3. What does your writing process involve? Plotter or Seat of the Pants?
For my first three books, I have definitely more of a seat-of-the-pants approach than an upfront plotter. Once an idea comes to me, I spend time visualizing key scenes and characters, researching the setting (I like to use old maps and Google earth) as well as customs, dress, language, and more. Scene ideas do not come to mind in chronological order, so I keep an ongoing Word file with quick descriptions and snippets of dialogue that will jar my memory when I come back to them.
A lot of what I write initially I know will need to be trashed or at least revamped, but I try to just keep writing all the "fodder" I can. Once all the raw material is there, I know I can go back and revise and edit it. While this "process" (if process it can be called) allows for a great amount of creativity and surprises, it is likely not the most efficient, and I probably spend more time rewriting than I might otherwise. For my fourth book, I am trying to do more plotting and timeline work up front. I'll have to let you know how it goes!
4. Do you ever struggle with writer's block? How do you overcome it?
I struggle with procrastination more than writer's block. To overcome procrastination, I find a writing challenge with other authors (in which we each turn in daily word count goals/actual word counts written) helps a great deal. In fact, I am joining several other historical authors for just such a challenge this month. When I do struggle with writer's block, I go for a walk. I can almost always "see a scene" while walking. If it weren't 10 below at the moment, I would probably be out strolling right now.
Thank you for having me, Susan. Great questions!
Don't forget to check out Julie's books, The Lady of Milkweed Manor and The Apothecary's Daughter. Thanks for joining us for an informative interview, Julie.
Okay, it's your turn now. How do you deal with procrastination and/or writer's block?
I've loved your interview and I have to say that everytime I go into the library and try to check out your books, they are always gone! You are very popular at my library. :)
Thanks for sharing about your process, Julie! I think it's interesting how she sees seens out of chronology.
How do I deal with procrastination and block? Probably not well. I'm still working on my discipline.
There are chocolate and books involved when I go through this. LOL
Great interview:) Just finished The Silent Governess and enjoyed it very much. Thanks to both of you for sharing!
Hi Katie -
Thanks. I'm always interested in an author's writing process.
Hi Jess -
Ah yes, chocolate and books. This morning I have a huge mug of Tazo Calm. It took me two hours to tweeze 1,000 words out of my brain. Argh.
Hi Karen -
Ooo, The Silent Governess is in my TBR pile. I can't wait to start, but I've got three books going at the moment. :)
Hi Sherrinda -
I'm sure Julie will appreciate your comment. :)
Glad you enjoyed the interview. I enjoyed doing it. Susan--I loved your phase, "tweeze 1,000 words out of my brain." That's great. And actually not a bad rate either. Even when I'm on a real roll, I average only 1,000/hour.
Hi Julie -
Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
This manuscript is a combination SOTP and plotting venture. I haven't quite gotten into my groove yet. I can usually produce 3,000 words in four hours at my peak. 1,000 words an hour is awesome!
Please extend Julie my thanks for her wonderful answers to the questions.
How I deal with procrastination-I don't very well.
How I deal with writer's block- I spend time writing what the Holy Spirit tells me to.
Hi Quiet Spirit -
Hopefully, Julie will stop by again and see your comment. :)
I find I spend too much mental energy when I procrastinate. It's so much easier to do the task and get it done.
It's nice to hear I'm not alone on the procrastination thing! Sometimes I have to force myself to sit and write, which is weird since I love writing. Why is that?
Great interview, thanks Susan!
Hi Jill -
I love writing too...when the words are flowing. It's no fun when you feel like you're slogging through mud.
Hmmmm. Take breaks when I really chafe under the burden of deadlines. Read a chapter or two of a really good book.
Julie, great interview!
Hi Patti -
I love your idea of reading a chapter of a good book. :)
Eish... I haven't worked through that yet. :0)
I had to laugh at the procrastination part!
It's nice to know someone else suffers from procrastination! Great interview. Thanks Susan and Julie.
Yay...another panster (just like me)LOL! Julie and Susan, I'm really enjoying this interview series. I love learning things about authors I don't know (and those I do know for that matter). Awesome!
Hi Kristen -
I'm sure a lot of writers deal with procrastination and writer's block. Keep pressing on. :)
Hi Alisa -
Thanks. I'm always grateful when authors are so transparent about their struggles.
Hi Jan -
I think every writer suffers from this malady at one time or another. Distraction is another common woe.
Hi Sharon -
I didn't know you're a pantser! Even with the Snowflake, I'm struggling with plotting. I'll probably end up doing a combination.
Julie mentioned she's learning how to plot. With deadlines, it's hard to spend months or years editing.
Great interview, Susan and Julie. Thanks
like Julie, I have accountability partners.
(I got this idea from Randy Ingermanson) Every time I'm done with the work I've committed to, I send them an email. If I fail to make my goal, I have to pay a dollar. This is a great motivator, especially since one of my partners is my mother and I know she'll rub it in (in a loving way!)
When confronted with the blank page I read a sign on my computer "You have permission to write a really bad draft." It helps to remind myself I don't have to be perfect the first time out.
Hi Kristen -
You've worked out a great system. I don't know if I'm ready to pay a dollar for missing a goal.
I'm working on my third manuscript, but haven't set up a spreadsheet with daily word count goals - yet. So far, I have a measly 2,500 words. Sigh. 87,500 to go. I'd better get in the groove.
That's me! Not writer's block, but procrastination! Thanks for the great interview.
Hi Lily -
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Procrastination = stress. When I remember that fact, it gives me a push to get the job done.
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