I saw this coming…
It’s easy to make entries in this public journal (A.K.A. Blog) when your flying around the country meeting people, speaking, and snapping photos. It’s a bit more challenging to come up with things to say when you’re in your cave all day writing, because every writing day is pretty much the same. Wake up, drink coffee, write… Over and over again.
I had a teacher write me last year saying that she had a student who was interested in becoming an author. She wanted to know if he could spend the day with me at the farm and “watch me write.” I passed. First, I wouldn’t be comfortable with anyone watching me write. Second, he wouldn’t learn anything watching me write. Third, he would be bored out of his mind within an hour of watching me write and probably decide not to become an author.
Writing is not a spectator sport. Watching someone write for a day would like be watching someone dream for a night.
“What do you think about when you’re writing?”
I’ve probably had this question asked 50 times in the past few years at school visits. It’s a sincere question, which I don’t really know the answer to, and therefore I always stumble over the reply. The simple answer is that I’m thinking about the story, but it’s a lot more complicated than that…
When the writing is going well I’m thinking about the characters, plot, words, sentence structure, rhythm, tempo, foreshadowing, conflict…etc.
When the writing is going badly I’m thinking about lunch, dinner, friends, family, upcoming travel, email, publishing…etc.
On any given day the writing goes well and badly. It alternates between these two states throughout the day. The trick is to spend more time on the well side at the end of the day than on the bad side.
I think people sometimes confuse the process of writing a book with the act of reading a book. Writing a book is a process, not an act. An author’s job is to make it look like an act when you read the book.
Okay… I’m including the photo to the right because we’re heading up to Niki and Derek’s tomorrow to hang out with these two little brutes.