After a much needed trek to Miami with my husband for a little quality time and Ultra Music Festival, I’m back at the computer, finishing my novel before my publisher’s deadline of May 1st. I had kind of forgotten the details of my creative process until I was back at the grind, writing over 10-15 hours a day. There are certain things I must have to be able to write successfully, much like green room goodies for a celebrity or rock star, which I’m not.
First, my entire house must be spotless so I’m not distracted by excuses of dishes or laundry, although while I’ve been writing the last few days I’ve had a constant flow of laundry moving through the washer and dryer, a result of living out of suitcases since we’ve been back. After we returned, our sump pump broke during a thunderstorm, flooding our basement, my pup got glass in his paw requiring a makeshift cast and we were filmed for a documentary about difficulties same-sex couples face in our country. Needless to say, our first week back was crazy. Cleaning the house became a task, but now it is in order, complete with fresh, white flowers embroidering each table.
After the house is clean, I need a full pot of strong coffee. Usually I run through Starbucks first and then make a pot of coffee. If it’s after 10pm, I usually opt for a 32 ounce Diet Dr. Pepper.
I also need gum and lots of it. Although I usually prefer something bubbly, lately I’ve been chewing Fruit Stripe and Black Jack, reminded of my teenage years, channeling my 16 year old self for my main character, Danny.
Good music is a must, but it must also fit what I’m writing. Right now I’m listening to the New Order station on Pandora, but lately I’ve been listening to all of the music of my adolescence; The Cure, The Smiths, Flesh for Lulu, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Indigo Girls, The Cowboy Junkies, UB40, The B52’s, U2, Bob Marley and The Pogues, although The Gotan Project is my go to muse.
Although I write on a computer, I always have several notebooks handy because I like to keep notes and write some passages out in longhand and read them out loud to myself before committing them to print. My notebooks are crazy scraps of chicken scratch, dotted with drawings of trees and flowers, names of songs and quotes.
Sometimes movies inspire me, especially those great old adventure movies from the 80’s like Into the Night and Outrageous Fortune and sometimes I just let the roll in the background.
But usually I choose silence, so I can stay in my head with my characters.
The funny thing is that once I started writing daily, completing a book, I literally start living inside the book, experiencing it with my characters as I write. For my first novel, I’ve included a special treat so this will be more evident, but I don’t want to give that away just yet.
There are other things that help my writing process, but aren’t required, like full moons, carnival lights, calls from friends late at night, drives in the country, bitter lemonade, one of my dogs asleep on my lap, funny vlogs on YouTube, a great pen, a comfy hoodie and a perfect, chicken salad sandwich. Grace Jones singing La Vie en Rose doesn’t hurt either.
So what is my book about? That’s what everyone is asking lately. Hmmmm…life. In all seriousness, it’s a story about a boy who deals with loss and learns to live again. Am I giving away too much? Stay tuned as teasers are coming soon.
My 1st book The Before Now and After Then debuts this summer and my 2nd book Surrender to Technicolor comes out next winter ! Check out my author page and release dates at my publisher’s website Pen Name Publishing!
If you’re a writer who’s struggling to get published, don’t stress out. I probably received 30 rejection letters from publishers and literary agents before working with my current publisher who has just started a small, boutique publishing house. But once I started working with her, several other publishers contacted me and showed interest. Literary Irony? Maybe, but I think it happened the way it was supposed to because my publisher is awesome and although challenging, allows me to tell my stories the way I need to tell them. I think that’s how it should be.
I’d love to meet some fellow writers and exchange ideas and thoughts, so contact me if you’re interested.
Thanks and I’ll catch ya later!