Every Wednesday, I feature a writer/blogger and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow bloggers/writers better through their workspace and writing habits. I also wanted my bloggy friends to share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Cynthia Willis, author of the wonderful Middle Grade books DOG GONE & BUCK FEVER.

You can also find her sharing her writing wisdom and blogging at http://cynthiawillis.blogspot.com/

Welcome, Cynthia!

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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 Cynthia Willis

Thank you for inviting me to Wednesday Writer’s Workspace!

I am lucky enough to be able to write full time these days. I most prefer working on my novels, middle-grade and YA, but I have also taken on freelance writing and editing projects associated with my past life as an editor of Reading textbooks. School visits and promotional events are also part of my schedule.

My hobbies and interests include yoga (I love yoga—such a great break from writing), horseback riding (although, sadly, I no longer own a horse or live near a stable), and drawing/sketching. I wish I could label any of these a talent (hidden or otherwise), but that would be a lie–especially the drawing. As much as I love to sketch, my drawings are lame.

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I spend most of writing time in my office, at my desk. Although, I do write in my favorite Barnes and Noble Café at least once per week. A change of scenery is often a good thing for me. And a chai latte is never a bad idea.

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

I recently splurged and bought myself a new desk from a local furniture store. I sort of had to. My old desk was falling apart. The situation was getting ugly. So, I took advantage of a sale and bought a desk and file cabinets (so exciting) that I could position close to a window. I love to write near a window.

Cynthia’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 need to have my favorite books (fiction as well as books on craft) within reach or on my desk. When I get stuck, I go for one of these books and read. This un-sticks me most of the time.

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 these days is the space itself. The small room used to be a guest room and office. Now it’s just my office. Yea!

My favorite things include my crystal Pegasus (a sentimental gift), my great grandfather’s pocket watch (which I wind up right before I write, each time I write), and my furry writing buddies (three Siamese cats and a very old dog).

Cynthia’s crystal pegasus

Cynthia’s great grandfather’s pocket watch

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

Tea until I’m fully caffeinated (chai lattes are my most favorite) and then water with lemon.

On Writing

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

This might be a disappointing answer, but I don’t have a favorite author. There are too many talented, amazing writers for me to choose one favorite.

As for inspiration, I am inspired every time I read amazing writing and a great story.

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

I start each day by answering emails, visiting Twitter, and sometimes checking out Facebook. Then I get into my work in progress, usually by rereading whatever I last wrote as a warm up. I end the day by working on a presentation that might be coming up or preparing for some promotional something or other. And then I read. I always try to set aside time to read before dinner. After dinner I visit blogs and do the social networking thing.

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

I do write each day, although I sometimes skip Sundays when there is too much life stuff to catch up on. Depending on the day, I’ll spend 4 to 7 hours writing.

I am not easily distracted from my writing, which is great. However, there is always stuff to do, which can be frustrating. I often wish I could clone myself and make my clone do all the non-writing, boring stuff.

4. Why do you write?

Because I have to. Seriously. I itch if I don’t write. But I am also driven to write stories that readers can escape into the way I’ve been able to escape into some novels. That’s my dream or goal.

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

I believe that perseverance is crucial when writing and publishing. Persistence is necessary in learning the craft, in writing stories, and in taking those stories to and through publication.

As for quotes, here are a couple that I like a lot and relate to:

“Half my life is an act of revision.” ~ John Irving

“We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.”

~ Somerset Maugham

Thanks again for having me!

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Thanks, Cynthia, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

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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37 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cynthia Willis”

  1. Bish Denham says:

    Hi Cynthia! *waves*. How sweet that you have your grandfather’s pocket watch to help you keep track of time. And the crystal Pegasus is beautiful.

  2. Shelly says:

    I love the fact that she sets the time to her grandfather’s watch. That’s so sweet. It’s kind of like inviting him to guide her in her writing adventure.

  3. Lisa Regan says:

    Great interview! “Because I have to” yeah, that’s me too! I get very cranky if I don’t write. And you’re so right, perseverance is so important in this business. Almost as important as the writing itself!

  4. I write because I have to, too. And wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else doing all the boring non-writing stuff that ties up our writing time every day? :)

    Beautiful picture, Cynthia. You with your cat is a nice shot!

  5. Hey, Bish! *waves back* Thanks–I love that pocket watch. And the Pegasus is special, too. They are great to gaze at when I should be writing. ; )

    I love your comment, Shelly. I’ve been told that my great grandfather enjoyed writing.

    Thanks, Emily. When I figure out the whole cloning thing, I’ll let you know. ; )

  6. Southpaw says:

    Go chai lattes!

    I see your kitties like to help you write too. Ah, so considerate of them.

  7. mooderino says:

    A woman with great taste in desks. Wish I had something that lovely to write on. I imagine I would write great things (well, maybe).

    mood
    Moody Writing
    @mooderino
    The Funnily Enough

  8. Loree Huebner says:

    Loved getting to know you better Cynthia! I used to have two Siamese cats when I was in high school. They lived a long time. One was a blue point. I thought about getting another one recently. They are so smart and talkative.

  9. That desk is simply gorgeous!

  10. Mark Murata says:

    It’s definitely worth the investment to have a desk and file cabinets. My place came with those already built in from the previous owner, and I put in my buying clause the condition that they stay in place!

  11. Misha says:

    Looooove that desk.

    Nutschell, just want to check if you received my answers?

  12. Old Kitty says:

    Oh wow!! Hello Cynthia and Writing Nut! Cynthia -your kitties are adorable! They’re beautiful!! And love to read about your old dog too! Awwwww!!

    I truly believe in persistence! And patience!! :-) Great to see your awesome and very neat writing space! Take care
    x

  13. Great to learn more about you. I love your great grandfather’s pocket watch :)

  14. Jemi Fraser says:

    Love that you wind your gr-g’s watch! That’s so cool. Beautiful writing space too. At the moment, I use my bed or a living room chair so I’m a little jealous! :)

  15. Love the quotes. I’m jealous of your clean desk. Mine normally is but my hubby hates junk mail and rather than throwing it away of dealing with it, it tends to find its way to my desk instead. If I’m busy I set it aside. It’s time to clear things up.

  16. The clone idea would be awesome. Let me know, Cynthia, when you’ve got that figured out. 😀

    My desk is messy with notes and other scraps of paper. Wish it was as nice as yours.

    • Donna and Stina, I’ll be honest and admit that I cleaned the desk before the photos. Before the cleaning, lots of papers and scraps and general stuff. And as a matter of fact, it’s looking like that right now. : )

  17. Karen Strong says:

    Love your desk furniture. Very nice. Ah, and I want to take your kitty from you. :)

  18. Love the office, Cynthia! In fact, it’s an inspiration to get mine tidied up!

  19. Michelle DE says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the interview lovely ladies.
    Some kind of wonderful inspiring and encouraging,
    Xx

  20. Cynthia’s cat is kinda just perched there like a figurine. Almost thought it was one. I’m envious and wish I could write full time. Alas, for now I have to earn a living outside the home.

  21. Kelly Polark says:

    What a beautiful photo of Cynthia and her cat!!!
    I love that Cynthia winds up the pocket watch each time she writes. That is so sweet.

  22. Lynda Young says:

    What a fabulous interview. It was great to get to know you better, Cynthia. Your writing space looks so organised!

  23. Thanks for all the lovely comments, everyone! It’s been fun visiting here! : )

  24. It was wonderful getting to know Cynthia better after following her blog and then meeting her at a conference. That’s a fantastic, organized writing space with a nice-sized desk.

  25. I really enjoy these interviews and seeing where people do their writing. Thank you!

    Kathy M.

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