What Supercharges Your Writing Enthusiasm?
As a children's author, I always have one foot in the land of fantasy and magic. I'm forever on the lookout for another exciting adventure for Topaz. He's my furry, four-legged hero with luminous eyes. Anything might ignite the next imaginative spark that launches Topaz on another remarkable journey of danger and discovery. That's why it's important to me to make a note of what inspires my writing and to practice it as often as necessary.
However, what works for me may not electrify your "little gray cells", if I may borrow a famous phrase from one of my favorite sleuths, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. But when you find out what tickles that imagination of yours, jot it down, for it may vanish as quickly as a dream upon awakening. This insight is one of the Magic Keys you'll want to keep handy for those times when your writing isn't going so well.
Here Are Few of Mine:
1. Practice. Although I write at home, I begin writing at about the same time every day. It's my job, and I take it seriously. My writing day is anywhere from six to eight hours long.
2. Work on more than one project at a time. Working on more than one story at a time or balancing writing with time spent on marketing stimulates my thinking process and keeps me from getting stale. It's always good to have more than one story in progress because I'm not starting from scratch when the first book is about ready to publish. Valuable time may be saved by doing it this way, and I find it inspiring to alternate between two stories. When I hit a blank wall with one story-line, I can work on the other. I may be several chapters into a second book by the time I finish the first book.
3. Exercise. A morning walk or some other form of exercise is good for the brain as well as the body. And, there's no telling who or what I may encounter that will trigger an intriguing new twist to my story.
4. Begin a conversation with your characters. When I'm stuck for a new plot or I'm in need of a dilemma for a new book, I will sometimes list the names of all of my characters on a page and then begin a conversation amongst them. Since most of my characters are the same, book after book, this method usually works well. When it doesn't, there's always number 5.
5. Talk to a friend or a neighbor. Better yet, talk to the ten-year-old boy down the street. A few days ago my neighbor Jan a retired school teacher, came up with a wonderfully fascinating idea for a plot for my next book.
6. Read something every day. I love to read. At the moment, I'm reading a series written by Peter Tremayne. These are fictional mysteries that take place in Ireland in the seventh century. I'm also reading 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson. Wilson's book is an enthralling, middle-grade adventure fantasy about a twelve-year-old boy who accidentally discovers mysterious cupboards, each door a portal into another world. When I need a big dose of inspiration, I read from a tattered little poetry book I had as a child. The book contains poems about trees, fairies, sprites, dragons, puffins, pirates, and much more.
7. Take a nap! I would sometimes prefer to work through the entire eight-hour day, eating lunch at the computer. However, my mind, as well as my body, have other priorities. Try as I may to get around it, I need a one-hour afternoon nap, something I never did as a child.
One Final Note:
I believe writing is a discipline. It's something I must work at on a daily basis. Whether it's working on marketing or writing my next middle-grade chapter book, writing is always a part of my daily routine. Not to write is unthinkable. I've had layoffs from writing, like the time I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder. When I began to write again, it was a bit of a struggle to get back into the rhythm of my previous routine. My point is -as long as I stay disciplined, I am inspired to write. It's the discipline that keeps my inspiration alive.
So, now that you know my Seven Magic Keys and how they keep me writing, tell me some of yours.