You’re all set up to write. You’ve installed the software, you know your idea, it’s time to put pen to paper (literally or figuratively, depending if you prefer pen or keyboard).
This issue of Behind the Scenes is more subjective, because that’s what writing is. It’s a lonesome journey of expression, of storytelling, where you should be just as transported to another world as your reader expects to be. I’ve always thought that if you needed to work hard at putting those thoughts down on paper, it’s not right. It should flow easily off your fingertips. I’m an emotive writer, so whatever comes out of my head is what is on paper. If I find myself struggling to get another page or two down, I know I’m not only wasting my time, I’m also wasting the readers’ time and interest. That’s when I stop and just walk away. When I can’t find any more inspiration, it’s time to take a break. Writing comes from inspiration, you’re either in the zone or you’re not. For The Magic Forest series, I wrote 11 books in three weeks. Sure, they were just rough drafts that needed much work but the foundation of each book was down. What I felt I had to say got out and the writing poured itself onto the paper. That’s when you know it’s good. For me, when it’s not coming from a logical place, but feels more like a river pouring itself out onto the screen, then I know I’m in the right zone.
The Magic Forest series is about the daily things children come across, questions they may have, all in a magical, glorious forest within a child’s imagination. This is my genre, and with two young children at home, it’s important that I stay in that world. While she hasn’t made her debut yet, Fiona the Fairy features heavily in the future books. I stumbled upon a company that makes Fairy Doors, and they have a wide variety of accessories for every imagination. The only word I could come up with for it all is “adorbs!!” Seriously way too cute. Click on the picture to see the detailed work. What started as a sweet idea for my daughter (we put our first set at the top of the stairs), moved onto her needing another door for her bedroom so that the fairies would watch over her dreams. Then we moved onto me admitting that I thought this was the cutest thing ever and made a little village in my office. These are made by The Irish Door Company who are prepared to take your little one (or you, admit it!) on a wonderful ride. Here’s their Facebook page too. My daughter is so enamored that she’s told everyone she meets, including random strangers in every restaurant we go to, that she has real life fairies living in her house. I’m then asked for my phone so she can show them the pictures and it’s frequently led to the people taking down the information of the company or simply finding them on Amazon straight away.
I also like to surround myself with other tidbits to keep me in the mood. I keep a board of my characters so I can keep in touch with what I’ve done already. I can look and grab the sense of each character quickly. I like to be comfortable so I have my music blasting, relaxing diffusing oils wafting through the air, and my trusty cup of Barry’s Tea. I only ever get 2.5 hours free to myself every day while my youngest is in preschool so my time is very, very limited. That’s the only time I have to devote to this. Next year, he’ll begin kindergarten so I’ll have way more time and things will move a lot faster (who-hoo!!!).
My darling daughter also likes to write me notes and I keep them around my desk to keep me tied to her, and her never-ending energy, her incredible spirit and to ground me in the world I write for. Told you this would be a subjective post, but that’s what writing is. It’s personal, it’s unique to you. You need to surround yourself with what matters most to you and the world you are creating on paper. If you don’t find it interesting, neither will a reader. If you struggle with the words on the paper, walk away for a while until your mind changes focus and the words can flow again.
Essentially, give yourself the best possible environment for success. Keep grounded in your world, whatever it may be, don’t force anything, let your mind flow. Editing and correcting comes later. Perfection is never achieved on the first write. It’s more important to get the guts of it written and you can add finesse later. It should never feel like a chore. You should enjoy it, feel invigorated by it, relieved when things are out there, and proud that you have put it all together. It’s a process, one that can’t be rushed, but the emotional rewards are worth it. And who knows? Maybe others will enjoy your journey too! 😀