One of my favorite TV shows of all time is Ellery Queen. This one season show aired in the mid-1970s and centered around a mystery writer who solved mysteries. (Yes, this preceded Murder, She Wrote.) Last night I was watching one of the episodes on my laptop that featured Ellery working furiously to finish a book before a deadline. He only had a couple of days to finish forty pages and he had hurt his finger which was wrapped up and unable to be used to write or type. (One other aside: the show is set in 1947 before word processors and computers.) With a busted finger, he hired a secretary, one Miss Margie Coopersmith with a “C,” to write down his dictation. At eleven thirty at night, Miss Coopersmith asked Ellery if he would like to continue writing at the automat. Ellery looked at her as if she were crazy. “Writing? At the automat? It’s too noisy.” He told her he wouldn’t be able to get any work done in the noisy confines of the automat, instead preferring the interior confines of his New York City apartment.
This morning I was writing at Panera Bread since my two youngest are still at home with me and my husband didn’t have to go to leave for work until noon. Being a write-at-home mom is great because I set my own hours and work as often as I can. One problem, however, is that my children think my office, which is in my bedroom, has a rotating door which can be opened whenever they want. As a result, I tend to write elsewhere if they are at home: libraries, restaurants, anywhere where I can sit and write in relative peace and quiet.
The good thing about writing at someplace other than my house is that it gives me a couple of minutes beforehand to think about my writing for the day: where I’m at in my outline, dialogue, setting, POV, and so on. The bad thing is that it eats up time as I travel to different places.
The important thing is that I’m trying to work on consistency: writing almost every day, writing deliberately and writing for the character’s story to get onto the written page.
Where do you like to write?
Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do from the moment they can talk about it. My son MJ has wanted to be an emergency room doctor for the past six years, and I look forward to finding out whether he ever completes that goal or changes his mind.
Some of us may have an idea of what we want to do but never take the first step. All my life I’ve been writing down snippets of poems or stories, even going as far as to enter a high school writing contest a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It wasn’t until I finally admitted to myself that writing was something I needed to do that I took the first step to writing a book.
I wrote the book and then got a little sidetracked when I found out I was pregnant. When I discovered I was pregnant, I had visions of typing during naps and rocking the baby while typing on my laptop. Then I discovered that I was pregnant with twins (hello Cupcake and Chunk). It’s too hard to rock twins and type at the same time. So I gave myself a maternity leave, but something happened. I thought about characters and realized writing is a part of my nature.
So when my maternity leave ended, I started writing a non-fiction book. Then I heard about NaNoWriMo less than a week before it started last year. I geared myself up and wrote 50,000 words. I completed a book and found writer’s groups. To my surprise, I had not written The Next Big Thing in Romance, but I discovered something more: I discovered that despite my book’s flaws (and it had many), I wanted to make it better. I wanted to improve my craft. Last year’s NaNoWriMo convinced me I could do it. Since then, I’ve spent time learning how to write: learning about dialogue, POV, word repetition, pacing. I’m still learning how to write, but I’m finding people and groups who are helping me. This year I entered NaNoWriMo with the conviction I could do it, especially with the help of those around me, including my daughter Kath who also won NaNoWriMo this year.
So this is my first blog on the journey about my trying to learn how to write as I weave the road I hope will lead to becoming a published author someday. I’d write more except I left my hero in a living room with his sister when he really wants to be at the heroine’s house instead. Happy writing or happy finding what you want to do and taking that first step to doing it.