Interrupted When Writing

tumblr_moy1l4e0zj1s0wwqso1_500This is how I feel when someone interrupts me while I’m in the middle of a new book.  Now, I don’t mean something like asking if I need anything from the store, or bringing me dinner.  I’m talking about the big interruptions.  The kind that break my stride for days at a time.

I have no idea how others do it.  All too often, I hear about writers who work full time (I’m a part-time day-jobber and full-time author).  They go in for the 8-5 job, slave away, come home, take care of their families, and try to sneak in an hour at the keyboard.  To all of you:  You’re miraculous!

Seriously.  If I don’t get a bare 4-hour minimum without distraction, I turn into a beast.  I’m snappy, crass, and all around no fun to be around.  Keep me from writing for days on end?  Yeah, that probably means I just added another novel to the “well, maybe I’ll finish it one day” file.  I can’t do it.  I just can’t keep the thought process and excitement up that makes for a good book.  It ends up feeling disjointed, I’m distracted, and then writing becomes a chore.

The only way I have to describe it to non-writers is that it’s like me trying to tell you a story one sentence at a time.  Imagine how well you’d follow along if I just emailed you a single line every day.  It’d take weeks to get through the first page, and years to finish the novel.  But, without cutting and pasting it all together, how easy is it going to be for YOU, the reader, to keep up with what’s going on?  And for you, it’s being GIVEN.  Imagine how it is for the creator, trying to keep track of things like shirt colors, timelines, and villain progression.  Mistakes are bound to happen.  Extra work has just been piled onto the editing.  And to keep the mood?  To push that excitement, enthusiasm, terror, or any other tone that is supposed to suffuse the chapter?  Completely impossible.

And the people around us never understand.  They think it’s like writing a book report.  Just type it out, slap some BS on there, and it’ll be the next best seller, making us all a million dollars, and we’ll be able to vanish on a whirlwind book tour, right?  Uh, no.

First, I don’t want to be famous.  Second, I take pride in my craft, not my income.  Third, I hate humans in large packs, so a book tour is equivalent to hell in my mind.  A vacation to me is a good book that I didn’t write and a fresh cup of coffee beside a pool (iced, if it’s summer).  I want to write a best seller because that’s a way of showing progress, not because I plan on changing my life any.  I’m already walking the line between paying all my bills with books and not becoming a recluse.  I work 2 days a week because, well, my boss is my best friend and I get some amazing ideas for characters this way.

I still want to keep the books coming out.  I still want to make a little more money each month so the budget is a bit less tight.  I still want to be the best author I can be, and enjoy losing myself in lives that have never existed.  I don’t care if anyone else understands (I lie.  I care in as much as it means people leave me alone!), I just want to write, because it’s one thing I’m passionate about, and it makes me happy.

What I hate is losing the line of a story.  I almost mourn its death as I feel the rush of impulsion fading into the ether.  As the impetuous ebbs, the “thing” that makes readers fall in love with characters does too, and it makes me a worse writer.  No one wants to fail.  Telling me I can get it back is like telling the ugly child that she’s being picked on because the others are jealous.  It’s just not true.  When I rant, just give me some empathy, listen, and – if possible – remind me why I love writing so much even though it’s an art with a whole lot of heartbreak.

 

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Writing is addictive

bench-1289528I am an addict.  I have a problem, but it’s ok.  I’m in control…  Well, mostly.  At least, I like to pretend I am.

See, over the last few weeks, I have been moving into my new “old” home.  A decade ago, my husband and I purchased the most adorable little cottage, farmhouse, thing.  One bedroom, just under 1000 square feet, with a gorgeous view of the sunset outside my writing window.  I love it, but, being over 100 years old, it needed a little love.

He spent his free time doing things like tearing down the wallpaper, putting up new drywall, and vaulting the ceilings.  While outside it still looks like an ordinary, tiny farmhouse, inside is very different.  It’s an old style chateau, just like we always wanted.  Needless to say, the renovations took a while.

Then we moved in.

Well, since I’m assuming moving is something most humans have done at some point in their life, I think you all know the hell I’ve just been through.  Heavy objects, time limits, and all of that result in aching muscles and not enough sleep.  When you’re a writer, there’s another problem.

No computer.  No internet.  No desk.  Where’s my chair?

Yep.  It was this point that I realized I’m an addict.  I had to go a whole DAY without access to the tools of my trade!  Of course, some idiot (that would be me) forgot to back up her latest novel onto the cloud, so the presence of my laptop wasn’t as helpful as it could have been.  Then we got the new ISP hooked up, but no chair.  That hadn’t made it over yet.  Over the course of almost 30 hours, I was prevented from writing.

You read that right.  A bit over a day and my withdrawal symptoms had kicked in full force.  I was cranky, snappish, and just a pain to be around.  Then it got worse.  My darling man hooked up my computer, but just as I got into full swing, something happened, and it restarted for no reason.  Then again.  The third time, I was told to move as he began diagnostics.  The result?  My water cooling was failing and the CPU kept overheating.

A quick surgery later, and we were able to save things with no permanent damage.  In the mean time?  Yeah, he was about to pull my hard drive and stick it in his case (in a move reminiscent of  that from Challenge Accepted) just so I could keep going.  There were a lot of sympathetic soothing noises and promises that it wouldn’t take long.

The whole time this was going on, I kept thinking about how horrible my first world problems were.  Yes, I knew I was being silly.  I was well aware that all of this would be ok, and that I didn’t need to commit any serious crimes (like murder, if I could have only figured out who to kill).  That didn’t make me act any better.  I just couldn’t help myself.  The need for more of that clickity clack sound, or to see the stream of words filling the page?  It was just too strong.

I had to get my fix.  Without it, I was suffering, knowing that ideas were flowing into my mind and right back out with no virtual method to retain them.  Pen and paper is much too slow.  Short notes lost the glory of the ideas in my head.  I NEEDED TO WRITE, and why was all of this happening?

But I’m not looking for treatment.  I think this is one addiction I’ll keep.  You see, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a good keyboard under my fingers and a litany of words spilling onto the screen.  The joy of releasing my next book, reading the comments by my fans, or seeing a new character progress is just too good.  I can control this.  I’ve got it.  Don’t worry about me.

Now my husband?  Well, if my computer breaks again, someone needs to do a welfare check.  Maybe a safe house?  I’ll try, but I make no promises for the childish tantrums that are bound to happen.  After all, I am addicted, and he’s my enabler.

 

Writing, moving, and creating

animated-hourglass-clip-art-91291So, I’ve been busy.  Spending this weekend trying to finish moving into my new little old house.  I also have a few last minute corrections to make to Inseparable before it comes out.  A comma here, a blatant “oh, glad someone pointed that out” there.  Then there’s the books I’m still writing, the ones I’m editing, Kitty’s book I’m helping with, and a part-time day job.  My clock is ticking, and something has to give.

Typically, that’s sleep, but lately, it’s been connecting with my fans.  Trust me, it’s nothing intentional, but I figured the people who read my books would much prefer a new book to a new blog.

I’ve got romances, sci-fi, and a steady stream of fantasy.  You see, I grew up on fantasy, so it’s the staple of my imagination.  For me, it’s easy to start with a “what if” question and end up with an entirely new series.  I just need more hands so I can write a few books at the same time!

On the upside, I’ve also found my groove again.  For a few months there, my new writing came to nearly a full stop because of the editing.  I could have three books open, three different beta readers’ comments to update, and not enough time to sit down and lose myself in my imagination.  The clock was ticking on getting the next book ready, and I have a big enough backlist that it didn’t matter, so I focused on preparing to publish instead of creating.

The problem is that creativity spurs creativity.  The more an artist makes, the easier it is to make more.  It’s a catch-22, but a known phenomenon.  For me, I found that spark again somewhere on I-44, sitting in a truck with my best friend.  On a cross-country road trip, we started talking about the next book.  It made the miles pass a little faster and her input was the spark I needed.

Kitty Cox, who helped me write those Gamer Girls books, is not only my co-author but also my best friend.  We’re two peas in a pod.  Two halves of the same mind.  She’s the organized one, and I’m the driven one.  Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with.  With nothing to distract us, we’ve worked out the hold ups for at least three books, came up with basic plots for a few more, and threw my creativity back into overdrive.  I’ve been writing, packing, moving, painting, working, and doing everything to not only get the next book out, but a few more in line behind it.

Now, I’m not going to be releasing a book a month anymore, probably.  For the next few months (up to a year) I’m going to be a bit busy for that.  Releasing a book is a LOT of work.  There’s a million little details, and I want to make sure my readers get everything they deserve.  I still won’t be a slow writer.  I just can’t.  Cranking out 12,000 words a day is relaxing to me.  It’s the rest of that stuff that slows me down.

Now, I just have to remember where I put everything.  A new house, a new office, and a whole lot more peace and quiet.  It’s the inspiration I’ve needed.