I have found that if you are going to call yourself a writer, you need to do the work. No matter what. No matter the circumstances, no matter your schedule, no matter how you’re feeling, you have to write. Writer’s write, as they say, everyone else makes excuses.
So I write, and sometimes it’s not easy. But here is my process, more or less. Some day’s it’s more, some days it’s less.
I wake up early, at least an hour before the rest of the house gets up, I tiptoe downstairs and make my coffee, open all the blinds in the house and arrange my laptop just so in order to be ready to write.
Coffee made, seat taken, I check email, bank account and then Pinterest. Then after several sips of coffee, I demand of myself, “You are wasting time, this is it, all you get. You gotta write now because soon everyone will be awake and this little spell of free time will be broken.”
I open my most recent work and read the last page I wrote, make changes, and then remember that I wanted to defrost the chicken for dinner tonight. So I go take that out of the freezer.
Small detour. Back to the writing. Okay, after making several more changes to a few sentences, I have my characters at the train station in Paris and they need to go south. Fast.
How fast do those trains go? I pull up ye old interwebs and search how to get from Paris to Montélimar, (small medieval town in southern France known for their almond nugget candy. But that’s not why my characters are going there.) Ah, here it is. I find the train schedule and find that the fast train goes 187mph and will get my characters to their destination in three hours. Cool.
Back at the train station with them, they are running late and they have no idea what they are looking for as far as the signage goes. Neither do I. I was in Paris eleven years ago, but my tour group didn’t take a train. And the only other movie I’ve seen set in the Paris train station that comes to mind is French Kiss. God I loved that movie. Whatever happened to Meg Ryan? She was the romantic comedy icon for a long time then. Didn’t she marry John Cougar Mellencamp? Huh. I bet the train station has changed since that movie, okay, I’ll keep it generic. They run late and get on a train, that’s fine. We can use supposition or figure it out in editing later.
Flip back to the interwebs, search for videos of people traveling from the main Train station in Paris. God, looking at these videos and pictures remind me of the trip I took to Italy when my sister got married. Twelve of us went from Florence to Rome for the day on a fast train, it took us an hour to get there. Or was it an hour and forty five minutes? Hmmm. I’ll look that up to. What was the name of the train line we used? Had a picture of a rabbit. Ah, here. The train line was called Italo and it took an hour and half. That was a good trip, I should look at the pictures and videos for that, might spark some descriptive ideas.
Okay. Finished with that, time to get down to the business of writing.
Characters board the train, they find their seats, they describe the train, they spark a little conversation about speed and how trains follow the spine of a city. “They passed through the backbone of the city, the tracks tucked down alleyways and side streets, giving the view of the dust and underbelly of a European city.”
Uh oh, some little voice upstairs is awake. Quick break to take care of that.
*Fifteen minutes later.
Alrighty then. Writing. My little one is watching a show and finishing waking up, that should give me about thirty solid minutes to write, okay twenty if I’m lucky.
Where we were, on a train in Paris. No, a little further. Hmmm. What needs to happen here, is it just transportation or should this be a big moment of self-discovery among characters?
Okay, turns out I had ten minutes. Breakfast time. “How about a bowl of cereal?” Cool, easy, sold!
That should give me another few minutes. Back to the keyboard! Did I ever send that email to that gal who asked for those book recommendations? Hmm, better do that while I’m thinking about it.
Right, Paris, characters on a train. Talk about scenery. Characters share coffee service. Hmmm, can’t remember what the French country side looks like.
“Mommy what are you watching?” the little voice wafts over me.
“Videos of a train ride through the French Country side.”
“I’m writing about it.”
“Why?” a little squeak.
“Because. What do you need?”
“I’m still hungry.”
“My cereal is all gone.”
“What do you want?”
I glance at the clock: 8:30a.m. How badly do I want a bit of free time to myself to write?
“Vanilla or strawberry?”
*Crack of fingers, ready to get serious about this now.
“The gray sky that had been a companion in Paris the past few days was breaking apart, rays of sunshine drifting down onto the countryside as if this was a front row seat for the very moment that summer bowed gracefully to the coming autumn.”
I’m not going to answer it, whoever it is can wait.
*Fifteen minute conversation with my sister; done. Back to ye old awesomeness of writing.
The words come fast now, the sluff of the morning to-do’s is easing, a lull in the rhythm.
My fingers fly across the keyboard, I have a bit of direction, I can feel that abyss that can sometimes pull me under so I’m cradled in a cocoon of my words and this book I’m writing lately has me inspired, as long as I give into the momentum, it’s bound to chug right along.
“He’s the king of the castle.”
Wait, what? The gentle hum and rocking of the train soothes my characters into their own exhausted thoughts.
“Fly! Fly little rollie pollie from the castle.”
Wha? Beside them the French countryside has opened up before them.
“The fish food is a castle! Be the king! He’s winning.”
I stop my fingers and shake off the world I had emersed myself to find my little one writing her own story next to me. Three rollie pollies have been selected from their various sectors and brought into the house, all precariously placed on top of a bottle of fish food, apparently vying for place as king of the castle in a three year old’s version of the hunger games.
I try to type another sentence, but then the requests for more food, for help getting paints down, are joined with requests from the other member of our small household who has decided that now would be a great time to ask me random questions about bills, cars, and dinner plans with friends.
I laugh, write a last scentence, punctuate it and close my laptop.
The morning portion of my writing time has come to an end.
(The secret? I love how it all works out sometimes.)