Getting Cozy with Karen...
"Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire."
~ Arnold H. Glasow ~
As I write this month's column, fall has arrived in Denver. Our temperatures are dropping into a more moderate range. My air conditioner isn't running 24-7 in a valiant attempt to keep me from spontaneously combusting in my office chair. I even donned a pair of long pants recently!
For those who don't know me, this is the true sign of approaching winter in the Colorado Rockies. Think of me as a reverse Punxsutawny Phil. Instead of popping a head out of a Pennsylvania burrow to predict an early spring or six more weeks of winter weather, I actually begin to burrow into a few more clothes.at least, when I must appear in public.
I have been known to remain barefoot, in shorts and sundresses through an entire winter holed up in my office but that's a whole 'nother story!
Why are we discussing my weird internal temperatures and clothing preferences? These are my first signs that it's time to evaluate where I stand with my annual goal to start/write/finish a book. I tend to shed more than my clothes in the summer months, as do many of us with blossoming summer obligations, vacations, and kiddies underfoot, etc. The longer I'm in this business, the more I admire the authors who manage to stay focused through a blast of increased distraction and mayhem.
Have you ever wondered what others do to keep their creative fires burning in a steady glow all year long? I'm not necessarily talking about the occasional life-changing events that can rear up and slap you between the eyes, but the "life" that barrages your inspiration and motivation on a daily basis. I know some authors who are very good at quickly and effectively setting themselves on fire every day, rain, snow, sleet and the dead of night. [Hmmm, am I having an epiphany here? Maybe we should be taking another look at the postman's creed!] I also know writers who can be crippled by the simplest change in their schedule.
I tend to keep a steady fire burning by always thinking about writing, even if I don't have time to sit down at the computer whenever I want. Those pesky day jobs!! If I get enough non-writing days the fire builds so that, sooner or later, I have to make time to sit in front of the computer screen or go out of my mind. [Interestingly enough, going nuts means something completely different to my family now that I write murder and mayhem. ] But this is a general state of mind and I think most writers tend to walk around in their own worlds most of the time.
I have a few rituals that light my writing fires. I seldom write without flavored coffee, hot or iced, regular or decaf. None of my writing efforts reach this computer until I'm ready to send it on to critique partners. I have a special laptop just for my muse to frolic, undistracted, inside. She tends to burn brighter without email or games or instant messaging, silly thing! I read. That may sound like it means I'm not writing, but I've found that reading daily inspires me. I write some of my best stuff after reading because my muse is fed and feeling creative.
I could go on and on about how I feed the fire in my soul, but I'd like to step out of my column this month and learn what you do. [Okay, now I've got song lyrics stuck in my brain, "Come on, baby, light my fire!" ] I thought it might be fun to ask several questions here and invite anyone who's interested in responding to sign into my guest book and leave your answers there, kind of a loose poll to tempt the curious.
If you're interested in participating, pick one or more of the following questions and copy and paste it into the GUEST BOOK at the bottom of this HOME page.
As keeper of your own flame:
1. How much time do you actually spend writing each day? In conjunction with this question, do you hold a day job, take care of kiddies full time, etc.?
2. How do you stoke yourself each day so that you're fired up to write?
3. What kinds of tricks do you use inspire your muse?
4. How do you rediscover your joy in a project that's gone stale?
5. What outside resources do you use to inspire you?
I can hardly wait to see how you all set yourselves on fire!
What else is happening in my writing world?
September turned into a sluggish slog through obligations, I'm afraid, which is one of the reasons this month's column is about inspiration and keeping those writing fires burning. I'm looking forward to a month of renewed focus.
I did attend my writer's retreat weekend held every September by Colorado Romance Writers, my local chapter. I got some solid writing in that weekend wrapped in the inspirational energy of my friends and peers. The retreat, however, is never long enough. It would be wonderful to break away like that for up to two weeks or a month! I took pictures of everyone hard at work. You can find them on my website. Click on PHOTOS.
I'm conducting another "The 'W' Plot.or the Other White Meat for Plotters" online workshop in October for the folks at Hearts Through History. I'm really looking forward to it. I do find such inspiration from the students in my classes. The enthusiasm and creativity never cease to amaze me.
Also in October, I'm catering my local chapter's annual birthday bash and published author luncheon. It's the only way I get to host a party for all of my friends and peers without cleaning my house or paying for the food! We have a wonderful time getting together like this once a year.
As always, if you'd like to comment on this newsletter or anything else, please feel free to sign into my guest book at the bottom of this HOME page. Looking forward to hearing from you!
See you in November if you'd like to Get Cozy with Karen again. In the meantime, feel free to check out the rest of my website at your leisure.
Have a great month!
Plotting.Beauty or Beast?
First Print - savvyauthors.com blog, June, 2010
Born to Write
Colorado Romance Writers Romance in the Rockies newsletter - February, 2006
The Big Kids Clubhouse Secret Handshake.Finally!
Colorado Romance Writers Romance in the Rockies newsletter - August, 2006