Friday, June 26, 2015

On Writing and Inspiration. A Guest Post with Rachelle Rea

Recently someone asked me a two-fold question: am I a morning or a late-night person, and how do I stay inspired? Well, then, that's a loaded one. :)

To the first half, neither! On the one hand, I enjoy writing in the mornings because I feel productive; there's nothing quite like living the rest of my day with the knowledge that I wrote a chapter that morning. But I also enjoy writing late at night because I'm trying to keep my eyes open at the same time as my heart is pumping with the excitement of whatever scene I'm in. It's exhilarating.

But I'm neither an early bird or a night owl right now. At this stage in life, I write during my lunch hour at work.

The latter half of the question, though, is even more complicated. Right this very second, I'm inspired. I'm excited to be guest posting on the Writer's Alley, a writing blog I've loved for years. Outside my office window, a thunderstorm is shaking the forest. But, to be honest I'm not always inspired. I know, I know, surprised, right? :)

In answer to that question, I said, I write. Or I don't. Sometimes when a scene idea pops into my head, I write it down right then. In chapter form, on the back of a napkin, or in a note on my new Iphone. I sometimes let it simmer for a while.

Or I don't. Sometimes when I'm not feeling particularly like writing but it's my designated writing time, I tell myself to take a break.

That's right. I tell myself to take a break. To not use that writing time for writing, after all. I don't write.

That's not to say I don't make myself write every time I don't feel inclined to do so. Skipped writing sessions pile up on one another like the raindrops plopping onto the sidewalk outside my office window right now, until suddenly I could be staring at a puddle of a month gone by with no words written. That's not good.

But neither is always forcing myself to produce words, I've found. That may work beautifully for some (I commend you), but I've discovered I'm a healthier person when I realize the artist, the wordsmith, in me needs room to breathe.

Sometimes I don't make myself write on my lunch break. Other times I let myself stay up until 2am to finish writing a chapter just to see how the scene will end. It's like the rain: sometimes the clouds roll in when I least expect them; other times there appears to be a slight drought.

But eventually it rains again, all is drenched, and I'm writing The End again.

When I was in college, I had more of a structured schedule because I knew when classes began and ended. Perhaps one day I will return to that same sort of predictability. For now I'm settling into a world where my novel is on shelves--it's new and exciting. So I write. Or I don't. I'm learning to give myself grace and take a break...

How about you? When during the day do you write? How do you stay inspired? Do you ever give yourself permission to take a break?

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she's lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote the Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.


kaybee said...

Rachelle, this is good. I CAN'T stick to a schedule right now, 500 words a day or whatever, because my day job and family life are so chaotic. But I have long-term goals and try to do something for my writing every day. I don't beat myself up if I miss it, but get back on the wagon as soon as I can. We need to know ourselves and know when we need to breathe.
Kathy Bailey

Julia M. Reffner said...

I like that you talk about sticking to writing even when life brings changes in schedule. This is a freeing thought. Great post, Rachelle!

Rachelle Rea Cobb said...

Great mindset, Kathy. Keep at it! :)

Julia, definitely took me a while to see the freedom in it rather than seeing it as a drawback. ;) Thank you!

Casey said...

So glad to have you here, Rachelle! It has been so much fun to follow you on your journey of publication. Can't wait to see where this all takes you, friend!

Rachelle Rea Cobb said...

Thank you so much, Casey! Really glad to be here. :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

My schedule is all about flexibility. When I'm on a deadline, I break the word count down into daily bites. Then, I write more than I need. This way, if life gets crazy, I have a built-in cushion. It saves a lot of stress and allows me to relax during those times.

My favorite time to write is the early morning. Unfortunately, squeezing in a half hour is all I can manage at this point. Most of my writing takes place in the evening.

Rachelle Rea Cobb said...

Having a cushion allows for so much more deep breathing. :) Great idea Susan!