The incredible Amanda Page tagged me in the TURN DOWN FOR WHAT blog tour, started by Emma Bolden and Chantel Acevedo. They provide a great list of questions and I’m supposed to limit myself to only two (!) to share with you. So, as Jim from my (unfinished) novel would say, balloon goes up!
Agatha Christie, as the story goes, created many of her stories while eating apples in the bathtub. How do you spark the story-or-poem-making part of your brain?
While that bathtub thing sounds good, I haven’t figured out how to keep my laptop dry yet. When I really got going on my novel, I bought myself a cork bulletin board and started pinning things to it. I have photos of the houses where my characters live and objects that they own. I have hand-drawn floor plans of important buildings, which keeps these clumsy characters from walking through doors that don’t exist. I have a map of Atlanta folded back to the neighborhoods where the action happens. For a while, I had strings attaching from points on the map to related photos and business cards--Beautiful Mind-style—but I got lazy about putting all the strings back after taking everything to a writing retreat. And above the bulletin board, I have a neat woodcut by a local artist that nudges me about where my attention should be.
When I see those images from my desk, it reminds me who the characters are. Thinking about them makes me excited to write about them again. Out of sight, out of mind, unfortunately. So I try to keep them in sight.
We know getting your work out is all about hard work, perseverance, & talent, but there’s always a dash of luck involved. So, name the luckiest publishing-related thing that has ever happened to you.
After college in Florida--where I was a writing major surrounded by writer friends--and before moving to Ohio, I lived in DC for about 3 years. I love so much about DC, but most everyone I knew was very profession-oriented. By that, I mean that your day job defined you more than your hobbies, where you lived, your background, or anything else you were into. I didn’t know any writers, and I had a really hard time 1) getting any writing done and 2) getting help/mentorship/support/advice for the small amount I did get done.
My eventual-husband-to-be moved to Ohio a few months before I followed him. As he got to know his new colleagues, he mentioned to some that I was a “writer” (a term I was shy to use about myself at the time). Another said his wife was also a writer and belonged to a local writing group. Soon after I moved in, we went to our first work party, and I had him point out the colleague who had said this. I hung around that guy until I found out who his wife was, and then I basically glommed on to her until she causally mentioned writing and her writing group. ZAM!! I pounced. I got an invitation to the Naked Wordshop, and they’ve been an endless source of the advice and inspiration and support that I had been missing before. I feel very lucky to have found them so soon after moving to town.
To keep this party going, I’m going to tag Matt Betts, author of Odd Men Out (Raw Dog Screaming Press). Can’t wait to see your responses, Matt!
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