Wednesday, November 4, 2015

this is what really goes on...// behind-the-scenes writing tag

     Hello friends! I've been a bit dry on inspiration as far as blog posts go lately -- wait, make that dry on motivation. The truth is I've got piles and piles of ideas, but I've given none of them the chance to come to fruition yet. SO! While all my baby ideas are crying for my attention, I thought I'd do this fun writing tag that's been circling around my favorite blogs lately. I haven't been writing as much as I'd like to lately, so maybe this will get me back in the mood and make me want to put the pen to the page again. :-)

     I was sort of unofficially tagged for this one -- in Eowyn's post she tagged anyone who was reading it inside their house, which I did. So. Just in case I needed justification. ;-P

     Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?
     I don't normally eat while I write, because believe it or not it distracts me. Unless I'm re-writing or editing something, then I sometimes snack on something. In the late summer and fall it's always an apple, because I'm usually sitting in the barn surrounded by them.

     When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?

     Normally, in the afternoon. Sometimes I'll get a wave of inspiration first thing in the morning, but more often than not I do all my bloggy-stuff, my schoolwork, and other chores first. In the summertime, though, I'm all over the place. Occasionally I write at night, but not very often because that's usually when my family decides to watch Dr. Quinn or The Waltons, and at this point in my life I'm not dedicated enough to resist either of those. ;-)

     Where do you write?

     Here, there, and everywhere! In the summertime, I usually sit on the hay stacked in our barn. There's a bridge down in the woods behind our house that I often sit on, and a little clearing where I sometimes go. Writing inside, I'm usually either sitting on my desk or my sister's bed. (She doesn't mind.)

     This is my cat Oliver sitting on top of my notebook. He's annoying like that.

     How often do you write a new novel?

     Well, I've yet to finish one, so I can't really say. This one's been simmering for over a year now, and I really have no idea how long it'll take me to get it as good as I want it to be. I've started other stories that I hope will grow into novels, but like I said...nothing's finished yet.

     (Although I DID finish a short story this very afternoon, which made me super happy! It's only 25 pages, but HEY. Small victories.)

     Do you listen to music while you write?

    ABSOLUTELY. Usually it's one of the over 30 movie soundtracks I own, because music with lyrics tends to be more distracting. (Have I ever mentioned how easily distracted I am?) Unless I'm writing outside, in which case I listen to the music in my head. :-) Some of my favorite writing soundtracks: True Grit (2010), Wyatt Earp (1994), Lincoln (2011), Belle (2013), The Blue and the Gray (1982), and OF COURSE Lonesome Dove (1989)

     What do you write on? Laptop or paper?

     I just got a laptop last year, so before that I alllllways wrote on paper. (There was nothing romantic about sitting in the dining room at our family computer, where people could walk by at any time and -- gasp!-- read what I was writing, so I never did that.) Last winter I wrote a TON on my laptop, but I've found that it helps the words flow from my brain easier when I write them down on paper. I type faster than I think, and plus staring at a screen for so long tires my eyes. (Of course, holding a pen for three hours straight makes me arthritic...but that's a minor detail.) Typically I write my first drafts longhand, and then type them on my laptop, editing as I go along.

     Short answer -- I do both, laptop and paper.

     Is there a special ritual you have before or after you write?

     Ehhhh....not really. I used to like to browse Pinterest, but I've found that that tends to distract me even more and doesn't really help get me in the right frame of mind to write my stories, so I quit doing that. When I remember to, I say a prayer asking for the right words to write. I take a few deep breaths. That's it.

     What do you do to get into the mood to write?

     I haven't found a good way to settle myself down to write yet. I'm either in the mood or I'm not -- it's something I have to work on. ;-)

     What is always near the place where you write?

     A cat. Seriously! When I'm writing in the barn, one of our cats down there, Magnolia (known as Maggie or That Darn Cat) will almost always find me and come sit on my lap. Sometimes she sits on my notebook and I have to push her off. Here at home, Oliver often comes to sit beside me and help me work out my plots. :-)

    Do you have a reward system for your word count?

     Since I don't usually write on my laptop, I don't pay much attention to word count. (It's not like I'm going to go through and count all the words I've written...) I try to set my goals by pages, not words -- which isn't always consistent, because a page on notebook paper might be two paragraphs on the computer, but what the heck. This is how I do things.

     What were we talking about? Oh yes, a reward system. The best reward is the feeling that "I've done it!" I can't really think of a better reward than that. :-)

     Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

     One thing is that I tend to base minor characters in my books off real people. I don't know if anyone would be able to tell, from reading them, but it helps me sometimes to have a real person to base someone off of. Hmmm, what else do I do? Like many writers, I make faces whenever I'm trying to describe an expression that one of my characters is making. (Thank goodness no one rarely sees this -- I have a talent for making really horrendously ugly faces. Just ask my sister.) Sometimes when I write a line that I really think is something special, I'll sit back and say it out loud a couple times.

     That's all! If you carved a pumpkin this year, you're tagged. :-) Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some writing to do...


  1. You have the soundtrack for The Blue and the Gray?!?!?! Ooh, I'm envious.

    I have the opposite problem from you: I think faster than I can write longhand, so that's why I do most of my writing on the computer these days. I used to write first drafts longhand and then revise them while typing them up, but I don't have that kind of time anymore. I do sometimes write longhand journal-as-character things, though, as that seems to work much better when I'm writing with a pen and notebook than with a computer.

    Congrats on finishing up a short story! Love that feeling :-)

    1. Heh, well actually I don't *own* The Blue and the Gray soundtrack. My sister and I have been wanting to add it to our collection for years, but it's super rare which means it's also super expensive. ;-/ But some awesome person put a soundtrack compilation on Youtube, so I listen to that.

      Thank you! It's a great feeling. :-D

    2. Ahhhhh! Because I was looking at the soundtrack for TBATG the other day and was mourning how expensive it is. Hadn't thought to look for it on YouTube -- why does that never occur to me? Thanks!

    3. I'm pretty sure there's only one soundtrack compilation on all of Youtube, and it's got most all of the main themes. Oh, and while you're at it look up the North and South soundtrack on the same channel.

    4. Then I think I know the channel, because I listened to the N&S soundtrack all the time on YouTube for a while. Until I found a site where I could download it and burn my own copy. Thanks!


    6. There is a site called NorthAndSouth2004... on this page, they have the whole soundtrack downloadable as a .zip file -- underneath where you can hear all the tracks individually, you'll see a link that just says "North and South" If you click on that, it will download the files to your computer (it did not give me any viruses, but of course you'll want to be sure your virus protection is up to date). It contains the mp3 file of each song, which you can then burn to a CD. Since no one has EVER made the soundtrack available for purchase, I consider this perfectly legal and moral. Obviously if they ever released the soundtrack for real, I would buy a copy. Probably 5 copies.

      That site also used to have links to the sheet music for the main theme, but the link for that is missing now, so here it is for you. I loooooooooove playing this.

    7. Ohhh. I was referring to the *other* North and South -- the miniseries from 1985. THAT's the one with my favorite soundtrack in the world. But I do like the music to the other one too, so thanks for explaining all that. (I'm only slightly disappointed there isn't a way to download the other N&S music....of course, now that I think about it that'd be too good to be true. The soundtrack is super super rare and the only copy I can find online is over $200. *tears*)

      But sheet music! That cheers me up! Thanks! :-)

    8. Ahhhhh! The *American* N&S :-D Yeah, that's completely impossible to find. So far! Never know, might find it somewhere sometime -- like at a yard sale of someone who doesn't know what they have!

    9. Well, there is that one compilation on Youtube, which is pretty great. I'm thankful for that!

  2. Your cat sitting on your notebook..and helping you work out your plots! :) Aww.

    "I haven't found a good way to settle myself down to write yet. I'm either in the mood or I'm not -- it's something I have to work on. ;-)" Oh! I can really relate to that. I don't know how to set writing goals for myself (like a certain amount of pages or words every day) because when the words aren't coming, they're just not coming. And it feels like such a waste of time to just sit there. :/

    This was really cool to read about your system for writing. Writing outside sounds so lovely. I should do that more.

    Oh! Congratulations on finishing a short story! That's awesome!

    ~Miss March

    1. Exactly! I'm good at setting goals...I just don't always make good on them because if I'm not in the mood to write, I'm just not. *sigh*

      Yes, Oliver is my writing buddy. :-) And thank you! It is pretty awesome. ;-D

  3. I basically loved this. :-) Although, like, NOTHING was a surprise. :-P

    Ohhh, good for YOU for finishing the Truck story!!! Send it to me, please? Like, on your next email? I want to sink in your story-telling again. I love the way you write. :-)

    (Ugh, I used the word 'like' twice in the annoying-teenager-way. *cringes* DO forgive me.)

    ~ Naomi

    1. Ugh, I know, NOTHING is a surprise. Life is so boring, right, Naomi? ;-P

      THANK YOU. It's so cool. :-) Yes, I will send it to you soooooon! But I want Mary to read it first, since I wrote it for her, so it might not be with the very next email. (I'm giving it to her tonight.) Awww, thaaaaaaank you. I love the way you read what I write. :-)

      Oh, and I forgive you. ;-P

  4. Congrats on finishing your short story!! That must feel AMAZING!

    I hate writing on the "downstairs" computer because everyone walks right behind me, and I think they're reading my stuff and so I freak out, and they're like, "We're not looking, silly!" But I'm not convinced . . . I like to borrow my sister's laptop to write instead. Much more privacy :D

    1. Thank you, Rosie! It does!!!! :-D

      Right?! Even when people insist they're not peeking, you just feeeel like they are. I'm so grateful for my handy-dandy laptop, which I can take just about anywhere I please.

  5. Hehe, I've never carved a pumpkin in my whole entire life! Are you shocked? ;-) (There is a particular way you're suppose to answer that question, hehe.)
    I'll just quickly comment on a few points, although I might add I agree with all you said and can relate to pretty much ALL of them (except the cat....I don't have a cat, but I DO have an Oliver ;-P).
    I'm either 'in the mood or not' too. But, just like you, I'm working on it! ;-D
    I sometimes base characters off real people. (As a matter of fact, I actually based my main heroine for my "Lavender's Blue authoress" story from Natalie, hehe. She was SO perfect, and I hadn't actually commented on her blog when I decided to use her. And in case your were curious, I HAVE told her. ;-)) And I pull facial expressions when I write them, too! But even more, I often say my story out loud as I write it, and act it out, as if it was a movie, playing before my eyes. I'd play all parts, of course (Duh! ;-P) and it's actually very fun and effective. ;-) (A scene of Anne from one of the Anne of Green Gables movies comes to mind....haha.)
    And I also don't have a reward system either, the feeling of accomplishment is plenty enough to keep my happy, too! :-)
    ~Miss Meg

    1. Am I shocked? *nods solemnly* "Very."

      Aww, that's so neat that you based your character off Natalie! :-) I sometimes act out my stories too -- by myself, of course, and it really does help.

      Exactly -- nothing can beat that giddy feeling of satisfaction after you've accomplished your goals. :-)

    2. Thank you, your answer gave me immense satisfaction. ;-D
      I wanted to comment again because THAT HEADER. :-) Oh, look, it's Sara Crewe! I love that scene in A Little Princess. :-) (I also REALLY like the song "Kindle My Heart". It gives me shivers from it's amazing-ness every time.) And that picture on the far right - why does it look so hauntingly familiar?!! Can you tell me what it's off? :-P (It's very pretty. She's got lovely hair. And the lamp is gorgeous. And it's snowing. And her dress (probably her pajamas?) is so white and flowy. *siiiigh*)
      ~Miss Meg

    3. You're welcome, Miss Meg. :-)

      Aww, thanks. I love that movie too! And that song allllways gives me shivers. *sigh* I found that other picture on pinterest -- I have no idea what it's from, but I thought it was gorgeous too!

  6. What do you know? Emma's Changed Her Header!!!!!! I'm glad you did. :-) It's so pretty!!!! It's so YOU. :-) And you put a lantern in. LOVE IT. :-)

    Your blog is slightly too wide, though - it doesn't match up with the header. Just so you know.

    1. Naomi, I know. I was working on it when the internet went off, and then I left it for the night. But thanks for telling me anyways. ;-P

  7. I love your new header! It's so pretty and wintery! :)

    1. Thanks Rosie! I love it too. Sometimes I just click on my blog so I can stare at it. :-D


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