She Wrote Her Bestseller in Her Bedroom La-Z-Boy

She Wrote Her Bestseller in Her Bedroom La-Z-Boy

“I wrote The Hunger Games in a chair, like a La-Z-Boy chair, next to my bed. I had an office, but my kids sort of took it over”. ~Suzanne Collins

Today, August 10,2018,  Suzanne Collins celebrates her 56th birthday.  

Suzanne is a television writer and novelist, and is Amazon’s best selling author of all time. She’s best known for The Hunger Games Trilogy, but back in the day she wrote for children’s programs on Nickelodeon, including Clarissa Explains it All and Little Bear. 

Suzanne Collins Quote Picture Wrote in a La-Z-Boy Recliner

Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games in a corner of her bedroom. I can picture her intended writing space, her office – cluttered with craft supplies and game pieces and action figures and a dress-up bin in the corner. I see her quietly closing the door behind her, turning, and stepping gingerly as she maneuvers past those painful plastic bricks strewn on the floor. At her ergonomic office chair, she removes Baby Doll and friends, carefully placed for a recent tea party, and arranges them on floor beside her desk. She takes a seat, indulges in a deep calming breath, and spins the chair towards her desk. 

And gazes at her horizontal surface, hers, and every single square inch is buried under youthful projects and folly. That glitter will turn up in her paperwork for eternity, and there’s those missing socks. And who thought they could hide a C- paper here of all places?

Okay, I admit it. I’m describing my writing space, not Suzanne’s. I’ve never been to her place, and I expect she’s doesn’t have a glitter problem as serious as the mine is. But there it is. In-my-face visual evidence of the many competing priorities of my day. I’ll wager I’m not alone. I find it encouraging that people-way-ahead-of-me also slip away to a place of peace and quiet, where they can expel the mind clutter and get some words down. Suzanne Collins found a way and so will I. And so can you.

This post is the first in a little series about the logistics of writing. Where we write, how we get the words recorded, what tools we like to use – we each have a process. I’m going to share my thoughts and experiences; some worked, and some didn’t.  I’ll delve into the whys and the what-fors, I hope you find purpose in these posts, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

And now, off to find a space where I can get my creation groove back on track… 

Photo credit Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash and Suzanne Collins quote from www.brainyquote.com

Blogging  from A to Z ~The Letter L

Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter L

blogging from a to z 2018 logoFriday April 13, 2018 ~ The Letter L

 

This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.

I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, longer pieces and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon.  And yes, I’m working on a novel.

Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.

 

The Letter L

Learning

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”  ~ Henry Ford

Why I’ll never stop learning:

~ Research is fun. No, really, I get a kick out of tracking down, figuring out, and finally understanding something new to me.

~ Our world is in a constant state of change. And I hate to be left behind.

~ Readers can and will call me out on any inaccuracies.

~ Data!  I love data and information and compiling and comparing and concluding.

~ I want to keep my brain muscles fit and functional until I’m in the grave.

~ I’d like to appear slightly less ancient to those whippersnappers

~ Knowledge keeps my bullshit meter accurate.

~ And Mr. Henry Ford said it’ll keep me young.

I’m a lifelong learner. Are you?

Tomorrow, the letter  M …

 

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Blogging  from A to Z ~The Letter K

Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter K

blogging from a to z 2018 logoWednesday April 11, 2018 ~ The Letter K

 

This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.

I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon.  And yes, I’m working on a novel.

Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.

 

The Letter K

Keep

#WhatWasIThinking

You know when you look back at your last great idea and realize maybe it wasn’t? I admit to some absolutely horrible writing. You won’t see it, because it lives in my what was I thinking? file, not likely to see the light of day.

But I don’t throw those rejects out.

Even my very worst efforts get a second (or third) chance. I don’t delete or shred them; instead I place them somewhere quiet and unattended and wait.  Sometimes I wait months.  

Then I take another look. Anything salvageable in those pages? Perhaps an idea?  Or a character, setting or quirk I can use elsewhere?  That perfect turn of phrase, too good to shred? 

Anything worth saving I transfer to an appropriate location.  Please tell me I’m not the only one with folders populated with interesting vocabulary, or kernels of ideas, weird facts or half-written poems that might become something good someday.  Or that perfect turn of phrase that I just know will come in handy some day.

Though most of my work lives on my laptop, the cloud, the DVD backup, the hard drive backup….  okay, I should have written about backing up files on “B” day.  Just do it!

Anyhow…

The point is, most of my files are electronic, but I do have inspiration notebooks. There’s the one I carry around all the time, just in case. And I’ve got a bullet-journal-y book dedicated wholly to writing inspiration.  And recently I received a lovely creativity box in which I can save anything that motivates my muse. Just checked – the box right now contains a program from a British country fair. And I know why!  I should check that box more often!

Which reminds me – jotting down ideas is great, but not so effective if you never look at them again. Once I’ve written something down, my brain no longer feels the need to remember it.  So I have to remind myself to go take a peek now and then.

Back to the reject pile.  If, on second go-around, the piece appears to be beyond redemption, I hold on to it just a little longer.  As a low priority item, that little longer can be more than months. Then I take a look again.

Sometimes a bit of something-to-save appears.  Sometimes not.  If there really isn’t a single salvageable syllable, I ask the final question.

Will I be mortified if my family reads this after I’m dead an gone?  If yes, out it goes.  If not, then the poor little page gets saved.  So far, post-mortem mortification (see how I did that?)  hasn’t been an issue for me. I don’t discard my words.

Digital space is cheap and invisible, and maybe someday that piece will work.

What do you do with abandoned drafts?

#JustKeepIt

 

Tomorrow, the letter  L …

 

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Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter J

Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter J

blogging from a to z 2018 logoWednesday April 11, 2018 ~ The Letter J

 

This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.

I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon.  And yes, I’m working on a novel.

Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.

 

The Letter J

 

Joy

What do you say when people ask you why you write?

My response varies:

  • I’m just in it for the money (if you ask me if I’ve met J.K. Rowling or Stephen King)
  • Because all the other kids are doing it(that one’s for mom)
  • I feel an obligation to inform (well, never actually)
  • So many stories are trying to beat their way out of my brain (fellow authors get this)
  • Compulsion, obsession, passion, neurosis (sometimes they expect this one)
  • Joy

I write because it brings me joy.

I’ve always found joy in creating pictures and scenes and situations and stories with mere words.  I used to say “ever since I could hold a crayon”, but that sounds trite and I’d get funny looks.  Still, it’s true.

blogging a to z the letter jI’m the firstborn in a family with six (eight, but that’s another story) children. I often kept my brother and sisters out of mom’s hair with stories.  Stories that always included each of them, in one form or another.  I’d get the words on paper, then hand them the crayons, with instructions to illustrate their favorite parts. Thus getting them out of my hair as well. Then I’d go read  a book until it got too loud, or worse, too quiet, in there.  Forced to abandon my book, I’d huff over, we’d sit in a circle on the floor, cross-legged. And I’d  come up with another story.

Maybe I wasn’t feeling the joy back then, but as I grew older, I found escape from angst by putting it down in words.  Those stories often had unfortunate endings for whoever was causing me pain that particular day.

Then I found myself writing research papers and textbooks and training manuals. Normal people will not be able to understand how much I enjoyed that kind of work.  Taking a bunch of confusing stuff and then getting it down so that it was understandable –  what a sense of accomplishment!  I’ve always loved to teach – the light that shines in a pair of eyes when that one hard thing suddenly makes sense.  And I think that’s why I found joy in technical writing and nonfiction work.

I’ll admit to some warm fuzzies that came with recognition and renumeration.

Stories never stopped rattling around in my head. They just became more insistent when I allowed myself the time to pay attention; they now demand to see the light of day.  And when the words that flow cause others to see the same pictures and emotions and events that were before limited to my cranium, that brings me joy.

The bigger challenge these days is to make certain that the discipline of writing regularly doesn’t squish or bury or flatten my joy.  So far, so good.

Perhaps my answer from now on should be persistent joy.

 

Tomorrow, the letter K  …

 

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