Title Page, 1728 quarto edition of Lewis Theobald’s Double Falsehood (via Wikimedia Commons)
Could you lose a manuscript? Maybe your first novel, the one you wrote on now-obsolete word processing software, queried without success and put away in a drawer or a storage box under the bed?
Kay posted on Thursday about the upcoming release of Harper Lee’s novel Go Set A Watchman, almost 55 years after the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird. The ‘lost’ novel was actually Ms. Lee’s first book. It included flashbacks to the childhood of the protagonist, Scout, which Ms. Lee’s editor told her to take out and make into a separate story. She did, that book was published to great acclaim, and Go Set A Watchman was forgotten until Ms. Lee’s lawyer re-discovered it last September, clipped to the back of an early draft of TKAM.
A whole novel by a prize-winning author lying forgotten for more than fifty years is a great story. I assumed it was an unusual one, until Continue reading
Ernest Hemingway in late 1939. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Last Monday, my kids (finally!) went back to school. Since then, I’ve gotten back to the serious work of writing. By that, I mean quantifiable output and multiple, contiguous hours at the computer each day. Because I’ve been spending so much time on my book in this first week of “back to school,” I haven’t spent much time on my blog post.
I started thinking today about my daily work process:
- Up at 5:30, shower and dress, make the kids’ lunches and breakfast and pack up their backpacks, then out the door at 7 a.m. to shuttle them to school.
- Home by 8 and (ideally) at the computer by 8:15.
- I’ll work pretty steady until lunchtime, then it’s either a couple more hours of writing or tae kwon do.
- Once I pick up the kids, any semblance of writing goes out the window, although I have found that I can pre-plan scenes I need to write while my kids are in their own tae kwon do classes in the late afternoon.
While reflecting on my own schedule, I wondered what other writers do each day and was amazed at the variety, the consistency, and in some cases, the physical activity these famous writers engage in each day. You can read about them here.
What is your usual writing schedule?
“Nuh-uh. Go defrost the freezer, human.”
In some of the internet science fiction and fantasy groups I visit, there’s a certain kind of writerly procrastination known as “vacuuming the cat.” You know, when the thought of writing is so boring or scary or so something that any job looks better – making up the Christmas card list, or scrubbing the kitchen floor, or polishing the silver (never mind that it hasn’t been polished in 20 years, and could easily go another 20 years without being polished), or pre-emptively vacuuming the cat so the hair doesn’t get all over the sofa. The phrase is attributed to Jo Walton.
It’s not a new idea. This may be an apocryphal story, but rumor has it when a newspaperman asked Ernest Hemingway what he did before he started a new book, Hemingway supposedly replied, Continue reading