sort of forced me back into gear. Since then I've written only a
      couple of other stories, however. I also worked a lot on my novel, but
      not the actual content, more like the lexicon and technical details.
      It's just so hard to make the time!

      As far as my current habits as far as writing, I am very much a "night
      writer." I don't generally write anything fiction in the day unless
      it's something pretty light. If it's something I'm taking seriously,
      like my novel or the stories I write, I normally don't start up until
      10 p.m. or so -- after all my "other stuff" is behind me. I create a
      whole "mood" in the room. The lights go off, replaced by candles and
      votives and sometimes I light incense. Music goes in the CD player and
      I pour myself a glass of some sort of sweet, potent liqueur or a mix
      of liquers. Instant messenger is turned off and I go off into a
      different world.

      My writing seems to come a lot easier to me than it does it to others
      and I think it probably is a lot more organized. A tend to write from
      Point A to Point Z, totally in order. A lot of people seem to skip
      around and "fill in bits later" but I start from the first scene and
      go on with it. Frequently things happen along the way that I don't
      expect (esp. when characters get a "mind of their own") but I don't
      get tripped up too much. I usually seem to build exactly the sort of
      story I want to. Occasionally (as with the story I'm working on now) I
      learn that for some reason my premise is off and I have to go edit and
      I admit, that is torture for me because I usually feel so confident in
      my writing and tearing it down is hard. However, after experience
      editing both the novel and a long short story -- both of which needed
      complete overhauls -- I think I am getting better about being able to
      smash things up after the fact and recognizing that I have to throw
      away things I *like* for the betterment of the story.

      Sorry, long post there, but I know a lot of people look for insight
      into how other writers think and operate, so I thought I'd offer at
      least a sketch of how I am.

      Wendy

      P.S. In case somebody is curious, my book is called Breeding
      Discontent and is on Amazon.


      --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Firesong <Firesong@w...> wrote:
      > Thanks for the insight in your way of writing Laura... I find it
      > heartening that there is not the ONE method in something like
      writing :-).
      > I browsed for your books on amazon and in a short portrait of yours I
      > read that you are also a harpist. I play the harp as well, mostly on my
      > large gut-strung celtic harp, but I also have a small wire-strung harp
      > which I built in a 2-week harp-building class. I still have to learn
      > how to play her though, she is a beauty but requires a bit more skill
      > than gut strings ;-).
      > It's always nice to hear of fellow harpists. And I am getting very
      > curious about your books too, all with bards and harps and such *g*.
      >
      > Fire
    • Minako
      I´m glad people is finally answering to this. I was very very curious about it. I used to write a lot, I loved it (but I stopped, the muses died when I left
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
        I´m glad people is finally answering to this. I was very very curious about
        it.
        I used to write a lot, I loved it (but I stopped, the muses died when I left
        hight-school) and wondered how pros did it.

        Thanks for the answer.

        Minako.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Wendy Darling" <wdarling@...>
        To: <Flewelling@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 1:55 AM
        Subject: [Flewelling] Re: A writer's day


        > Hi,
        >
        > To add on to this thread, I started doing my writing mainly be doing
        > it at work. I'm a web designer and at the jobs I had, I was often much
        > too industrious, finishing off jobs too quickly so I had a lot of time
        > on my hands. So, since I didn't really need to work so quickly, I
        > began to pad my hours by writing. My job was very much one where I
        > worked on my own projects so nobody ever looked over my shoulder. Last
        > year my friend Bridgette and I had a book published and I would say
        > probably 75% of the initial draft came out of email discussion we'd
        > had while both of us were at work or out of us actually writing at
        > work. When we did the work on the actual book manuscript, we did that
        > work at home because it required absolute concentration and so I wound
        > up spending night and after night last summer editing, re-editing,
        > writing, in order to get it right. It was exhausting, especially since
        > at work my schedule actually picked up!
        >
        > Since January I've been self-employed, of my own choosing, at work at
        > home as a freelance web designer. One of the biggest surprises to me
        > is how much LESS writing I get done now that I'm actually at more
        > leisure to do it! I have a science fiction novel I've been working on
        > for a couple of years and when I started this new life, I thought "Oh,
        > no problem, I'll have it done by June now that I have so much time!"
        > Ha ha. Not only do I not have nearly as much time as I thought I
        > would, but for a couple of months I had no *desire* to write. I think
        > for a long while I was writing to distract myself from the job I
        > hated, so without that job I had no "reason" to write. Thankfully, I
        > was commissioned to write a short story for a story anthology and that
        > sort of forced me back into gear. Since then I've written only a
        > couple of other stories, however. I also worked a lot on my novel, but
        > not the actual content, more like the lexicon and technical details.
        > It's just so hard to make the time!
        >
        > As far as my current habits as far as writing, I am very much a "night
        > writer." I don't generally write anything fiction in the day unless
        > it's something pretty light. If it's something I'm taking seriously,
        > like my novel or the stories I write, I normally don't start up until
        > 10 p.m. or so -- after all my "other stuff" is behind me. I create a
        > whole "mood" in the room. The lights go off, replaced by candles and
        > votives and sometimes I light incense. Music goes in the CD player and
        > I pour myself a glass of some sort of sweet, potent liqueur or a mix
        > of liquers. Instant messenger is turned off and I go off into a
        > different world.
        >
        > My writing seems to come a lot easier to me than it does it to others
        > and I think it probably is a lot more organized. A tend to write from
        > Point A to Point Z, totally in order. A lot of people seem to skip
        > around and "fill in bits later" but I start from the first scene and
        > go on with it. Frequently things happen along the way that I don't
        > expect (esp. when characters get a "mind of their own") but I don't
        > get tripped up too much. I usually seem to build exactly the sort of
        > story I want to. Occasionally (as with the story I'm working on now) I
        > learn that for some reason my premise is off and I have to go edit and
        > I admit, that is torture for me because I usually feel so confident in
        > my writing and tearing it down is hard. However, after experience
        > editing both the novel and a long short story -- both of which needed
        > complete overhauls -- I think I am getting better about being able to
        > smash things up after the fact and recognizing that I have to throw
        > away things I *like* for the betterment of the story.
        >
        > Sorry, long post there, but I know a lot of people look for insight
        > into how other writers think and operate, so I thought I'd offer at
        > least a sketch of how I am.
        >
        > Wendy
        >
        > P.S. In case somebody is curious, my book is called Breeding
        > Discontent and is on Amazon.
        >
        >
        > --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Firesong <Firesong@w...> wrote:
        > > Thanks for the insight in your way of writing Laura... I find it
        > > heartening that there is not the ONE method in something like
        > writing :-).
        > > I browsed for your books on amazon and in a short portrait of yours I
        > > read that you are also a harpist. I play the harp as well, mostly on my
        > > large gut-strung celtic harp, but I also have a small wire-strung harp
        > > which I built in a 2-week harp-building class. I still have to learn
        > > how to play her though, she is a beauty but requires a bit more skill
        > > than gut strings ;-).
        > > It's always nice to hear of fellow harpists. And I am getting very
        > > curious about your books too, all with bards and harps and such *g*.
        > >
        > > Fire
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > The Flewelling List Chat room can be accessed via the list webpage at
        Yahoo. Click on chat in the menu on the left.
        > Regular chat times Saturday 8pm GMT. Friday 9pm EST.
        >
        > Lynn's official web-site - www.sff.net/people/Lynn.Flewelling
        >
        > Post message: Flewelling@yahoogroups.com
        > Subscribe: Flewelling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > Unsubscribe: Flewelling-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > List owner: Flewelling-owner@yahoogroups.com
        > URL to this page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flewelling
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Wendy Darling
        Hi Minako, One other thing I wanted to add is about where I think about ideas and how I plan things. Some people think of things in the shower, but I tend to
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
          Hi Minako,

          One other thing I wanted to add is about where I think about ideas and
          how I plan things.

          Some people think of things in the shower, but I tend to do it while
          I'm either walking or traveling on public transit. I used to walk to
          work (2 miles) and/or talk the bus or train and the whole time, if I
          wasn't reading, I would be thinking about my stories. I eventually
          learned to write entire scenes of dialogue in my head. Sometimes I
          would scribble out the highlights on paper while I was traveling, but
          often I'd "store it" until I'd get home. While working on the book I
          co-wrote, I found I was often faster than my co-author because she
          would think of everything while she was writing, whereas I would have
          it "all worked out" from thinking about it on the street or subway.

          Another way I develop stories is by a long-time habit of mine for
          acting stuff out. Since about the age of 12, I've had a habit of
          having "invisbile conversations" with fictional characters, either
          ones from books or, now, ones from my own imagination. What I'll do is
          come up with some story idea and then become one of the characters.
          One or more other characters will enter the room and interact with
          mine. I only act out my own role but I do all the talking. I will do
          this in the kitchen, while I'm in bed falling asleep, or in any empty
          room. As a teenager I would sometimes get engaged in elaborate
          scenarios almost like soap-operas, doing it every day after school.

          For a long, long time I thought this was a really stupid thing to do,
          like a mental illness, and it worried my mother, but these days I know
          it's actually very, very helpful. The thing that helps a lot is often
          I will act out the same scene many, many times and through doing that,
          I get the realize all the different reactions on the part of the
          characters. I also come up with a lot of really great dialogue. By the
          time I sit down and write out the scene or the story I've been acting
          out, it's pretty much ironed out -- the emotions are already there, I
          have the dialogue, plot elements have been figured out, etc. Right now
          I'm working on a story that I've acted out for months actually and
          it's so rewarding to "pin it down." Interestingly, as soon as I write
          it down I don't have any interest in acting it out. I've never heard
          of any other writer or non-writer doing this acting thing so I guess
          that's my trademark :)

          For organizing stories, esp. taking notes, I often use a program
          called MindMap or do a "mindmap" on paper. This is a kind of visual
          outline that uses a "tree" with bubbles for ideas, lines connected to
          related ideas, idea groups, etc. I learned it in high school as a way
          of organizing essays, but it works great for stories too. I've found
          that when I'm doing a story and have a lot of details, doing a mindmap
          will allow me to "get it all down" in an organized way. It also relies
          me from the fear I'm going to forget something or leave it out. I
          don't find regular outlines that helpful in a short story but they are
          essential to a novel, I think, because I need to know where I'm going!

          Wendy

          --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, "Minako" <minako@t...> wrote:
          > I´m glad people is finally answering to this. I was very very
          curious about
          > it.
          > I used to write a lot, I loved it (but I stopped, the muses died
          when I left
          > hight-school) and wondered how pros did it.
          >
          > Thanks for the answer.
          >
          > Minako.
        • Laura J. Underwood
          Glynnanis was supposed to be a wire harp. Harps are fun. *g* Laura J. Underwood ... writing :-). ... I ... on my ... harp ... learn ... skill ... in ... to ...
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
            Glynnanis was supposed to be a wire harp.

            Harps are fun. *g*

            Laura J. Underwood

            --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Firesong <Firesong@w...> wrote:
            > Thanks for the insight in your way of writing Laura... I find it
            > heartening that there is not the ONE method in something like
            writing :-).
            > I browsed for your books on amazon and in a short portrait of yours
            I
            > read that you are also a harpist. I play the harp as well, mostly
            on my
            > large gut-strung celtic harp, but I also have a small wire-strung
            harp
            > which I built in a 2-week harp-building class. I still have to
            learn
            > how to play her though, she is a beauty but requires a bit more
            skill
            > than gut strings ;-).
            > It's always nice to hear of fellow harpists. And I am getting very
            > curious about your books too, all with bards and harps and such *g*.
            >
            > Fire
            >
            > Laura J. Underwood schrieb:
            >
            > >Not sure about Lynn... *g*
            > >
            > >I work full time as a librarian, and I write on my lunch breaks,
            in
            > >the evening, and on weekends. I do not have children or husband
            to
            > >get in the way, but I do have senior citizen parents who think
            > >nothing of interrupting in my writing schedule whenever they can
            get
            > >away with it. *g*
            > >
            > >I do not have an office. I work wherever I am. My bedroom. My
            > >staff area. The local B&N. I've even been known to go sit at the
            > >mall in the food court, nurse a cup of tea or coffee and work.
            The
            > >noise is white noise and I zone it out.
            > >
            > >A writer writes. A professionally published writer (yes, I am
            one)
            > >has to make time to work. And writers have different paces. I
            tend
            > >to be a sneeze on the page sort of writer. I can turn it on and
            off
            > >like a faucet (have to considering my schedule), and I think that
            is
            > >a matter of self-discipline more than anything.
            > >
            > >And I do have a social life. I eat out a couple of times a month
            > >with friends, visit with friends, go to a few conventions a year
            (I
            > >limit myself to 6 for budget reason). And I have published
            several
            > >novels, short story collection, short fiction, non-fiction and
            other
            > >things over the years.
            > >
            > >For me, the biggest hinderance is television because if I let
            myself
            > >look at the screen, it hypnotizes me and I get nothing done.
            (Have
            > >taken to watching CSI, for instance.)
            > >
            > >Laura J. Underwood (hi, Lynn!)
            > >
            > >--- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Firesong <Firesong@w...> wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > >>I am not sure if we've had this subject before, but I was
            wondering
            > >>
            > >>
            > >how
            > >
            > >
            > >>Lynn and the other writers are dividing their day for work,
            family
            > >>
            > >>
            > >and
            > >
            > >
            > >>hobbies. Do you have a working routine like going into
            > >>
            > >>
            > >your "office"
            > >
            > >
            > >>and doing your hours? Lynn mentioned that going to too many
            > >>
            > >>
            > >conventions
            > >
            > >
            > >>throws her out of her schedule and routine.
            > >>
            > >>Of course everyone has to find their own way of doing things, I
            am
            > >>
            > >>
            > >just
            > >
            > >
            > >>curious.
            > >>
            > >>Fire
            > >>
            > >>
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >The Flewelling List Chat room can be accessed via the list webpage
            at Yahoo. Click on chat in the menu on the left.
            > >Regular chat times Saturday 8pm GMT. Friday 9pm EST.
            > >
            > >Lynn's official web-site - www.sff.net/people/Lynn.Flewelling
            > >
            > >Post message: Flewelling@yahoogroups.com
            > >Subscribe: Flewelling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > >Unsubscribe: Flewelling-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > >List owner: Flewelling-owner@yahoogroups.com
            > >URL to this page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flewelling
            > >
            > >Yahoo! Groups Links
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Laura J. Underwood
            Cut myself short there... *g* My Harper Mage stuff is where Glynnanis came from--several of the stories appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley s FANTASY Magazine.
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
              Cut myself short there... *g*

              My Harper Mage stuff is where Glynnanis came from--several of the
              stories appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine. My Dad
              saw them and insisted he could build that harp for me. I ended up
              doing all the carving. It was a lot of fun.

              These days, I don't play as much as I used to. Seems like there are
              other things I need to do instead (deadlines, deadlines).

              And yet, I keep getting asked for public performances along with
              readings of my work. *g*

              So I do have to practice.

              Yeah, wire harps are much more complex, and my problem is I can't
              keep my fingernails long because they drive me batty. *g*

              Laura J. Underwood
              Black Hunters, Demons and Bogies--Oh, MY!
              CHRONICLES OF THE LAST WAR available from Yard Dog Press
            • Firesong
              Do you have a picture of your harp Laura? I find it difficult to practice regularly as well, since I am so often away from home and can t always drag the harp
              Message 6 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
                Do you have a picture of your harp Laura?

                I find it difficult to practice regularly as well, since I am so often
                away from home and can't always drag the harp with me.

                Fire



                Laura J. Underwood schrieb:

                >Cut myself short there... *g*
                >
                >My Harper Mage stuff is where Glynnanis came from--several of the
                >stories appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine. My Dad
                >saw them and insisted he could build that harp for me. I ended up
                >doing all the carving. It was a lot of fun.
                >
                >These days, I don't play as much as I used to. Seems like there are
                >other things I need to do instead (deadlines, deadlines).
                >
                >And yet, I keep getting asked for public performances along with
                >readings of my work. *g*
                >
                >So I do have to practice.
                >
                >Yeah, wire harps are much more complex, and my problem is I can't
                >keep my fingernails long because they drive me batty. *g*
                >
                >Laura J. Underwood
                >Black Hunters, Demons and Bogies--Oh, MY!
                >CHRONICLES OF THE LAST WAR available from Yard Dog Press
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >The Flewelling List Chat room can be accessed via the list webpage at Yahoo. Click on chat in the menu on the left.
                >Regular chat times Saturday 8pm GMT. Friday 9pm EST.
                >
                >Lynn's official web-site - www.sff.net/people/Lynn.Flewelling
                >
                >Post message: Flewelling@yahoogroups.com
                >Subscribe: Flewelling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >Unsubscribe: Flewelling-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >List owner: Flewelling-owner@yahoogroups.com
                >URL to this page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flewelling
                >
                >Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Laura J. Underwood
                http://www.sff.net/people/keltora That s my website. Glynnanis and I are at the top of the page. Laura J. Underwood Black Hunters, Demons and Bogies--Oh, MY!
                Message 7 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
                  http://www.sff.net/people/keltora

                  That's my website. Glynnanis and I are at the top of the page.

                  Laura J. Underwood
                  Black Hunters, Demons and Bogies--Oh, MY!
                  CHRONICLES OF THE LAST WAR available from Yard Dog Press

                  --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Firesong <Firesong@w...> wrote:
                  > Do you have a picture of your harp Laura?
                  >
                  > I find it difficult to practice regularly as well, since I am so
                  often
                  > away from home and can't always drag the harp with me.
                  >
                  > Fire
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Laura J. Underwood schrieb:
                  >
                  > >Cut myself short there... *g*
                  > >
                  > >My Harper Mage stuff is where Glynnanis came from--several of the
                  > >stories appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine. My
                  Dad
                  > >saw them and insisted he could build that harp for me. I ended up
                  > >doing all the carving. It was a lot of fun.
                  > >
                  > >These days, I don't play as much as I used to. Seems like there
                  are
                  > >other things I need to do instead (deadlines, deadlines).
                  > >
                  > >And yet, I keep getting asked for public performances along with
                  > >readings of my work. *g*
                  > >
                  > >So I do have to practice.
                  > >
                  > >Yeah, wire harps are much more complex, and my problem is I can't
                  > >keep my fingernails long because they drive me batty. *g*
                  > >
                  > >Laura J. Underwood
                  > >Black Hunters, Demons and Bogies--Oh, MY!
                  > >CHRONICLES OF THE LAST WAR available from Yard Dog Press
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >The Flewelling List Chat room can be accessed via the list webpage
                  at Yahoo. Click on chat in the menu on the left.
                  > >Regular chat times Saturday 8pm GMT. Friday 9pm EST.
                  > >
                  > >Lynn's official web-site - www.sff.net/people/Lynn.Flewelling
                  > >
                  > >Post message: Flewelling@yahoogroups.com
                  > >Subscribe: Flewelling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  > >Unsubscribe: Flewelling-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  > >List owner: Flewelling-owner@yahoogroups.com
                  > >URL to this page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flewelling
                  > >
                  > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                • Anja Arendt
                  Très cool ;-), I have never done 3-dimensional carving myself, I was glad to get the simpler 2-dimensional version done ;-). Here are pics of my two lovelies:
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
                    Très cool ;-), I have never done 3-dimensional carving myself, I was
                    glad to get the simpler 2-dimensional version done ;-).

                    Here are pics of my two lovelies:

                    http://www.elvendale.de/harp/Harfe5.jpg
                    http://www.elvendale.de/harp/Harfenduo.jpg

                    Fire

                    Am 01.07.2004 um 22:42 schrieb Laura J. Underwood:

                    > http://www.sff.net/people/keltora
                    >
                    > That's my website. Glynnanis and I are at the top of the page.
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Firesong <Firesong@w...> wrote:
                    >> Do you have a picture of your harp Laura?
                    >>
                  • Laura J. Underwood
                    Actually, the carving on the small harp is very nice. Veddy lovely, both of them are. *g* Laura J. Underwood ... was
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jul 1, 2004
                      Actually, the carving on the small harp is very nice.

                      Veddy lovely, both of them are.
                      *g*

                      Laura J. Underwood
                      --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Anja Arendt <Firesong@w...> wrote:
                      > Très cool ;-), I have never done 3-dimensional carving myself, I
                      was
                      > glad to get the simpler 2-dimensional version done ;-).
                      >
                      > Here are pics of my two lovelies:
                      >
                      > http://www.elvendale.de/harp/Harfe5.jpg
                      > http://www.elvendale.de/harp/Harfenduo.jpg
                      >
                      > Fire
                      >
                      > Am 01.07.2004 um 22:42 schrieb Laura J. Underwood:
                      >
                      > > http://www.sff.net/people/keltora
                      > >
                      > > That's my website. Glynnanis and I are at the top of the page.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- In Flewelling@yahoogroups.com, Firesong <Firesong@w...>
                      wrote:
                      > >> Do you have a picture of your harp Laura?
                      > >>
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