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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Art of Writing (and Living)

As individual as people are, so are the ways that writing and living as a writer are different from author to author. What works for me may work for others, it may not. I like to think of this as my own personal recipe. It starts with a to-do list, as you can guess from the picture above.

I like to work at home with the television or music on low, it is less distraction than complete and utter silence. I also write well in a busy environment like a coffee shop or cafe, as long as no one is reading over my shoulder. (I have never liked anyone reading my extremely-rough drafts right out of my fingertips.) Outdoor in my backyard under the umbrella is a great place if the weather is cooperating, for I find I can and do write just about anywhere. Sometimes the wildlife brings with it inspiration, and that is priceless. And sometimes in complete and utter silence.

Thankfully there is only one writer in this household, but that does not necessarily make it any easier or harder. It just is. I do not have daily input in person from another writer vying for attention on their work-in-process, nor do I have an on-demand reader of my daily drafts. I work with writers elsewhere to critique, brainstorm, plot, or whatever tasks that need our combined attention. Writing communities are everywhere – online, user groups, conferences, group blogs (like this one!) and writing chapters. Balancing my time with these communities, giving of my time and efforts, seeing them blossom and grow, is one of the best things to experience. Along with the wildlife in my backyard. *grin*

The key is the balance in time. Spending a portion of time in a community, a portion doing routine daily life tasks, and a portion in the construction of my next story is a balance I try to achieve every day through the use of a daily to-do list. But not only a “to-do list”, but a “done list” as well. It is important to me to see progress, as items crossed off and accomplished bring with it the satisfaction that I am moving forward.

Whatever you do to make yourself grow, learn, contribute, and write, do it. Everyone is different – your personal recipe will be just that. Yours.

© SamMarie Ashe 2011 All Rights Reserved

8 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

'The key is the balance in time.' That's the hard part, isn't it? I like To Do lists also, but I tend to put to many items on the list. I'm working on that.:)

Great post, Sami!

Paty Jager said...

Well written and so true, We each have our own methods that work for us.

The best way for me to get writing done is to get the other things out of the way so in the back of my mind I'm not constantly worrying about the things that "need" done.

Tam Linsey said...

I love the way you have described and found balance. I am still working on that aspect of my writing life. Those other aspects of our lives enrich our writing.

Judith Ashley said...

The truth in your post is "Everyone is different - your personal recipe will be just that. Yours." While I might like the results of a successful, NYT's best-selling author the process or recipe to get there must be mine.

And the inspiration from the wildlife in the backyard? Yep...love it when the flickers and peregrine falcons come by (although not at the same time because those falcons can be deadly).

SamMarie Ashe said...

Thank you ladies! I am still very much working on that balancing act, it's a daily thing. Sometimes hourly! *grin*

I love the wildlife in the backyard, there are many flickers and woodpeckers, robins (a family regular breeds here every year), and three squirrels. I don't have any falcons visit but occasionally a really loud flock of starlings arrive and then there is no way there's any silence. Those are some party-hard birds! *laughing*

Have a great day,
Sami

maepen said...

Finding a balance is hard to do, espeically for a writer with kids. Sigh... I can't complain too much. Their growing and soon out of the house before I know it. Nature is always inspiring to me. Knowing what mother nature can destroy while in the same breath create, is aweinspiring.
Great blog Sammarie!

Vonnie Alto said...

I no longer have a routine or recipe for writing. My world is so topsy turvey that I literally write when I can squeeze in the time. Each day that varies. It's a bit discouraging at times but I keep plugging away at it. Someday soon I'll have a finished book.

SamMarie Ashe said...

Yeah, routine is difficult with so many dozens of things coming at us all from different directions! Even if I'm too busy to write or just don't want to for whatever reason (not necessarily stuck, more like I'm ill), that's when I read rather voraciously. Sometimes it's fiction, sometimes it's craft books.

I find that the balance isn't the same day-to-day, but more like month-to-month. Right now I'm doing character building, plotting, a lot of pre-writing tasks that drain my brain. So for those times when I really can't write, then I relax and read, trying to find a spot of peace and quiet. Even if it's outside with the starlings and robins.

Thanks for all your comments, and cya soon!
-Sami