In the zone

Some days, you just wake up ready to write, with the characters’ voices echoing in your ears.Those are the best days.

Today’s tally: 3,000 words or thereabouts, three scenes, two WIPs. (And two kinds of cupcakes, a food that is entirely necessary and essential to the writing process. Because I said so.)

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Go forth and write

Just over 1,300 words today on the work in progress — about average for me, though there have been crazy days when the characters won’t stop chattering and the day’s writing output has tripled. (So, too, are there days when more thinking than writing occurs.)

But today is one of those fun, meaningless milestones that serve to mark progress: crossing 100,000 words on the WIP. It’s a big number — one that might cause panic if the current WIP wasn’t actually two books.

I like to tackle my projects like filming The Lord of the Rings, back-to-back and all together. Scout scenes in advance. Get one character’s takes wrapped up at a time. Hitting 100,000 words on this project probably puts me at Helm’s Deep, watching Saruman’s army massing at my feet as the rain starts to fall.

Yup. Deep in the slog, with a long battle ahead but a longer road behind. Forth, Eorlingas!

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Background noise

All writers have strategies for coping with the psychosomatic bane of their existence: writer’s block. For me, writer’s block is usually the product of too much mental chatter. When the signal-to-noise ratio is unfavorable, the characters’ voices can’t come through clearly enough for me to write. Stripping out the interference…

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Why coffee builds character

I am not a coffee drinker.

Yes, I’m aware it’s practically sacrilege to say so in a culture that prides itself on having a $20-a-day Starbucks habit. I never acquired the taste for it.

But the smell of it can hurtle me through time and space faster than the Doctor’s Tardis, dropping me into a seat at Grandma’s kitchen table. I picture the way she folded her paper towel — what served as a plate at breakfast, when she liked to have a little toasted sandwich to dunk in her coffee. I see her hands, knuckles swollen with arthritis, wrapped around the mug. My feet dangle and swing, when I don’t tuck them up on the chair braces, because in Grandma’s kitchen I’m forever ten years old, and I never did have that growth spurt.

And when I think about writing, I think about coffee — because coffee builds character. All of my characters have coffee moments stirring their memories and emotions. Their moments aren’t coffee in Grandma’s kitchen, of course, but it’s when they share them with me that I know I’m in the right place. The right space. The writing space.

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