Category : Wednesday Writer’s Workspace

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Frankie Picasso, author of Midlife Mojo: How to get through the midlife crisis and emerge as your true self Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

midlife mojo Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

 

 

Welcome, Frankie!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

momandbongo modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

 Author Frankie Picasso and Bongo

 

I am a Gemini and as such, I like to be involved in many things, with the emphasis on Many! I have worked in many different fields, everything from a Private investigator to managing a 12 X World Kickboxing Champion. I am also the first Professional female Kickboxing Promoter in the World.

Today I am an author, a Certified Metaphysical Hypnotherapist, a Master Coach Trainer and an instructor in both modalities. I also work as an Intuitive therapist, Animal communicator and Energy healer.

I am moving away from a ‘one on one’ practice to focus on reaching a larger audience.  I will always be a Coach, I believe it is in my DNA, however I am very excited to be working on a large project that is both challenging and rewarding at the same time. I have started to build  a Humanitarian Radio Station that will help people around the world in a very tangible way. I cannot say too much more about this at the moment but I am hoping to unveil The Good Radio Network to the world by my birthday in June!

image007 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

I am an Contemporary artist and an advocate for a Socially conscious planet and every piece of art I sell, ( which is featured on http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/frankie-picasso.html) helps a child receive Cleft Palate surgery through Mercy Ships Canada. For me, this is a real WIN /WIN, a 45 minute surgery that will change the life of a child forever. Once the surgery is completed, the child is able to eat and drink without any restrictions and best of all, both the child and family are no longer ostracized by their community. They are accepted back into the fold and this is a big relief for the mothers. What many people don’t know is that a child born with cleft palate is often malnourished as it is difficult for them to get nutrients from food. They find it difficult to eat and drink- both taking it in and keeping food down. I love how this ‘fix’  is so immediate.

Both of my books have been written for the self help genre, but last year I joined the NANOWRIMO movement and started to write a fictional novel during that month. It was a great start to a good story that I do intend to finish. Once completed it will be available under the paranormal romance section of Amazon. It is titled Bearly Human!

Things I love to do..-I am a drumher-(female drummer) and I love to play Funk and Soul music. I am passionate about art and love to go to small interesting galleries. I also love the movies and reading books, hanging out with dogs at the dog park and listening to my husband sing and play his guitar to me every night. I especially love to hang out with my grown kids and their partners. Those are the best nights ever. My kids are so funny and the next day, my ribs and stomach usually hurt from laughing so hard.

meandkids modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

 Frankie and her beautiful children

One hidden talent I have is animal communication. I talk to animals of all kinds. It’s like being Dr. Doolittle.:)

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I write in my office which is an open space upstairs in my log home.

 

our home modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

 Frankie’s log home

My husband purchased a very expensive and lovely desk for me from a beautiful furniture store in Kitchener. It is Mandarin style and I just fell in love with it. I have enclosed a photo of my workspace. You will notice a book shelf next to my desk. Every book in there represents an interview I had with the author over the years, through several of my previous radio shows. My desk faces a window so when I look up, I see the sky and treetops. Nature surrounds me here and I love it.

Frankie 2 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

  Frankie’s Workspace

2.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I need to have pretty notebooks and a jar of pens. I don’t know why but they inspire me. I need to be surrounded by books and art and I like an esthetically pleasing workspace. However  when things get a bit messy I find it helps me to get creative. I also need it to be very quiet when I write. My most productive time is around 5 am.

 

3.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

What I love most about my workspace is my HUGE computer screen, my wireless keyboard and my super comfy leather swivel chair.

 

4. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

In the morning it’s coffee for sure, but I like to alternate hot and cold. So Coffee, herbal tea, Sprite Zero and even water all make an appearance throughout the writing sessions.

mybike Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

 

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I have SO many favorite authors, it’s hard to choose just one. I tend to devour them once discovered. I love Ted Dekker, Jodi Piccoult, Elizabeth Naughton and JR Ward aka Jessica Bird.

I would say that my Mother encouraged me to write. She was a great writer and poet but it was my 8th grade Literature teacher Ms. Laughton who was the real inspiration. No one ever wrote well enough in her class to inspire a grade over a C. For some reason I took this as a personal challenge and I fought her throughout that year  for a better grade. I believed I could write and she kept after me to do better. I respected her, loved her and hated her all at the same time. I used to ask her, “Who do you want me to be,  Pearl Buck or something?. The first time I received an A in her class, I felt like I had won the lottery. Actually I felt like I was a real author because her standards were so high.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I wouldn’t say that I have any writing rituals but I do prescribe to automatic writing when I feel there is a block. I need my coffee there, the lights out and the house quiet.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I don’t write a book daily but I do write every day. It might be song lyrics or articles for several online companies like Blogsvertise or Article Marketer. I like to think  this keeps my skills sharp. I also write for Ezine Articles.

I probably only write about an hour or two daily but when I am working on a project it can be 6 hours at a time. I tend to get a lot of pain in my hips if I sit to long. That is when I call it quits for the day.

One of my biggest distractions is that I live in an open concept home. So if my husband decides to watch TV or play his guitar, I don’t have a door I can shut to filter noise. I have to do that for myself. Also Bongo my Golden Retriever will come up and start to fuss when he wants to go out and play.

 happybongo modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Frankie Picasso

 Bongo

 

4. Why do you write?

Writing is something that is just a part of me. It’s like breathing. I love how it feels to let my fingers fly across the keyboard and allow my thoughts to take form. I love books and it’s so cool to be a contributor as well as a reader. I like being able to help people or entertain them and writing helps give precision to my voice.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I think that it is very easy to get bogged down with  minutiae when beginning a writing project. My technique is to write everything down first and then go back to edit. One sentence can take up 4 hours sometimes. It’s difficult to write and finish that way.

When people ask for advice on how to write a self help book this is what I tell them.  It’s a pretty easy method for anyone and it doesn’t even  matter what order the chapters are written in as long as this method is adhered too. First, you make a blueprint for the book. Write down what the book is about and who the audience is or who you feel needs to read your book. This is important because when you begin to write, think about these folks and what it is you want them to know. Plus with their face in front of you when you write, it will inspire you to keep at it. It is also much easier to market your book to a specific group than to EVERYONE..

Next, make a list of all the information you want to make sure goes into the book. Organize that info into big headers that become temporary chapter names. Then for Each chapter, give 15 points that need to go into it. For every point, write 3 sentences and voila, you have a book!

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Frankie!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

41 total views, 40 views today

 

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Viva Barkowski

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Viva Barkowski, author of A TWIST OF HATE, slated for release in 2015.

Welcome, Viva!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

 

WW Author Pic Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Viva Barkowski

Author Viva Bartowski

 

Although a native Californian, I currently live in New England where I work full-time as a writer/editor. I have several published short stories, and my novel, A TWIST OF HATE, will be released in June 2015 by Gale Cengage/Five Star.

I write psychological thrillers. Unlike “big” thrillers, a psychological thriller delivers the excitement via the emotional states and psyches of the characters rather than action.

Oh, and if I have a hidden talent, it’s so hidden even I don’t know about it.

 

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I always write at my desk, although as I mentioned, I edit on the move. Give me a clipboard and a red pen, and I’m good to go.

 WW Workspace 1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Viva Barkowski

 

What you can’t see in photo 1 is that my office space is in my kitchen. So here’s another:

WW Workspace 2 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Viva Barkowski

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

The desk was a gift. At the time, I was disappointed because it was so very small, but now that I live in 530 sq/ft, I appreciate the size. My workspace is relatively Spartan. I don’t have enough room for clutter, so arranging the space wasn’t an option. Things fit where they fit.

Writing is editing, and I usually edit on hardcopy with a red pen rather than at the computer. Sometimes I edit first thing in the morning while I’m still in bed—I call this BEDiting.  Other times I settle on the chaise in my miniscule living room where I can see out to the garden. Because I live right off the harbor, my favorite place to edit is sitting at the water’s edge—weather permitting. Following are a couple photos of my favorite editing spots:

WW EditingSpotHarbor Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Viva Barkowski

 

 

 

WW EditingSpotChaise Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Viva Barkowski

 

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

A notepad, a copyholder, and near my desk, an Ikea Samtid lamp. I owned five Samtids before I moved but was only able to bring two with me. I also keep three crystals tucked under my monitor. One was a gift from my best friend. The other two were given to me by Salem witches. Since my current WIP is about a Salem witch, I keep them nearby for luck

The chest of drawers I use as a storage cabinet. It sits to the right of my desk and holds both my printers. It’s a cheapie my parents bought secondhand a zillion years ago for my older brothers’ bedroom. I don’t remember what color it was at the time. When my brothers moved out, I inherited their room and furniture. I painted the chest pink and white and stuck purple flower decals all over it. In my teens, I painted it a more subtle cream and brown and changed out the painted wooden knobs for white and gold. Fast-forward ten years to my first house. I stripped the paint, stained the chest bleached pearl, added new knobs, and stuck it in my Southwest-inspired guestroom. The chest journeyed with me unchanged to several states and multiple houses—until I moved to Atlanta and decided to use it for office supplies. I painted the chest black and replaced the knobs with brushed stainless drawer pulls. I’m not a hoarder, so this chest is one of very few items I have left from childhood. It holds many memories along with a truckload of office supplies.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Since my desk is in the kitchen, I can wheel my chair to the refrigerator and retrieve a beverage without ever having to stand. I mean, seriously, how cool is that?

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Water. Either filtered plain water or Sparkling Ice spring water. I don’t drink coffee, and while I do drink alcohol, I don’t drink while I’m writing. I’ve tried Hemingway’s “write drunk, edit sober.” Doesn’t work for me, although there are days I wish it did.

 WW FavoritePic Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Viva Barkowski

With my pup, d’Artagnan—better known as d’Arty

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I read widely and admire many authors, it’s impossible to name just one. As far as inspiration, I think Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine (excluding her Wexford novels) were most instrumental in nudging me toward psychological thrillers. I may be atypical in that most of my favorite writers don’t write my genre.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

No rituals, but I prefer editing during the day and writing at night—usually between 9 pm and 4 am. I got in the habit of writing during the wee hours back when seemingly everyone in my coastal California subdivision decided to replace their siding the same year. The pounding nearly drove me crazy. I discovered that I loved writing in the absolute quiet with everyone around me asleep. I often get up early and edit, then take a nap in the afternoon so I can stay awake at night and write.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I write OR edit everyday, and while I try to put in a minimum of three hours, it’s usually eight to ten with three hours of output. *laughing* Email and Facebook are my biggest distractions.

 

4. Why do you write?

I’ve always written. And while I am free to choose whether to seek publication or to write for myself, I can’t choose NOT to write. Writing is part of who I am.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Decide what you want from writing. If your primary goal is to be published, I don’t care what anyone tells you, it’s not all about the writing. Don’t let others make you feel guilty about writing for the market. That said, if you do choose this path, be savvy and do your research first. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be published, be proud of your goal.

 If, on the other hand, you’re like me, and you write because you want to express feelings, emotion, and themes through story, and publication is important, but not at the expense of telling yourstory, then write what you feel. Write what only you can write. Writing is your art. Don’t forfeit your one chance to tell the story that only you can tell.

 

My favorite quote would is considered blasphemy by most writers, and I have no idea who actually said it, but here it is: “Write like no one is reading.”

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Viva!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

444 total views, 33 views today

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Nancy Ellen Dodd, author of THE WRITER’S COMPASS.

The Writers Compass Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

 

Welcome, Nancy!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Nancy Dodd modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

 

Author Nancy Ellen Dodd

My day job is academic editor of a peer-reviewed online journal at the Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University. As one professor told her students, I’m the one who edits the faculty. I also teach advanced screenwriting at Pepperdine in the Spring.

I’ve been trained in most forms of writing–novels, screenplays, plays, short stories, etc.–except poetry, but I dabble with writing poems anyway. My favorite form and genre is whatever I’m writing in at the time I’m asked. I’m currently finishing the final edits on a YA/Crossover novel that I started as a short story 22 years ago.

Other than writing, I love reading or listening to audiobooks, watching movies or good TV, camping near the ocean or up in Yosemite near a stream. I also enjoy various forms of sewing, knitting, crocheting. A few years ago I had breast cancer and knitted something like 5 sweaters while I was recovering. Something I especially enjoy, but rarely do, is making wedding veils.

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I used to write in my bed, after all in bed is where dreams happen. I have a very large bed and I could spread materials out. I don’t write in bed as often now because I have a better space.

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk is a large dining room table that was my mother’s. For years it was taken apart and sitting in the garage. I dreamed of one day having a place to set it up and use it as my writing space. When we moved, I discovered I had enough room to set it up in my bedroom. I took it from storage and set it up by myself, which was quite a feat. It has 3 additional leaves I don’t have room to add. The table is under a large window that looks out to our community condo courtyard and then beyond to the homes and trees on the hills of our neighborhood.

work space modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

Nancy’s Workspace

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I’m embarrassed to stay stacks and stacks of clutter and papers and receipts, which need to be filed or trashed are hidden behind a very large monitor, plus a printer and miscellaneous other items.

Clara modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

 

Clara nutcracker

I have several bookcases in my room. I also love nutcrackers and I have a Clara nutcracker under a picture that says “Dream” and I have a 5-foot nutcracker in my room that she is dreaming about.

5 foot nutcracker modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

5-Foot Tall Nutcracker

I have a whole collection of nutcrackers I put out at Christmas with some inexpensive trains my granddaughter and I love to run. I also have a collection of fairy tale books and other books I find inspiring, lots of music on CDs and cassettes and of course a huge selection of my devotional books. Also important to me are my “story boxes,” which are colorful boxes I keep all the materials relating to a specific story inside.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Most of my favorite objects are on the bookshelves behind me or scattered through the room.

behind desk modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

In my workspace I have a blue enamel tin cup, like one you might use while camping, that a former writer’s group member bought me that he identified with in a story I wrote as a TV pilot. I also have other items from various productions or that friends have given me related to my writing.

objects modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Nancy Ellen Dodd

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

My favorite drink is freshly brewed hot tea, especially lapsang souchong, but a good cup of Earl Gray or Lady Earl Gray or…

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

There are so many authors I like in many different genres. I really enjoy Lee Child, J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Dashiell Hammett, Clive Cussler, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Austen, Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, and many others.

I don’t know who inspired me to write. I’ve always told stories to myself and at one point I started writing them down.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

For a long time I have had a devotional with a prayer time and Bible or inspirational reading time before I write. Then I try to write for a couple of hours before I get up and go to work. I learned some time ago that it was easy to allow other things to interrupt my creative time and if they did, then my writing time for the day would be gone.

I recently realized I had a new ritual, which has to do with digitizing my audiobooks from cassettes so I can listen to them again. I set up the audio editor and push the play buttons and then save the file and turn the cassette over and repeat. I didn’t realize this was a ritual until one day when I started to write I automatically turned around to setup the tape player first. It was like I had to do that to start.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write everyday. When I’m at the end of the project I might write several hours a day. My daughter and 7-year-old granddaughter live with me and when I am at a part where I need several uninterrupted hours, they will take a trip somewhere so I can have privacy.

My biggest distractions currently are checking email, or rankings, looking at the newest deal on audible.com, and of course my kids calling me or my granddaughter coming in to ask me a question.

Another distraction is that I develop and teach online courses and I give a number of workshops to writer’s groups and at conferences, so sometimes my writing time is the only time I have to prepare or give notes to my students.

 

4. Why do you write?

I try at least once a year to give up writing, but I always go back to it. Although I’ve written off and on for decades, in May 1998 I started praying that God would help me to take the steps to lead me to fulfill my purpose in life. Two weeks later I was given a ticket to go to a writer’s conference in Mendocino that I otherwise would not have been able to afford. At that conference I went to two workshops given by a screenwriter who taught at USC. I told him I wanted to learn from him. He told me I would need to be at USC in the master’s of Professional Writing Program and to let him know if I wanted to go. At the time, I didn’t even have my bachelor’s degree. Through a series of events, a few months later I found myself finishing my bachelor’s at Cal-State, Bakersfield, during the same semester I was starting my master’s degree at USC in Los Angeles. While at USC I also earned an MFA in playwriting. Since then I’ve come to believe that in part, God’s plan for me is to teach and to write, both of which I love doing.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I tell my students that the most important thing to know about writing is to never let anyone talk you into cutting what your gut tells you to keep–until you know why you wrote it. Sometimes it is the most important part of your story and without it you don’t want to keep writing that story. You have to dig deeper and become naked on the page until you figure out why you wrote that bit or scene and how to show it. Sometimes it leads to some of the best writing in your story.

For example, the YA I’m finishing I thought I’d completed 6 months ago. When I gave it to other writers to read, I got very different opinions. One of them suggested major cuts. After I got up from my pity party, I went back to the method I teach in my book, The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages, to create a new story map to look at my story again. What I learned was that I started the story in the wrong place and from the wrong POV. I cut 220 pages and then cherry-picked the parts I wanted to keep. I totally reorganized the content and retold it in multiple POVs. One of the people who wanted me to cut so much just told me how much better it was and that she was glad I’d cut certain things, it made her like the main character so much more. She was very surprised to learn I hadn’t cut those sections at all, I told the same story in a different order and multiple POVs, which had totally changed her perception of the story.

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Nancy!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

370 total views, 4 views today

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Allison

 

 

through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Allison, author of that fun blog Geek Banter.

Welcome, Allison!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

alli modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Allison

 

Allison

I’m a Canadian, a Christian, and a huge geek. I love all things sci-fi and fantasy, video games, board games, movies, TV shows, and books. I’m a graphic designer by day and a writer by night (which is a little unfortunate for my writing because my brain’s creativity peaks in the morning and early afternoon).

I love writing sci-fi and fantasy. For work, I’ve also written news stories and done copywriting. Other hobbies of mine include painting, snowboarding, and the occasional putting on face paint and airsoft gear to run around the forest playing capture the flag (actually I’ve only done that a couple times, but it’s pretty fun).

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I either do it at my computer desk on my desktop or in my living room on my laptop. If I’m story writing, I do it on Scrivener, because that program is awesome.

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

No unique history for my desk… I picked it up at Canadian Tire! I needed something small to fit into the tiny bedroom I had at the time, and it was just right. Now I have a separate room for an office in my house, and it’s nice to have that space.

 

desk modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Allison

Allison’s Workspace

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work? What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I usually always have a notebook and pen in front of me to scribble ideas down in (or to look at my previous scribbles), and a cup with pens and highlighters nearby. I also have an awesome Portal picture hanging on the wall that I got at a con framed and signed by the artist. And sometimes Commander Shepherd sits on my desk and makes sure I get my work done.

 

4. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I often just forget to drink water and get dehydrated, so I try to keep water around. And I enjoy the occasional cup of tea.

 IMG 2636 copy modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Allison

 

 

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Aaaghh just one? I’ve gotta list a few: J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Diana Wynne Jones, Veronica Roth, Robert Jordan, Orson Scott Card. They’ve all been inspirations.

None of my family or close friends are passionate about writing so I feel like I’ve had to forge ahead on my own most of the time, but I’ve really appreciated my dad especially just for encouraging me. He’s always been excited that I love to write and enjoys brainstorming ideas and plots with me.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Step 1: Procrastinate.

Step 2: Force myself to sit down at my computer.

Step 3: Feel intimidated and like I won’t be able to come up with anything good, even though I always manage to get words down on the page once I start and I KNOW this.

Step 4: Get words down on the page.

Step 5: Keep writing, whether I think it is good or garbage.

Step 6: Let myself feel accomplished, whether I’ve written 100 or 1000 words during my writing session; every word counts and is part of the process.

Step 7: Repeat from Step 1 for next writing session.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write every day, though lately the writing has not been on my novel in progress and has been for my second job, which is copywriting for a geeky website. I am also currently working on a graphic novel with a friend who’s an artist, which I’m pretty excited about!

 

4. Why do you write?

I’ve always liked writing and stories, ever since I can remember. There’s just something about creating worlds and characters that is so much fun!

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

“When in doubt, blow something up.” I do not recommend applying this advice to your life, just to writing icon wink Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Allison

Thanks for having me, Nutschell!

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Allison!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

195 total views, 2 views today

 

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Trisha F, author of that fun blog Word + Stuff.

Welcome, Trisha!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

ww trishaprofile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.

 

Trisha F.

I’m a 33 year old librarian living in Western Australia (on the coast, yay!).

I have written novels (or parts of novels) in various genres so far: contemporary, paranormal, sci-fi, sci-fantasy, and fantasy. Some are a bit hard to classify … which is why I have difficulty writing queries/blurbs.

Other hobbies and interests include writing music, and playing it (guitar/singing). I also love reading (duh!), and drawing/painting/etc. As for hidden talents, I don’t think there are any that I’ve kept hidden knowingly. At least not from the blogging world …

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I write at my “terminal” which is a stand-up terminal. I write on my laptop using Scrivener.

ww writingspace modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.Trisha’s Workspace

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

I don’t have a desk, but that’s okay – I have read in a few places that standing up instead of sitting at a computer is a lot better for your health. I do sort of miss having a bigger work area, but space is of the essence in my 1-bedroom villa. icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I don’t really need anything around me when I work, except water! Must have water! I usually save the snacking for when I’m watching DVDs.

ww scribbles modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

What I love most about my workspace is that my laptop is here – I really love my little laptop

 ww laptopscrivener modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I can’t really say I have a fave author. I grew up probably loving Robert Jordan and Terry Brooks the most (epic fantasy was a staple in my reading diet – along with Dean Koontz’s horror. Epic fantasy was also the genre I wrote in for my first lengthy work). But nowadays my reading diet is highly varied, and I have many faves.

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Since I work full time as a librarian, I don’t usually get to write during the day, except on weekends. But generally I don’t have any rituals or quirks, or at least I don’t think I do. A lot of the time I am weirder when NOT writing – like I’m talking out loud as if I’m one of my characters, figuring out ideas for dialogue. But when I start writing, I am basically a typing machine who spews out words at a rate of knots.

ww trisha modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I do TRY to work on my writing every day, but lately I have failed pretty epically in this regard. I don’t really have any good excuses, except that right now I am fostering a bunch of kittens, and taking care of them seems to drain me. Plus, two nights a week I do a fitness class after work so I get home pretty late. The biggest hurdle I face right now is trying to edit a novel that needs an immense amount of work. It’s hard to keep myself motivated.

ww writingontable modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Trisha F.

4. Why do you write?

I write because I love it. It’s sort of a compulsion. I feel that I’m a very inspired person, and ideas are constantly striking me and demanding to be written. I love getting into the heads of my characters and putting them through horrible traumas, so they can emerge triumphant at the end (assuming they’re still alive!). Gee, I’m nice aren’t I?

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

My go-to writing tip is to just write. Sounds obvious, I know, but it is the thing that works best for me. My problem is never trying to find something to write, but rather I am struggling at the editing end of matters. So in terms of writing, JUST WRITE!! Don’t worry about whether it’s crap or not – just write it, and worry about the level of crapness later.

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Trisha!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

 

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Jemi Fraser, author of that fun blog Just Jemi.

Welcome, Jemi!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

I’m a teacher up in Northern Ontario. I love my job!! Nothing much better than working with kids all day. I’m currently writing contemporary romance although I do like to dabble in a variety of genres. I also love to read, bake, cook, watch sports and play with my family. Hidden talent? Hm. Does never following a recipe count???

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I don’t actually have a desk – our house is a little too crowded at the moment! One of these days I will. Currently I do most of my writing in my favourite chair in the living room.

My favourite chair modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

Jemi’s favorite chair

In the summer, I like to write in this chair on the deck!

My deck chair modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

Jemi’s deck chair

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

Nowhere yet! But when I do have the space, I hope to get an old roll top desk – love those with all their nooks and crannies! But I’d also like a big modern desk with lots of table top space to spread out all my stuff. So as long as I’m dreaming, I’ll take both!

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I’m pretty flexible. As long as I have my laptop I’m good to go. I do have my notebook with me most of the time too, but that’s it!

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Despite having no desk, I have a few items waiting to decorate it (or at least hang out somewhere in my future office). I have some great book ends given to me as gifts and my daughter has framed the first paragraphs of my favourite books for the walls. Can’t wait! I also have an R2D2 USB hanging out with the backups of all my files.

bookends 1 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

Favorite book ends

bookends 2 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Chai tea! Always have a cup with me.

 

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Impossible to answer! There are so many. My childhood favourites introduced me to so many new worlds and ideas and styles. Everything from Nancy Drew & the Boys to Little Women & The Hobbit. The most influential was probably Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gable series. Anne is such a wonderful character!

 1st lines 1 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

First lines from Jemi’s favorite books

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

During the school year, I tend to write after 9 at night once family life has settled down. In the summer, I love to head out to the deck in the morning and write for the morning. Life’s too busy & fluid to have rituals – as long as I have my laptop, I’m good!

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I tend to work 60 hours or more a week. Squeezing in writing during those times can be tough, but it doesn’t take long to get back in the swing of things.

As for distractions, I’m a bit of a sports nut and I often have sports on TV on in the background. Wimbledon can be very distracting!

1st lines 2 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

First lines from Jemi’s favorite books

 

 

4. Why do you write?

It’s so much fun! When I was little I used to make up Star Trek episodes in my head when I was supposed to be sleeping. I’d block out scenes, rehearse dialogue, create settings… Never thought of writing any of the stories down though. A couple of decades later I wrote a (way-overly-dramatic) Star Trek novel for fun – don’t even know if I have a copy of it now. Then I wrote a few more novels, some short stories and lots of poetry (mostly for kids). I didn’t hang on to any of it – the fun was all in the writing. It took me several more years (okay a decade) to realize I should actually try to write for publication. Still working on that!

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Wisdom? Generally not an abundance of that going around, but… I think we all need to find our own joys, our own paths, our own styles. Take risks and don’t be afraid to chuck it all and start over. Listen to your gut. Good enough really isn’t. And most of all – have fun!

Thanks so much for having me!!:)

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life,  Jemi!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Jay Noel, author of Dragonfly Warrior (The Mechanica Wars) (Volume 1) Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel and blogger at jaynoel.com.

DragonflyWarrior ebook modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

Welcome, Jay!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

squarepic Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

Author Jay Noel

I have a degree in English, Secondary Education, and I was a high school English teacher for five years before I left for the private sector. I now work in medical sales where I spend lots of time in the car, so it a great opportunity to think-up fantastical tales to write about.

I played tennis in high school and college, and I still enjoy playing. At the moment, I’m working with my 13 yr old to get him ready to play high school. I don’t have a lot of free time for other extracurricular activities, but I also love blogging. I’ve been a blogger since 2005.

tennis Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do my writing these days anywhere I can. My favorite workspace is the table in our closed in sunroom. I have a waterfall and pond right next to me, and when you open the window, I love the sound of water.

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk is actually an antique table from my father-in-law. He loved to find discarded antiques and refurbish them. After he passed away, we found pieces of this table, and after SEVERAL years, I finally put it together. It’s over 100 years old. In fact, I believe the wood is from Noah’s Ark.

desk Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Just me and my laptop.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

My sunroom is great. I love how I’m still inside, yet so close to being outside. I often stare out the window to get my imagination going. During the winter, I turn on the gas fireplace in the corner. Gets pretty cozy in there.

photo Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I drink water out of my Doctor Who thermal cup.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I have a ton of favorite authors, but if I had to pin it down to one, I’d pick YA author Robert Cormier. He was a true pioneer in YA back when YA didn’t even exist.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

My work schedule is crazy since I travel, so I really don’t have a writing schedule. I just try to write when I can, which is usually at night when all is quiet.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I either write or edit every day. I have to. It’s like breathing. Now, it might only be 15 minutes, as my schedule allows, but I do all I can to do something every single day.

 

4. Why do you write?

That’s a good question. I write because I’m a storyteller. I love making up stories and sharing them with people. Not sure if that makes me a pathological liar, but at least I’m entertaining!

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I’ll go with Robert Cormier, since he’s my favorite and I got to speak with him on the phone just before he passed away. He said: “I simply write with an intelligent reader in mind. I don’t care about how old they are.”

I’ve adopted that philosophy as well.

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Jay!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Maria Perry Mohan, author of that fun site Maria’s Book Blog.

Welcome, Maria!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Reading boook Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

 Maria Perry Mohan

I’m now officially a housewife, but I’ve actually worked in a multiplicity of jobs during my (admittedly not very long) career.  I was unable to pursue my dream of higher education after completing my schooling and had to do a secretarial course instead.  I was raging about it until I realised that it was arming me with a load of skills to help me to pursue my other dreams – of furthering my education and writing.  I didn’t reach stunning typing and shorthand speeds but the skills of typing and shorthand have been of immense value to me and many situations.  I did office work for twelve years – three years in a freight company where typing was the least of my worries – the only typing there was form-filling.  But it working in that type of environment made me grow up very fast – I went from a convent school atmosphere to a very rough office where blood pressure could go soaring and language was colourful.  Life in the raw, you might say.

Then I landed a job in the Embassy of India in Dublin which changed my life forever.  During my time with the Embassy of India in Dublin, I met Mukesh, an Indian scientist who was living in Ireland at the time for the purpose of  research.  We got married in 1994 and settled down in Lucknow in north India, where we still live.  We have two sons and two daughters.There had just been a plane crash of an Indian jet off the Irish coast so a lot of the work consisted of gathering the names of the unfortunate victims and typing death certificates.  Heartbreaking indeed.  I’d always been fascinated by Indian culture.  At the age of four, I saw a picture in a magazine of a woman in a sari standing in front of the Taj Mahal and I was fascinated by the red ‘bindi’ on her forehead.  Little did I know I’d be wearing one myself one day.  Mind you, only when I wear Indian dress.

In my working life, I’ve done my fair share of blue collar jobs.  I’ve worked as a nursing assistant in a convalescent home which was inhabited by aged people.  I’ve also worked as a cashier and shop assistant in a delicatessen.  I’ve also done voluntary work as a counsellor, an exhibition guide and I’m something of a human rights activist at times, although these days, my activism is somewhat limited to signing petitions and having others do the same.

I’ve also worked as a volunteer tutor with the adult literacy movement when I lived in Dublin.  I’ve completed two thirds of a BA degree in English literature.  It’s my dream to complete it and pursue a Master’s degree.  My choices would be English or history.  I’ve had several short stories published.  One in Ireland and two in India and one in an expat anthology.  I seem to be able to write Indian stories as an Indian, which is unusual.  Then again, I’ve lived here for twenty years.  I’ve written an historical novel – it comes form a Bible story.  I’ve also written a women’s fiction novel.  I plan to edit them extensively before submitting them somewhere for publication.  These days, I edit English novels when I can get the work.  I’ve edited some paranormal work and some Regency historicals.  I particularly enjoy historical fiction.

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I work at my writing wherever and whenever.  My bed is probably the usual place, if the truth be known, shame on me!

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

Yes, I do have a desk.  I sometimes even get to work there LOL.

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

The laptop, usually.  Nothing more is required.

workspace1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

Maria’s Workspace

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

If I have some peace and quiet, when I don’t have the demands of my family to see to, then that’s the only thing required for me to work at my writing.  Have time, will write.

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Oh, tea and lots of it.  With cardomam, milk and sugar.

 With ma Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

Maria with her Mom

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I love the work of many different authors.  I’m particularly inspired by Christian author Hallee Bridgeman and British author Sally Quilford.  But they are the only two which spring to mind at the moment.  As a book reviewer, I’m privileged to read many, many authors.  I’ve just read a Regency historical by Australian author Alison Stuart.  I loved it.  She is majorly talented.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Provided I have the time – which isn’t very often – I’ll work till I drop.  I can work for hours, fuelled by tea and it’s not like work at all.  But nowadays, if I get to write for two hours a day out of five days a week, I’m doing well.  Time is always scarce for me, as I’m a mother of three teens and a ten year old.  They are all independent, but they need food and laundry and most of all, attention as in counselling, encouragement, etc.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I suppose I’m at a stage in my life where my family needs me a lot so my time to write is rather limited.  But when my kids were little, there was no time at all.  As some wise person once said, ‘this too shall pass,’ and I suppose as time goes on, I’ll get more time to write.

 

4. Why do you write?

It satisfies my creative urge and it helps me to make use of all the things I’ve seen and heard in my life.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Yes.  ’Don’t get it right, get it written.’  If you have something to say, never worry about how imperfect it is.  Write the stuff, for heaven’s sake.   You can always go back in and change it later.

 

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Maria!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome freelance writer Mary Ellen Sullivan. You can find her blogging at  http://onthewingsofthehummingbird.com/

Welcome, Mary Ellen!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

author photo Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

Author Mary Ellen Sullivan

I have been a full-time freelance writer for the past 21 years. Before that I ran a corporate creative group and was a magazine editor at an educational publishing company. What I love about freelancing is the variety, and the fact that I have an opportunity to learn about so many different topics nearly every day. Over the years, I have written art and architecture books, travel guides, magazine articles, annual reports, speeches, ads, liner notes for record albums, white papers and, in the digital age, websites, social media messaging, even other peoples’ Linked-In pages. Right now I have a blog about joy called On the Wings of the Hummingbird, which I love dearly, even though I don’t make any money on it. And oh yes, I have two secret superpowers: One is the ability to tell other people’s stories in a way that captures the essence of who they are in the world. The other is the ability to pick the absolute right restaurant for every occasion. So if you are ever in Chicago (a great restaurant town, I must add) I’m the one to call.

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I have a separate home office, which is important so I can shut the door at the end of the day and unplug. That’s where I do all my writing. However, I get my ideas everywhere—especially on walks by the lake, upon waking up from a nap and, most of all, in the shower. I keep notepads everywhere, many of which are water-stained because I leap out of the shower to write down the ideas before they slip away!

workspace Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

Mary Ellen’s Workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk and chair come from a fairly high-end office furniture store. I decided to splurge on the good stuff since I spend so much time working. I have had my current setup for nearly 14 years, and it works well for me and still looks good. For us Libra girls, who love beautiful surroundings, that is key.

reading corner Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

 

frames Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

More than anything, I need lots of space to spread out notes and papers, along with tons of file cabinets for interview notes, hard copies of client changes, and the too-numerous-to-count file folders of ideas, clippings and inspirations.

 

vision board Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

My workspace is set up to support creativity, and it is important for me to be surrounded by books and other objects of beauty.

bookshelf Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

 

Most of the art in my office was made by people I know, which brings another level of creative energy to the space. I also keep my mesa, which is an altarlike collection of objects that have specific meaning and intention, in my workspace.

mesa tall Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

The Mesa

The mesa is a cornerstone of  Peruvian/Andean traditional medicine, which I have studied and practiced for many years. I believe that there is a spiritual, unseen, even magical component to good writing, so I make sure that spiritual energy and inspiration always keep me company.

mesa spread Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

 

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Cup after cup of ginger tea.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I’m what I call a book slut. I love every kind of book, and read voraciously. It was my love of books in general, not one specific author, that inspired me to write. Some of my favorite authors, however, include Graham Greene, Salman Rushdie, Barbara Kingsolver, Jumpa Lahiri, Kate Atkinson, Raymond Chandler and (after recently tearing through The Goldfinch) Donna Tartt. I also share the weakness so many writers have for well-written detective fiction, and will always read a new book by Michael Connelly, Barry Maitland, Lee Child, Denise Mina, Laura Lippman, Donna Leon and most of the Scandinavian noir practitioners.

 

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Blessedly, no two days are the same, so I have a lot of freedom to make my own schedule. I generally start my mornings with a pot of tea and the NYT crossword in my favorite chair to jumpstart my brain. Then I just get to work. If I have a huge project and I’ve set aside time to work exclusively on it , I’ll do two hours of writing, then two hours off, then two hours of writing, then two hours off until my back aches and my eyes blur. During the two hours off , I may nap, take a bath, eat a meal or walk to clear my head. I’ll stay away from books or TV, however, to keep other people’s words from invading my thought process.

fave photo Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mary Ellen Sullivan

Mary Ellen’s favorite photo:

This is one of my favorite photos because it captures the joy I take in life and, in particular, the joy I take in being an auntie and fairy godmother to all the children in my world (including my nephew David, who is pictured here at about age 10).

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

Yes, I write every day, but some days more than others depending on what I have going on. I have to do a lot of telephone interviews for pieces I am working on, so I try to group them together on one day of the week in order to write uninterrupted on other days. That doesn’t always work, so I have also gotten used to being fragmented and writing whenever I can. When you have a looming deadline, you don’t have a choice. I would have to say my biggest distraction is email. I am happy to turn off the phones when I write, but I can’t seem to turn off my attraction to opening an email as soon as it arrives.

 

4. Why do you write?

 It’s who I am and what I do, both my passion and my profession.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I also teach writing workshops and classes on starting a writing practice. The first thing I tell students is that writers write. Every day. If you wanted to be a good tennis player, you wouldn’t sit around thinking about it. You’d get out on the court and start hitting balls. The same with writing. To get good you must practice. There’s that famous quote about “I hate writing but I love having written.” That’s a terrible quote, especially because so many young writers tend to believe it. You must love the PROCESS of writing, rather than the end result. I know that’s very practical advice, so I also want to address the mysterious, alchemic part of writing. This quote by Annie Dillard gets at it quite well, and not surprisingly it’s a lot like life—you have to go all in.

 

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Mary Ellen!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

456 total views, 2 views today

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Jenn Lyons, author of THE CULLING FIELDS & MARDUK’S REBELLION.

books Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

 

 

Welcome, Jenn!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

JennLyons modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

 

Author Jenn Lyons

Hey there! My name is Jenn Lyons. By night I write science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal mystery novels and by day I’m a video-game producer. I’m a bit all over the place in my books to date: my first novel, Marduk’s Rebellion, is science-fiction, and my second novel, The Culling Fields, is epic fantasy. Later this year, World Weaver press will be publishing two of my paranormal mysteries, Blood Chimera and Blood Sin. I’m currently writing the sequel to Marduk’s Rebellion, Making Shiva (no relation to the cat, I promise), which I also expect to see published later this year. After that, I’ve been told bad things will happen if I don’t finish the next book in my epic fantasy series, Demon Falls. It’s going to be a busy year!

Hidden talents? I’m also an artist. It’s not exactly hidden, but it’s certainly helped me with the covers for my self-published books.

 

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing either at my home desk or at one of several nearby coffee shops (Here’s to all the awesome folks over at La Madeleine’s!) Because I self-publish some of my books, there are a number of publishing-related tasks that I can only do at my home computer, but for the main writing push I find it’s often quite helpful to get away from home distractions. My husband and I also turned our dining room into a writer’s nook, which we can use if we want to be free from some of the standard social media pressures without actually leaving the house.

writernook modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

Jenn’s Writer’s Nook

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk is from Office Depot. As you might be able to tell from the pic, it’s also pretty beaten up (I’ve had it for well over a decade at this point.) It wasn’t terribly expensive although I believe it’s been discontinued. I also write on the dining room table in the writer’s nook, which originally came from Cost Plus World Market. One of the things that has helped me the most is developing techniques that allow me to write wherever I happen to be, so I never have to say ‘Oh, I can’t write, because [insert excuse here].’ I can write from coffee shops, looking out at the trees in my backyard, or sitting at a park.

myworkdesk modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

Jenn’s Workspace

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I don’t do a lot of writing with pen and paper. I need a computer, or at least a tablet and keyboard, and someplace comfortable to sit. Ideally I also need some wifi so I can access my dropbox account. I have back problems, so ergonomics is important, as is the ability to move around on a regular basis. However, my regular desk has one very adorable feature: a special space for my cat Shiva to sleep on and keep me company while I type. This is important, because if he has a place to sit near, he doesn’t try to sit in my lap. He usually doesn’t try to lick my fingers while I’m typing either. Usually.

Oh, one other special thing my home base desk has is this beautiful mechanical keyboard with blue mx switches. If you have the means, get one of these. I know they’re marketed for video game players, but they are so wonderful for hands. While it’s not an ergonomic keyboard (my dream is to one day have a keyboard with both an ergonomic design and mx switches, something that’s currently kind of insanely expensive) I type faster on this keyboard. The feedback is wonderful. It was expensive, but in my opinion, sincerely worth every penny.

keyboardandcat modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

It’s a toss-up between the keyboard and the cat (who is named Shiva, by the way.)

Speaking of which, Shiva kitten (it’s been many, many years since he was this young.)

shivakitten modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Honestly most of the things I love aren’t on my desk but inside my computer, which didn’t used to be the case. When I started this business I used to use a lot of post-it notes and all but wrote on the walls (I didn’t, but I have been tempted to paint the wall next to me with blackboard paint more than once) but I’ve noticed myself transitioning to a true paperless environment. Now I use evernote, google drive, and dropbox for notes and world building development, and seldom do my notes on a novel end up on real paper anymore. The plus side to that is I’m also never without them.

 

 

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee or tea, depending on my mood, and the time. In the evening, I tend to switch to water or the occasional glass of red wine. I’ve been trying to drink more water, to which I’ve been adding flavored balsamic vinegars. Is that weird? That strikes me as super weird, but I am what I am.

 bytheocean Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jenn Lyons

By the ocean, Jenn’s favorite picture

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I really don’t have a single favorite author. I love so many. Shakespeare, Cooper, Asimov, Le Guin, Chandler, Zelazny, Butler — but I could go on and list 40 more names and not even begin to have a complete list. If I’m being really honest, however, not a one of them inspired me to write: I never dreamed that I could be in such august company. I was always writing short stories and pieces of fiction, fictitious journal entries for roleplaying games I was in and the like (I suppose it was a sort of fan fiction,) but it just never clicked that I should take that extra step. My ex-husband dared me to write my first book, and so I did. (Although that book was never published, and never will be. It was really terrible.)

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I get up in the morning, go to work, and spend the day doing my regular job. So writing happens on the weekends or when I’m home in the evening. Dinner first, then I hit the keyboard.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I write daily (or try to) write every day and it usually ends up being about 2-3 hours, usually from 7pm to 10pm. Of course, when I don’t do this, it’s usually because of a TV show (why hello Almost Human!) or an MMO (Elder Scrolls.) On weekends it depends on how many chores I have to finish, but usually I manage around 5 hours per day. So, practically speaking, I can expect 20 hours a week of writing, editing or publishing time when I’m ‘on.’ In hard numbers, that averages between 10K to 20K words written per week (some books come along faster than others.)

 

4. Why do you write?

I have stories I need to tell. Not writing doesn’t seem to be an option. I have to tell them, and it gradually occurred to me that if telling these stories was going to be such a large part of my sense of personal happiness, it wasn’t really fair not to share that with others. I’m going to tell the stories regardless.

 

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

First, try to remember that all writing advice is an opinion. People will present their opinions as though they were uncontestable facts, but friends, that’s just not so. I can tell you what’s working or not working for me, but I cannot tell you what will or won’t work for you. I see a lot of people, especially older published writers, present their advice like it came straight from the Oracle at Delphi, and I have to say, take such advice with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of good opinions out there, but if something isn’t working for you, it may be you’re trying a technique that just isn’t a good fit for your personal experience. Use the scientific method: plan, test, analyze, modify. You’ll figure out what works for you if you do that.

Uh, yeah…I do use a lot of charts when I write. How did you guess?

 

Blank paper is God’s way of saying it’s not so easy to be God. – Craig Vetter

 

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Jenn!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

 

 

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