All Because of Chickens

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings: How many hours?

Happy Saturday!

What are your plans this weekend? Relaxation or working? Spring cleaning? Digging out from a late snow fall? It never seems to be enough time to do everything we need or want to do, is there?

Which is my weak lead into Terri's question for this week's Saturday Morning many hours do you write? Are you a pen and paper or direct to computer writer?

A little bit of that I have notebooks for each story, but have been known to continue via the computer when I translate my scribbles to WORD. Hours? If you ask my family, I'm never off the computer due to the variety of writing I do. However, strictly story writing, not enough. I would like to build to at least an hour a day.

TERRI BERTHA, Mainstream NEW author

My writing time at a computer varies though out the weeks/months.  During the winter months, I wrote every day, and it varied from 30 minutes to maybe a couple hours.   Since the coming of warmer weather and my other activities/hobbies, writing time has decreased.   The only time I use a paper and pencil are for notes, ideas or thoughts that come to me during the day.

Usually I write at least fourteen to sixteen hours a week either poetry or prose. This includes writing Facebook post, blogging and also poetry. My favorite medium is my computer. Since I have been a serious writer I have been writing directly to the computer. I like it, because if you make a mistake you can always so back and change it. So your work doesn’t become so messy. When I wrote on paper I would have so many cross outs I couldn’t even understand what I had written. I am one of those people whose ideas come to me as I write. So when writing on paper I would have another idea and have to fit it in. On the computer it is easy. All you do is cut and paste and it’s done. Also as I said, I get my ideas when I’m writing, so being able to put down my ideas quickly helps me to continue to think. Sometimes I’ll only start out with a sentence or two and then write two thousand words by the time I’m done. I am also an editor, so I am constantly editing my own work. I try not to change too much in a first draft, but I am a perfectionist, so I will backspace and change something.

I write for a minimum of two or three hours most days, but when I'm not writing, I often spend time planning my current work in progress, or researching facts for stories. Writing in the car (when my husband is driving!) is particularly productive, because there are no distractions, such as there are when I'm on my computer. During the day, if I can't get to my computer, I write in a notebook that I carry around, or sometimes make voice memos in my phone. Later, I transfer the notes to my computer. I like it to be quiet when I write, and since the evenings are the most peaceful time of day in our home, that is when I do most of my writing.

My schedule until a year ago allowed me to write 4-6 hours a day. Unfortunately, it has taken a back seat to homeschooling my granddaughters this year. However, I do write every day. I joined a group in December that holds me accountable to a mini goal of just three sentences on my MG work in progress novel. I check in every day, so that motivates me to get to the computer and write. Thankfully, those three daily sentences often become three paragraphs or even three pages. I seem to be stuck to my computer for fiction. My brain tracks better when I can read what I wrote the day before and then write for whatever time I have. It may seem strange, but I can write non-fiction anywhere and on anything. I have notebooks full of articles, ideas, and a memoir I am writing. Quirky, I know, but it seems to work for me.

I spend roughly ten to fifteen hours a week writing, generally a couple hours a night after doing the day-job and mom duties. I actually used a word count, versus time limit, because some days the words just come, others—not so much. I’m an avid user of Scrivener, a great writing program I use on my precious, pretty Mac. Since I tend to type faster than I write, I’m all about my keyboard. However, when I hit a wall on my writing, such as what happens next hurdle, I have been known to grab a pen and a notebook and get busy. Sometimes the switch in medium helps trigger a switch in the creative process. Pen and paper or keyboard, so long as you get the words down, you’re golden.

I try to write an hour a day on the computer. Sometimes if I’m stuck on a scene or I’m not sure where the story is headed, I’ll use paper and pencil.

My writing time varies. Because I have a day job – I am a computer software engineer -- I write either on my lunch hour, after work, or on weekends. I suppose I average four or five hours a week. This month is National Poetry Month, and some friends and I have been attempting to write a poem a day, so I've been mostly writing poetry. We've been using prompts posted by Robert Lee Brewer on his PoeticAsides blog. I have been fairly obsessive about this: so far, I've written a poem for every prompt except the one for day two. I can pretty much always come up with a poem, even when I don't start out by being particularly inspired by falling back on humor and rhyme.

Brewer is fond of prompts with BLANK, where we are supposed to pick a word or phrase to replace BLANK. Here is one written for just such a prompt from a couple of years ago. I believe this was the first time I deliberately failed to replace BLANK

A Case of Blank

I tried to buy a case of blank
but when the clerk inquired,
what color blankness I'd prefer,
and what else was required,

I said that any blank would do,
but I would like it empty,
because if my new blank were full,
the smell would surely tempt me.

Alas, the only blanks she had
in stock were red or yellow,
and full of little bits of this
and that and smelled quite mellow.

I thanked the clerk for all her pains
but said I would not buy it
because the blank had been filled in,
and I was on a diet.

As to pen or computer, usually I type right onto the computer. However, if I am truly uninspired, I use pen and paper, as this appears to engage a different part of the brain and thus often succeeds in getting me unstuck.

ALIX RICHARDS, Hot author:

I write as many hours a week as possible, more on the high side and straight to computer. If I spend too much time going over the idea I’ll lose it. Not good. As soon as an idea pops into my head, I’m at my computer ticking it out and seeing where it’s going. Hopefully, it is a full idea that will result in a completed story in the near future. Mostly they do. Some don’t, at least not then. I have had them re-pop in months later and I was able to finish it.

However, sometimes, real life interferes and I’m unable to get the word count I like (then it’s more on the very low end). Other times I cannot stop writing the story to save my life (extremely high). I’ve actually written a (30K) story (from beginning to end) in just under 72 hours. Doesn’t always happen, but it was interesting for a first. I believe I only got like four hours of sleep in those three days.

I’d say I’m more of a medium-high writer and straight to computer. Always.

KURT DYSAN, Hot author

I write about 30-40 hours a week, almost every week (I work seven days a week), sometimes more. Some of it is ghostwriting, some is for myself. Primarily I write on a computer, but at times on a yellow pad, or on a whiteboard (especially when brainstorming) and once and while on 3x5 cards. I have a digital pad that lets me write longhand and convert to text when I travel and don't have access to the internet or electricity.

I probably write about 10 or so hours a week. I make notes in my spiral notebooks but do my actual writing directly into the computer. I think faster than I can write by hand. *Note – some weeks I write more and some weeks I play more computer games. I can’t work on my current erotic series at work so that cuts into my writing time.

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings: To topic or not to topic, your decision

Happy Saturday!

Well, Spring fever has hit my house. We're prepping to paint and clean-out items that have been cluttering and hiding the dust bunnies.

Writers are constantly prepping their work. Whether they are plotting...rough drafting...their story or typing whatever comes to mind, everything always comes back to the prep-work as this happens at any stage. Part of this is deciding and knowing what genre you're working in and, you got it, this all leads into this week's musing:

Is there a topic you're afraid to touch, refuse to touch?

I’m not certain that there is anything I might not touch. However, probably I wouldn’t write about horror, because I don’t think I could do it justice. I have written mystery and also I have written a couple of short stories where people have died, but I feel most comfortable writing YA and maybe romance. There is another thing I never thought I would write, but I have attempted some erotica though it hasn’t been published yet. As a writer I feel if the story goes there then I have to write it. I have actually been surprised by what I can write, so I am not sure that I would say there is a subject I wouldn’t touch. If it fits in my story I will probably write about it.

In my first book If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, I knew nothing about my character’s condition and I had to research it. So if I did find a character had something that I didn’t know about I would research it. If my story went in another direction I would probably research that too. I don’t veer toward the macabre, but you never know where the words will take you.

ALIX RICHARDS, Hot author:

It’s not so much topics I won’t touch, but rather genres themselves. I won’t touch YA, Mid-grade and children’s books, at least not to be published. The reason is pretty simple; there are rules for every genre, which can restrict creativity. Plus, I’m horrible at playing by the rules and tend to push the envelope whenever I pick up a pen (or sit at a keyboard, lol). The reason I tend to avoid those topics for books may also have to do with the fact I wasn’t an average child, so don’t know the first thing about the subject. And that is one thing you should have, the knowledge of what you’re writing about. I can’t write about a childhood I didn’t ever have.

So for me, I’ll leave those tales to be told by writers who write those genres (and are good at it). I’ll stick to all the others (there are MANY to choose from!). I’m sure eventually, there will be another genre (or even a subject) that will not pass through my fingers. But until then, we’ll have to wait and see.

I refuse to touch anything dealing with horror, rape, or explicit sex.  I'm of the “old school,” where reading a novel was for enjoyment, not for getting scared just for the sake of getting scared, or horror for the sake of horror.  I thoroughly enjoy stories on happy ‘reality’ life without dwelling on the gruesome ‘true’ life.

I guess my reading enjoyment level, and therefore my writing, has not progressed much beyond the Pollyanna or Anne of Green Gables stage.

What will I never touch in my writing is anything to do with the harming of a dog or dogs, much less the death of same. Yup, it's that specific. For a simple straightforward reason: I'm a dog lover. Always have been, always will be. I spent my childhood sobbing when I read books such as Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. I'd lay awake at night trying to rewrite the dog's death in my head. Now, if I think about writing a scene where a dog is hurt or even dies of a ripe old age, I cry. And remember, I write murder mysteries, fantasies and sometimes horror. I'm happy to kill people, but never dogs!

This probably marks me as rather old-fashioned, and unrealistic, but I never use swear words in my writing. Sometimes, certain characters might be expected to swear, but I usually get round it by saying that the character swore, rather than stating what he or she said, and then the reader can substitute whatever word they like. However, if this is used too often, dialogue sounds stilted, so I don't usually write about characters who I think would swear repeatedly.

I know that swearing is part of everyday life, but it seems to me that we have such a rich language that there must be sufficient words to use for all occasions, without using words that risk offending people.

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note: