Category Archives: writing craft

She’s funny. She’s delightful. She’s a damn good writer. She’s Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

In today’s ongoing series of Q and As with bestselling authors  – we feature the delightful and talented Kristan Higgins (contemporary romance author and women’s fiction author).  Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than fifteen novels and a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages and received numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus and Romantic Times. She is a four-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for best work of fiction. You can connect with Kristan via her website and blog. On her facebook profile page. or her facebook author page, on twitter

What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?

AIEWfcreissueKH: ALL I EVER WANTED hit the USA TODAY list…I forget where, but let’s say it barely squeaked in there. It stayed on for two weeks, and I was utterly thrilled!

What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

KH: I think I was sitting on this very porch, and my editor called me. I said, “Are you even kidding? Don’t joke about that stuff!” We were both so excited!

For that first time, my husband took me out to a fantastic restaurant, and told the maître d’ “My wife’s book just hit the USA TODAY list!” The restaurant people brought over champagne, and when dessert came, they wrote “Congratulations!” in icing. It was like a dream. Plus, I didn’t have to cook.

What does being a “successful author” mean to you?

Kristan Higgins at a book signing.

Kristan Higgins at a book signing.

KH: I think success means knowing that my books have had an impact on readers. Books are meant to be read, after all; I’m not writing just for my own entertainment. But loving my work is a part of success, too, because if I hated writing and didn’t care about the end result, well, where’s the joy in that? And there’s a financial component in there, too, somewhere. My original goal was to earn enough so that I wouldn’t have to wait tables part-time. That goal has been surpassed. It’s nice to be paid for the work I do, but if I only made as much as a part-time waitress, I’d still be writing.

Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?

KH: I write everything myself—I answer all my email, posts and messages, I write my own newsletters, every Tweet and Facebook post comes from me. I think that’s important, because it connects me with my readers, and that bond can’t be underestimated. I also think you can tell when you get a note from someone’s assistant, and that strikes me as ungrateful in a way . . . here the reader has told you how much she loved your book, and you don’t even read it? You don’t have five minutes to answer? I just couldn’t do that.

Kristan with her dear friend  (the wonderful) Kim Castillo

Kristan with her dear friend (the wonderful) Kim Castillo

I deliver a consistent product. When you go to my Facebook page, read my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, read my blogs, you’ll always know it’s me (see #1). All those posts contain the same tone as my books—they’re warm, approachable, often funny, heartfelt and talk about everyday life. I’m not whining about how mad I got in traffic or “vague-booking” about my problems, because that’s not what my readers want to hear about. They want the me of my books. My friends and family are there for the bad traffic days.

I write more books. It’s easy to believe that if you just promote enough, your book will get attention. I don’t think that’s true. Readers can’t be fooled or manipulated into loving an author. It’s always about the book. I know authors who are great on Facebook and write ragingly popular blogs about publishing, authors who have ten times the Twitter followers I have. But that’s not what I’m doing for a living. I don’t want to be a social media whiz; I want to write books. My readers want me to write books. You have to choose how you spend your time.

What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?

Kristan is a dog lover and dog owner. She says most of her books have dogs in them because "life without a dog is pretty lonely to contemplate."

Kristan is a dog lover and dog owner. She says most of her books have dogs in them because “life without a dog is pretty lonely to contemplate.”

KH: I love when I understand my book. It usually takes 265 pages, and then I smack my forehead and say, “So that’s what this book is about!” I would sincerely love it if this moment could take place on page 10 and have killed several roosters under the full moon to try to change this, but all for naught, I’m afraid. Page 265 seems to be a thing with me. (Author disclaimer: I really haven’t killed any roosters. But I’ve been tempted.)

The thing that makes me a little bonkers is the phrase “churning them out” in regard to writing two books a year. First of all, in the romance genre, that’s not terribly fast. Secondly, it implies that I’m just going through certain motions. I don’t. Every book is different. Every book is hard. Every book has a chunk of my heart in it. There’s no formula or button or crank. It’s my heart on the page, almost literally. I want to say to those people, “Churn? Churn them out? It’s more like I gave birth to an alien baby covered in spikes, okay?”

beyondsunrise2014Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

i_cant_complain_lgKH: Mary Balogh for her beautiful prose and wonderful characters; Elinor Lipman for her wry, wise, joyful voice; Marian Keyes for her sense of humor; Robyn Carr for her moral compass; Stephen King for scaring the pants off me.

What are you currently working on?

KH: I’m working on a women’s fiction novel called ON SECOND THOUGHT. It’s about two women who find themselves abruptly single and end up living together while they try to come to terms with the reality (and end) of their relationships. And it’s about second chances, too.

In your daily work routine what do you do first and why? A. write/plot/creative B. social media/promotion C. email/admin

IYDfc-smallWOYfcKH: C first because I always have to check and see if there’s something from my editor or publicist that needs taking care of quickly. Then B would come second, usually because there’s a note that says something like if you could have this by today, that would be so great! Then comes A, because I like to have uninterrupted time to work creatively, so I clear the runway, as it were.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

KH: I’m on my front porch!

Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .

Kristan Higgins's upcoming release IF YOU ONLY KNEW will be out on Aug. 25. Pre-order and you can win a $500 VISA gift card. Check her site for details. http://www.kristanhiggins.com/

Kristan Higgins’s upcoming release IF YOU ONLY KNEW will be out on Aug. 25. Pre-order and you can win a $500 VISA gift card. Check her site for details. http://www.kristanhiggins.com/

KH: I think I’d go a little crazy if I couldn’t be. I don’t know what nonwriters do all day? Talk to real people? That seems so uninspired!

KH: Thank you so much for having me today! I loved your questions, and it’s a huge honor.

Kristan is running an awesome contest for her upcoming book. If you pre-order her upcoming release IF YOU ONLY KNEW, (before Aug. 25) you can enter a contest to win a $500 VISA gift card!

You can connect with Kristan via her website and blog. On her facebook profile page. or her facebook author page, on twitter. Kristan also writes for The Jaunty Quills blog. 

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Filed under Best-selling authors, Bestselling Authors, CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, CONTEST, GIVEAWAY, Lachesis Publishing, LOVE STORY, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVELS, ROMANTIC COMEDY, WOMEN'S FICTION, writing craft

Four Books You Need To Read To Be A Good Writer by Patricia Grasso

Historical Romance author Patricia Grasso has a BA and MA in English and taught high school for thirty years. So when it comes to writing, she knows her stuff. School’s in session. Listen up students!

Remember your junior high school English class? The subject of the sentence is the most important word because it is what or whom you are talking about. The verb is secondary in importance because it says something about the subject. The same rule applies to storytelling. Characterization is the most important element. Plot is the engine that sends your characters on their journey through the story.

51qOCqd5CDL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_9780805011715_l51ncseVgYzL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Lesson #1: Characterization

You should start from the general and go to the specific. THE COMPLETE WRITER’S GUIDE TO HEROES AND HEROINES (Cowden, LaFever, Viders) gives an overview of sixteen archetypes. Once you have a general idea of the type of character you want, the next step is getting specific. Two excellent books are CREATING UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS (Linda Seger) and GOAL, MOTIVATION, CONFLICT (Debra Dixon). Seger’s book deals with defining your character, consistencies and paradoxes, creating back story, understanding character psychology, creating character relationships, writing dialogue. Dixon’s book deals with your character’s goal, motivation (the reasons why he/she must reach that goal), and conflict (both internal and external). Obstacles preventing your character reaching his/her goal creates conflict.

51gul6ggGHL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Lesson #2: Plot

Plot is the skeleton of the story. Dixon’s book can be used here because characters drive plot. The most helpful book I’ve found on structuring a book is THE SCREENWRITER’S WORKBOOK (Syd Field). Field discusses the story set up, plot points, pinches, climax, and resolution. He uses examples from famous movies.

Lesson #3: Free Advice

  1. Make yourself a master of the technical—grammar, spelling, punctuation. Editors love clean manuscripts, less work for them. Do NOT rely on grammar or spell check. The best computer is your brain. Do not rely on copyeditors. Chances are you know as much or more than they do. YOUR name is on the book, not theirs.
  2. Getting published requires talent, luck, and persistence. You know the old saying: Winners never quit and quitters never win.
  3. Never stop learning your craft.
  4. imagesYou will feel professional jealousy at one time or another. That’s a normal human emotion. Feel it. Let it go. Forget about it. Finish writing your damn book.
  5. Don’t pay too much attention to reviews. You’re never as good as your best review or as bad as your worst review.
  6. Expect setbacks and rejections. Develop a thick skin (easier said than done) because everyone is a critic.
  7. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER google your own name!!!

BEAUTY AND THE EARLPatricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon. 

OUR DEAL OF THE WEEK is Beauty and the Earl by Patricia Grasso. (Regency Romance)

GET IT FOR .99 CENTS RIGHT HERE AT LACHESIS PUBLISHING. THIS WEEK ONLY.

CLICK HERE TO BUY.

You can also buy it on amazon, kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

Enchanting the Duke by Patricia GrassoPatricia Grasso‘s latest release is Enchanting the Duke. You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon, BN nook, or kobo.

Connect with Patricia Grasso online on her web site and on facebook

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The right place to write by Joanna D’Angelo

Courtesy thestar.com

Courtesy thestar.com

We all have our favourite places to work, mine is at my desk during the day. Sometimes I will have music playing but usually I like nature sounds. I have a great app on my iphone that has various relaxing sounds and I will often listen to bird sounds while working. In the spring and summer I can open a window but in the winter I have my app. If I’m working at night I will usually work in bed just to be cozy and warm.

But sometimes, I love heading to one of my local coffee shops and just parking myself in a corner with a big cup of tea. Sometimes I’ll be quietly typing and discretely “listening in” on conversations, other times I’ll just gaze out the window or people watch. Hey, we’re writers – always looking for a story right? It turns out I’m not the only one who thinks coffee shops are great for writing. A study in 2012 found that writing in a coffee shop really does help with your creativity. Evidently it has to do something with the noise factor. If there is moderate ambient noise of about 70 decibels, it is conducive to creativity. Ha! Imagine that. Here’s the article from the Toronto Star about writing in coffee shops.

I guess where we choose to write depends on our moods and if we want to be around people. As writers we tend to work alone a lot and while sometimes that’s a wonderful thing, other times it can get – well – lonely. So being in a public place is a nice change. But no matter where we end up – the point is to be in an environment that helps our imagination flow and helps us get the work done.

Where do you like to write?

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea and writing in coffee shops.

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Filed under Books, craft of writing, writing craft, writing in coffee shops

What Inspires Your Writing? by Richard Blackburn (YA paranormal time travel author)

Today’s author guest blog is byDAWN OF THE SENTINEL COVER Lachesis Publishing author Richard Blackburn. Richard has written a three-book YA time travel/adventure series for Lachesis Publishing, called Guardians of the Gate, featuring a university student who travels back to Medieval England only to discover she has some amazing powers she never knew she had. Book 1 is Dawn of the Sentinel. Book 2, Return of the Sentinel, will be out soon.

What induced me to be a writer? I mentioned in my last submission to this blog, that my father was a great story teller. I remember one time I was sitting by the fire with my older brother and sister, listening to a scary story about a Bugane, the big, nasty creature that lives in the caves to the south of the Isle of Man. Nobody has seen one of these beasts and lived to tell the tale, but in winter storms you can hear it moaning as the wind whistles through the caves in the south of the Island. When it was time to go to bed, I was the youngest, so I had to go first. In those days, there were none of the modern light switches that let you switch it on downstairs and off upstairs. It was either on or off, and our family couldn’t afford to leave lights on. So I was the shivering little figure climbing the stairs on my own in the dark. And that’s when I heard the Bugane. It was on the landing above where my room was, shuffling along and muttering as it went. I was a scaredy-cat kid and I knew I was done for, but then I came over all cold. I clenched my fists and thought, uncharacteristically, ‘If I’m gone, I’ll do my best to take you with me.’ So I crept up the rest of the stairs and when the shuffling footsteps were just around the corner to me, I jumped out. ‘Yaaaa’ I shouted but immediately realized it was my grandmother. She was on her way to the bathroom, carrying a full bed pan. Well, I got into trouble for the wee on the wall and the wee on the ceiling, but she didn’t get into trouble for sounding like a Bugane and frightening me. That’s when I decided that if ever wrote stories, it wouldn’t always be the grown-ups who’d win! And it gave me an early insight into the power of story telling.

A few words about my writing: I’d been making up stories for my own children for years and later for my granddaughter. I didn’t consciously decide to become a writer. It was when I was making up yet another yarn that it came to me. I realized that this was the story I’d like to make into a book. The last fiction I had written was in school, forty years ago. I’d worked for the government for a long time and I wondered if this had crushed any writing skills I might have had before. So I took a short course in creative writing and was encouraged by my success. I’d been told never to have family members as beta readers but my daughters are very objective and my wife has never been reluctant to criticize me, so I asked them to read the first couple of chapters. I felt very vulnerable. This was from my heart and I felt if they hooted with laughter, I’d never lay finger on keyboard creatively again. But they were happy to be brutally honest and after I’d explained the meaning of ‘constructive’ criticism, we did well as a team. So, now I had a number of decisions to make. I’d invented the original story for children, but I lifted the age group slightly. The subject matter, then, had to be acceptable to teenagers. I personally don’t like swearing, so I was happy to keep that out of the book. I also know nothing at all about romance, so that was out as well. By this time I realized that these decisions had made the book more acceptable for school libraries. In Australia we have reading competitions in most states, and any book included in the reading list had a distinct advantage for sales. So I included this as part of my decision base for when I was mulling over the direction of the plot. Another decision concerned historical accuracy. My books are set in the first half of the fourteenth century, and things were a lot different then. I could either gloss over facts and concentrate on general description of the action, or put a lot of research into letting my readers see how things actually were. I’d even seen TV programs supposedly about these times, including phrases like, ‘I suppose it’s just not your cup of tea’ and the way Hollywood portrayed Henry VIII was hugely inaccurate. And I’d been around so many castles, I knew that forks were not used in England at that time, that potatoes, tomatoes and green beans hadn’t arrived from South America or pumpkin and turkeys from North America. I found out that the word ‘thug’ couldn’t be used because the Thuggi religion was only discovered in India in the late 1700s and that the Irish sheriff, Mr. Lynch, didn’t hang his own son without a trial until much later than the period I was interested in, thus making the word ‘lynched’ unusable. And, yes, it did take a lot longer to write the story, but I enjoyed the research. So those are a few of the factors I found I had to decide on my way to writing my first book.

And the rewards in writing: Before my first book was published, I was worried. What if people didn’t like it? I’d written a blurb that said how good the story was, but was that false pretenses? If people paid good money for my book and didn’t like it, I’d be devastated. I should have had more faith in my publisher, of course. It wouldn’t have gotten this far if it had been that bad. But I’m a worrier and didn’t think of that. Once my first book had been published, I started using my weekends to do book-signings. I had a vast poster made of the cover picture and on my table I set out my chainmail vest and helmet (my wife won’t trust me with a sword!) and copies of the book. I had a short blurb rehearsed for general enquiries (‘what’s the book about’) and a longer version for people who displayed more specific interest. I didn’t sit down but stood and smiled and said ‘hello’ to thousands of people. And it worked. And because I’d written the book the way I did, with no swearing, romance or sexual content, I’d had it (and eventually all three books) included in the New South Wales Premier’s Reading Challenge for high schools. This was a huge advantage in Australia. It was after the second book was published that I had people coming back for more. I was interviewed on TV and featured in newspapers quite a few times. I visited high schools and gave talks on writing, and this was incredibly rewarding. I was getting back far more than I’d put into it, not money wise (no way!) but in finding that I’d given people such enjoyment.

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Filed under Lachesis Publishing, PARANORMAL, TIME TRAVEL, writing, writing craft, writing your book, YA, YA PARANORMAL, YA Time Travel, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

What Inspires Your Writing by Lori Lapekes (contemporary romance author)

FOR A SHORT TIME COVEROur guest blogger today is Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes. Lori is the author of the Lachesis contemporary romance called For a Short Time about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

Our ongoing topic is What Inspires Your Writing – welcome Lori Lapekes . . .

Hmmm, where do I get my inspiration to write . . .

An inspiration from real life I’m a bit embarrassed to admit came from fictionalizing an old friend in order to, well, “fix” her somehow through much trial and error in the novel to make her a better person. Yet later I was terrified she’d read the novel one day and recognize herself, and I wasn’t sure how she’d take it.

During that time I happened to read the blog of another author, (a very popular author,) whose antagonist in his latest novel was a dragon of a woman who was not only inspired from someone he knew, but patterned directly after her. At a book signing party, he was horrified to see her arrive, book in hand, and march up to him. Certain he’d get a verbal tongue lashing and a threat to sue; he could barely stand to look at her as she stood above him.

Then, she grinned. Sincerely. And said it was a truly fantastic novel, and she particularly liked the witchy woman character . . . she was such a vivid character, where did he ever come up with her?

Hah!

I could imagine, very well, that author’s relief, as well as confusion, I’m sure! And I was no longer afraid that the real person behind the inspiration for my main character in For a Short Time would be toilet-papering my house or keying my car. She never did connect herself with the character in the novel, and even promoted it a bit for me on Facebook. To my relief, just as my character in the novel, she did turn out to be a much kinder, more empathetic woman in real life.

Another inspiration began with disturbing dreams; a recurring dream without an ending. The dreams were near-nightmares from a real life drama, and to have closure, I needed to write it out. That book became the college tear-jerker, The Gingerbread Boy, and its feel good sequel, The Cinnamon Girl.

And yet another time, while standing in line at an estate auction in the country to buy my items and leave, I became aware of a tall young man in front of me with flowing brown hair, wide shoulders over a blue flannelled shirt, and an easy smile. There was just something about this man. Perhaps it was the calm, sunny afternoon in the country blended with what seemed like an ancient wisdom and mystery in the young man’s eyes . . . and I had it. Just like that he became the main character in a novel that had been percolating in my mind for some time, but I’d needed more inspiration for the hero. That novel became Secrets of Catalpa Hall.

I’m now working on a funky new adult novel, something of a switch for me. The inspiration for this came from vividly recalling my own days out of college, and the odd bunch I roomed with. One roomie in particular actually sort of becomes the novel, but I’m certain she’ll never know, that was many moons ago. But I also believe it may be the most fun, whimsical story I’ve ever written, even if it has murder, mayhem . . . and a potential maniac nicknamed “Goggleman” as a main character!

Connect with Lori Lapekes on her web site and on facebook.

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Filed under CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, LOVE STORY, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS, writing, writing craft, writing your book

What inspires my writing? by Jessica Penot (paranormal author)

THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH COVERJessica Penot is here today to share what inspires her writing. Jessica is the author of the The Accidental Witch (paranormal with romantic elements) with Lachesis Publishing .

This is what New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione has to say about The Accidental Witch: “A delightful blend of dark and scary, and fun and snarky, The Accidental Witch was fabulous! Jessica Penot’s writing is so engaging and genuine, it was like hanging out with a good friend. Highly recommended!”

Jessica has also written a horror novel for Lachesis Publishing called Circe. Her books are scary and delve into the world of witchcraft but also the psychology of the human mind.

Here’s Jessica . . .

I was talking  to a sixth grade class a few weeks ago and one of the children asked me this question. This question is always the hardest for me because I find inspiration in everything.  I’m sure the children thought my answer was crazy because sometimes the most insane things inspire me.

One day I had just swept my porch and I wandered outside to get the mail. It was a cool day and my porch was meticulously clean and almost sterile looking. In the middle of the porch, directly in front of the door, I found a perfectly smooth, white stone. I picked up the stone and wrote one of my first horror short stories, The Stone Queen. It was published in Cthulhu Sex Magazine. It has always been little things like that stone that inspire me. A gentle breeze on a hot summer day can whisper of old ghosts. A strangely shaped shadow can inspire untold horrors.

Places often give birth to some of my best stories. The Chateau Larcher in France inspired my recent children’s book, The Monster Hunter’s Manual. Circe was inspired by Searcy State Hospital in Southern Alabama. The Accidental Witch was partly inspired by The Moody Brick in Northern Alabama. Sometimes my work inspires me.  As a counselor, I meet so many amazing people with lives that are rich in tragedy and beauty. Their faces are carefully hidden in many of my books and stories. In the end, it doesn’t take much to inspire me. The world is always amazing to me and every minute is another chance to find something beautiful and worth writing about.

You can buy The Accidental Witch right here at Lachesis Publishing

and on Amazon Kindle and where other books are sold.

Connect with Jessica online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Filed under Best-selling authors, Bestselling Authors, book reviews, PARANORMAL, PARANORMAL ROMANCE, ROMANTIC ELEMENTS, SENSUALITY, SEXUAL CONTENT, SUPERNATURAL, WITCHES, writing, writing craft, writing your book

What’s your writing routine?

clipartof.com

clipartof.com

Are you more productive in the morning? Or do you find writing late at night to be the best? Do you like to work in a busy coffee shop with lots of buzzing around you or do you need complete solitude? We all have different routines when working and sometimes it takes a while to find what works best for us.

At this stage in my life (at the ripe old age of 45.999999 . . . 😉 I find I’m more productive in the mornings. Especially at this time of year. It’s so much easier to get up early and get stuff done while it’s still quiet, and yet, the sun and light are out as well, keeping me company, so I feel energized. I get lots of work done in the mornings now. And generally do errands and other stuff in the early afternoon then more work in the late afternoon and early evening.

I used to be a night owl. I would stay up all night and work until the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I still do that – rarely – but I find it really affects me and it takes me a day or two to bounce back and get into my regular routine.

book-coverSpeaking of routines – I recently read this awesome book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhiig. In his book, Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed (for the better). It’s not a self-help book – he explores scientific research and cites examples of routines from corporate America to elite athletes –  but it will help you. So what does The Power of Habit have to do with our writing routines? So much! When I veer off my daily work routine, I don’t feel right. I don’t feel productive and I don’t feel “good inside”. Sticking to a positive work routine or any kind of routine or regimen keeps us focused and goal oriented. That’s important, because as writers, we constantly work on deadlines. Some of us need to have a cup of coffee in the morning or go for a walk after breakfast, or listen to some music. If it works to keep us productive and positive then it’s a good thing.

I found a great blog post from brainpickings.org that lists some famous writers talking about their writing routines. Here are a few of them:

Joan Didion: I need an hour alone before dinner, with a drink, to go over what I’ve done that day. I can’t do it late in the afternoon because I’m too close to it. Also, the drink helps. It removes me from the pages. So I spend this hour taking things out and putting other things in. Then I start the next day by redoing all of what I did the day before, following these evening notes. When I’m really working I don’t like to go out or have anybody to dinner, because then I lose the hour. If I don’t have the hour, and start the next day with just some bad pages and nowhere to go, I’m in low spirits. Another thing I need to do, when I’m near the end of the book, is sleep in the same room with it. That’s one reason I go home to Sacramento to finish things. Somehow the book doesn’t leave you when you’re asleep right next to it. In Sacramento nobody cares if I appear or not. I can just get up and start typing.

Jack Kerouac: The desk in the room, near the bed, with a good light, midnight till dawn, a drink when you get tired, preferably at home, but if you have no home, make a home out of your hotel room or motel room or pad: peace.

Simone de Beauvoir: I’m always in a hurry to get going, though in general I dislike starting the day. I first have tea and then, at about ten o’clock, I get under way and work until one. Then I see my friends and after that, at five o’clock, I go back to work and continue until nine. I have no difficulty in picking up the thread in the afternoon. When you leave, I’ll read the paper or perhaps go shopping. Most often it’s a pleasure to work.

Don DeLillo: I work in the morning at a manual typewriter. I do about four hours and then go running. This helps me shake off one world and enter another. Trees, birds, drizzle — it’s a nice kind of interlude. Then I work again, later afternoon, for two or three hours. Back into book time, which is transparent — you don’t know it’s passing. No snack food or coffee. No cigarettes — I stopped smoking a long time ago. The space is clear, the house is quiet. A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it. Looking out the window, reading random entries in the dictionary. To break the spell I look at a photograph of Borges, a great picture sent to me by the Irish writer Colm Tóín. The face of Borges against a dark background — Borges fierce, blind, his nostrils gaping, his skin stretched taut, his mouth amazingly vivid; his mouth looks painted; he’s like a shaman painted for visions, and the whole face has a kind of steely rapture. I’ve read Borges of course, although not nearly all of it, and I don’t know anything about the way he worked — but the photograph shows us a writer who did not waste time at the window or anywhere else. So I’ve tried to make him my guide out of lethargy and drift, into the otherworld of magic, art, and divination.

Ernest Hemingway: When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

So what kind of work routines or habits do you have to get things done?

Have a productive day!

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100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, being productive, and sticking to her daily routine.

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