Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Whips and Chains

Got your attention!

Sometimes I think I need something just as drastic to get my attention when it comes to the current WIP on my desk – actually I often have a few Works-in-Progress on my desk and rarely are they the same genre. I prefer to call the open files on my desk “projects” – the first time an editor said “WIP” I thought something kinky.

As a full-time freelance writer working from a home office one of my most difficult objectives has been discipline. While I have always been able to avoid complete writer’s block by switching writing assignments and sparking my creative juices while concentrating on an altogether different subject, that doesn’t help as much when I have a deadline looming over my head.

As a fiction writer I specialize in romantic suspense with a few forays into other genres. As a journalist I am apt to tackle a variety of subjects although it’s been a while since I covered hard news; depending on the publication I write about cars, gardens, business, fashion, medical issues, home improvement, healthy eating, emergency medical services and interview prominent people in industry. In simpler terms, I write about anything I can sell.

There are times, many times, when I get this terrific idea in my head for a new novel and I want to sit and get my words onto paper while it is still fresh. But that fashion article is due tomorrow and I have an interview set up with a local politician the day after, and I am in the middle of an editing job… There are nights I have fallen asleep on my desk because I just can’t escape the need to write my newest creation and there is no time to do it during the day.

Before you start recommending that I “schedule” my creative writing time, please understand that I am about as right brained as you can get. Organization stifles me! It is a challenge to keep my deadlines in order and thank goodness for the creation of Microsoft Outlook and reminders because I constantly lose my to-do lists in the mounds of paperwork shoved into the corners of my desk. I once made a list which set aside a specified amount of time to work (whatever combination that might be) with an allotted time to blog, submit invoices, check email and even write up the next day’s to-do list. I’ve bought shelving and folders and other devices for organizing my desk – AND IT DOESN’T WORK. I lost the organization list and every time I make room I find another stack of papers OR A CAT to occupy the new-found space.

I am constantly forming stories in my head and mentally writing scenes for a novel –while I drive, cook, do laundry or even while I am writing a non-fiction article. Since my office is only steps away from my bedroom the temptation to sit at my desk when I can’t sleep is often overwhelming and unavoidable. I frequently talk out loud while I shower or mumble in my sleep as I work out dialogue between characters. It’s a wonder that I haven’t been locked up – yet.

In snow country chains are used to improve traction on the road to get you to your destination; I need something to “improve my traction” – to paraphrase a little ditty hubby jokes around with – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but WIPS and chains excite me.”

I love my job.



Lindsay Townsend said...

Lovely article, Chelle!
And yes - it did get my attention!

I think all creative folks have to find the way that works best for them. With your published novels and career as a journalist, you have clearly found that 'best way of working'.

Chelle Cordero said...

thanks Lindsay. I was fighting with the cat for my mouse while I wrote that.

Savanna Kougar said...

Chelle, wow, my business is different, since I'm not a free lance writer... but, I certainly experience what you're going through.
Since my health doesn't cooperate anymore, I do have to be careful about how much I push myself, though.

Chelle Cordero said...

Hi Savanna,
There are times I do feel a bit overwhelmed with all the things I have to keep up with - fortunately I usually manage to ignore the oppressiveness with yet another list - I list the most important things I have to do immediately and get tremendous glee as I cross the completed items off. After I get a few things done and feel accomplished, and before I lose this list, I am usually back to my old self.

LK Hunsaker said...

Great blog! Now if I could just figure out how to use Outlook reminders. I have to stick with OE because O is to complicated. ;-)

OneNote is incredible, though, and even the disorganized right brain among us can use it.

Chelle Cordero said...

I've heard of OneNote and I think I've been afraid to explore it... ;>