The Writing Life

  Campbell River Spit

Each morning, I start my writing session by opening a document called Warm-Up Pages. I put my fingers down on the keyboard and type without stopping for five minutes of wild writing – anything and everything that comes into my head. The wildness of that opening exercise kick starts me into serious work. Before I know it, I’ve got my draft document open and I’m on my way.

My current work in process – book five in the Crater Lake series – topped out at 21,500 words this afternoon. I’ve got most of the first two chapters written and seventeen of the thirty characters I want to hear from our now on the written page.

I thought I’d share a few excerpts from my warm-up pages. I can type a lot in five minutes chunks everyday but most of it is as you would expect warming up and stretching to be. Not so exciting if you aren’t there for the subsequent work out.

Fried egg mushrooms

Feb. 7, 2019

In the space and in the chair – first steps. The day is dullish grey with a snow threatening sky. We’ll see what comes.

For this novel, I am liberating myself from the need to explain huge chunks of back story. Here is my message to the reader who picks up book five in a series without having read any of the previous books – expect to be somewhat confused. Not completely out to sea, but not totally in the know either.

Feb. 8, 2019

Bookmarked a couple of log salvage and boat research sites. I’m as awkward writing some of today’s scenes as the characters are to be in them.

Feb. 9, 2019

Just because something might be sad doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go there – readers don’t mind being sad as long as the emotion is real.

Feb. 10, 2019 – 10:20 am

A two hour block of writing time slips by quickly. The discipline of knowing when to stop is as important as getting my butt in the chair to start.

Had some great ideas while I was out walking yesterday.

There is a gentle snow falling outside my dormer window this morning. I love this space for focus.

I’ve been looking at Paper Raven’s notes on the novel blueprint method and the Act One Tipping Point. I love this … “The story starts when life can no longer go on the way it has in the past. Something threatens the worldview of the characters. There is a sense that all is not well – trouble looms on the horizon. Big change is coming.”

Feb. 11, 2019 – 10:10 am

I finished chapter one yesterday! Rough, of course. To be expected. Setting descriptions and detail work will come later. Cut a huge section from the piece I had roughed out. Way too much talking.

A writing routine has emerged. Write for two hours, walk for an hour, have lunch, knit on my current sock project, work for another two hours.

Feb. 12, 2019 – 10:00 am

Another day – bright sunny skies but the cold continues. I love the feeling of my fingers moving swiftly over these keys. When I come up to the dormer room to get started, I anxiously await those few moment that Word takes to get my document open, so I can start. It is wonderful and exhilarating to feel this way again!

I wrote in my head for my entire hour-long walk. Now, I feel as though I’m going to explode if I don’t get some of these ideas on paper.

Sunset on the Fraser River

Well, that was six days in the writing life. How do you get your writing day going? Is a routine important? Are you rigid with a schedule or is it anything goes? Let me know.

I decided to perk this post up with some pics from Day one of our fall trip because photos of my writing sessions would be dead boring. We travelled from our Island home to the lower mainland, visited Minnekhada park in Coquitlam and caught sunset on the Fraser River.

My Mom is a Gnome

13 comments on “The Writing Life

  1. evelynralph says:

    Reblogged this on evelynralph and commented:
    I ferl relaxed already.
    Evelyn

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Brilliant way of warming up your pc, fingers and brain, I would imagine…

  3. Gallivanta says:

    I like your warm-up writing exercise. And the sock knitting interludes.

  4. S.C. Jensen says:

    I like the idea of warm-up writing. Sometimes I think all of my writing is warm-up writing, though, haha. I’m working on my second novel right now, and I’m trying very hard to stay in warm-up mode and not let myself get too rigid with sentence structure and word choice and all the other ways we overthink the process. I can’t edit a blank page!

    • I can’t edit a blank page – this is so, so, true! I will always remember my grad supervisor telling me – we can always cut but we can’t make something from nothing. Just write. Best wishes for your writing endeavours and thanks for such wise words.

  5. Leaving the scene of your writing and walking is a good way to tap into the place of inspiration.

    • I think the walking is as important as the wide vista in front of my desk and the actual discipline of sitting in front of the keyboard and working. It somehow sets things in place for me and gives me insight into where I’m going wrong. I’ll often come back from the time walking knowing that some part of what I wrote that morning needs to be changed. I stopped by to check out your blog, Audrey. We Island people must stick together. Are you enjoying the snow? We finally got about an inch last night.

      • Yes, physical movement must have subtle effects on thinking, as well as being generally good for one. I was pretty sure you are a west coast author; thanks for visiting my blog. We had about 10 inches of snow on Monday. It’s been melting fast today, revealing some sad looking plants.

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