As per my last blog, you know that writing can be a struggle sometimes, just to get going. And once I do get going, it’s still a struggle to pull the words out of my brain.
Some ask, “Why do you do it, then, if writing is so hard?”
I do it because it took 15 years of my adult life to figure out that I’m a writer, and writing being “hard” feels like a small hurdle when I look back at those years when my heart ached for meaning day and night. Thankfully, I finally realized that everything I enjoy is writing-related and everything worky that isn’t writing-related feels like a part of me is dying. Dramatic, maybe, but true.
To fulfill this destiny, I know I have to sit in a chair for hours a day, pulling my brain apart, for up to a year on one project.
So how do I make that fun?!
1. I do what my characters do. I walk outside every day, no matter what the weather, and I experience nature like my mouse characters might. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s dreary, sometimes it’s exciting (when the wind whips freezing rain in my face!) but all of it is super fun for me, because I get to stretch my imagination and BE a mouse. I crawl under trees, I sit in the snow til it melts and I’m soaked, I smell the earth and I lick the icicles. Yes, I really do. (And, no, I don’t do it when anyone is watching!)
2. I edit out loud in funny voices. When I edit — which is every day, for most of the day (it takes only an hour to write 1,000 words, then several hours to edit it)– I read my work out loud in different accents, with emphasis on different words, just to test it all out. This makes me downright laugh sometimes, especially when Gran speaks with the uppity voice of Queen Elizabeth or Renaud like “Lumiere” in Beauty in the Beast. It’s so silly and fun, and yet so useful!
3. I mess around on the internet. Yup, this is all part of it. When my brain just won’t play anymore, I let myself go on the internet and poke around and tweet and find cool stuff that may or may not have to do with mice – but always has to do with psychology and interaction between people, which informs my writing while letting me wander.
“As your day goes, so does your life.”
It’s a must for me to not look back at my life and see myself sitting in a chair 8 hours a day, struggling. I want to look back on my writing time as fun, balanced and expressive. It’s a privilege to spend so much time with fictional characters, and watch them emerge in a child’s world. I can’t think of anything more fun.
Me in my natural habitat. Photo by Nicole LaPierre.