Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Daily Writing Life

I was looking back over the topics we've covered to see what I could add that might be useful and generate discussion. With the recent upheaval and uncertainty of new contracts issuing from D.C. Thomson and the resultant discussions among us all both briefly here and in more detail on our group list, it's clear that we're all considering thinking outside the square or genre so to speak and realising that these days there are always other options and markets.

One thing we shouldn't let it affect is our daily writing life. We're writers, we need to keep writing. It's what we love and what we do, right? So here's just a snippet of my own typical writing day. I'm in the "retired" phase of life - family grown, abundant numbers of grandchildren arriving and the utter freedom to fill in all my waking hours doing what I love - writing. What else? :) If I wake in the night my mind is often turning over characters and story possibilities or hitches in the plot or writing. Once I'm showered, fed and awake enough each morning, my office is my haven. Housework and shopping are waaaay down the list. :)
My office 
After breakfast and checking of emails, I settle down to whatever is currently on the go at my desk. I've discovered over the years that even writing a saga of 100,000 words I still need to write the first draft in longhand. I know, scary thought, but the words just flow so easily through the pen and onto the paper. I've tried sitting and staring at all that white space on a screen and typing directly into the computer. Doesn't happen. Well, at least not as easily. So I'm resigned to the fact of how I am naturally meant to get words on paper.
When I'm in first draft mode, I aim for a certain number of pages or word count for the day to give myself a deadline - always flexible with "life" intervening - and usually come in roughly on target. As I mentioned I have an office and while writing the first draft, I CLOSE THE DOOR. I'm an absolute silence person. Definitely no music.
Later that day or next morning, I type up all my handwritten work, print out the new pages and start my next writing day with reading over and editing what I've written which quickly gets me back into writing mode again. I write pretty much seven days a week and it's usually on the same project. Once I start I like to finish but occasionally I may take a break and work or research on something else. And always during the writing even though I've plotted out most scenes and done initial research there are always times when you need a bit more information or something crops up in the writing that you hadn't planned and I need more info. When that happens, Google is my friend.
As soon as I get what is possibly another novel idea and I jot down scenes, characters, names, settings, dialogue snippets, a title etc. I make a file, give it the title and add it to my "to be written" pile. I can't start a new novel unless I have a title. Currently there are about 10 or 12 files sitting beside me on my desk for contemp sweet romances and another 10 or so in my filing cabinet for mainstreams and historicals/sagas. May never get them all written and I'm getting more ideas all the time, of course, but I'll never be short of material and I suspect we're all the same in that.
I'm currently almost done with my latest sweet romance, Outback Kingdom, but in the last few days have felt unsettled in its writing with the DCT changes so I'm taking a brief break to distract my mind and doing final research into the gold seeking era here in Australia which is the subject of my next saga. Plus thinking what my next contemp novel will be and what market I might aim it at.
So, onward and upward, writers. What's your day like? What are you working on? What direction do you see your future writing taking?


  1. Interesting how we all work differently. I start making a draft of ideas and find I'm actually writing the story and so carry on with it. I always intend to be more organised but rarely get there. If that is your office by the way, Noelene, well done for being so organised. I wouldn't dare show anyone my mess! I'm taking a break from major writing at present. It's our time for having visitors and generally working in the garden. It's a case of life getting in the way! Love Chrissie

    1. I know the feeling Chrissie. It's actually a wonderful excuse when family visit and we can take a break from writing. We all need to do it.

  2. Fascinating Noelene to read your working practices. Mine are quite different as I'm still working full time and have a child at home so things very much have to be fitted in as and when. I am having an extremely frustrating time at present, finding the day job is getting in the way of writing but gradually I am getting back into a routine. I write anywhere I can, on my Ipad in cafes, at home on the laptop, during bouts of insomnia, and on holiday. The only thing I find I cannot do is write in the evening. Morning is my time. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

    1. It happens to us all, that frustration that we can't write, don't get enough time. Even "retired" LIFE intervenes and it's probably a good thing to be interrupted. Keeps the mind and body fresh and keen to get back to it when we can.

  3. An interesting post, Noelene. We're much less disciplined and much less organised than you.
    We're having trouble posting comments at the moment so apologies to bloggers. We have been enjoying reading the posts.

  4. I think everyone has different ways of working, it's whatever works for you best. I can't sit for hours at my desk like some people and I am full of admiration for those who can. I always say no opportunity is wasted and if I do get a chance to go out I use it as a top up for ideas. They come from the strangest of places. I'm an inherent eavesdropper and love listening to other people's conversations - in the interests of research of course.