Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Donna Martin


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 Donna Martin, author of that fun blog On the Write Track.

Welcome, Donna!

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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?

 

Donna Martin

Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your Writers Wednesday series.  I have worked in many different industries over the years but for the past ten years I have been the Center Manager/Program Director of a TaeKwonDo International school in Tennessee where I currently hold the rank of Fourth Degree Black Belt.

My second “job” (one I’ve been doing on and off for over 40 years now) is writing.  I work in many different genres including children’s picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, essays, poetry, and hopefully soon I will expand into the non-fiction arena.

My hobbies include reading (a lot), amusement parks, visiting new places, arts & crafts when I have the time, going to the mountains near my home, listening to all types of music…just about anything that tickles my interest!

As far as a hidden talent, does being able to talk like Yoda count? ;~)

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

Right now the majority of my writing happens in my recliner in the living room during the week because I get home so late each night so I’m trying to grab some supper while catching up on emails, blogging, and writing.  But I do actually have a lovely place I call my sanctuary that I can go to be inspired on the weekends.

Donna’s recliner

 

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

 When I bought my house years ago I knew I was going to need some new furniture.  All my adult like I have wanted a roll top desk…I think they are so elegant but I needed a small one because I live in a small house.  A friend of mine gave me this huge computer desk that still take up space in my bedroom but about a year after I moved into my house I discovered a pretty roll top desk at a local furniture store and it was just the perfect size for my study so I bought it! 

 

Donna’s desk

My study is actually my son’s old bedroom but when he moved out on his own I decided to change things.  My desk faces the wall by the door, my bookcase with some reference material is to my right, a glider rocker is in one corner, and a sofa table is under one of the windows.  That leaves my fireplace on the other wall.  I wanted my study to serve two purposes…when I am in the middle of writing, I wanted no distractions from my work so I set up an “office” look to one side of the room.  But when I simply want to relax and read, I wanted the other side of the room to feel copy and inviting.  My spirit is drawn to the beach so decorating the entire room like I am in a beach cottage brings me a sense of serenity…truly my own personal sanctuary!

 

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

My life gets very hectic so I try to keep my study as organized as possible.  All my files are on the lift side of my desk and I have a small rolling desk to the right of my roll top desk so I can move everything to the glider if I feel like it.  I have  compact set of reference books like a dictionary, grammar guide, and thesaurus on the top of my desk and a dry erase board above it for keeping track of submissions, along with inspiring pictures I hang on the corkboard part of the dry erase board as prompts for my writing.

Donna’s bookcase

 

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

The smell.  I keep the door closed unless I’m in my study and when I first open the door I’m always greeted with the wonderful smell of books.  I also look around the room and just looking at all the “beachy” things just relaxes me so much that it frees my mind to concentrate on my writing.  .

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

It really depends on my mood and the weather.  During the summer I will probably drink Coke Zero over ice.  During the winter I will usually drink either hot chocolate or hot tea.

On Writing

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

It is so hard to pick a “favorite” author because I’m a visual and sensual reader.  So for me it’s both the writing AND the illustrations that draw me into a book…the front cover of adult books and everything for children’s books.   And in that case, the world would be my favorite author…all the lovely people who create such lasting magic for generations of children to enjoy!

When it comes to my own writing, I look to authors from my childhood like Mercer Mayer or even later Jan Brett to inspire me to try my hand at writing children’s books.  Not that I think I have the level of talent they possess, but reading their stories fueled a love and passion for children’s books that remain with me today.  Now that I write in the children’s book arena myself, I look to current children’s books authors like Susanna Leonard Hill, and Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, for a standard of excellence in writing and even upcoming authors like Tara Lazar who have taken the time out of their busy schedules to mentor to me.

 

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

A typical day for me would be to wake up to the 6 a.m. alarm, grab a quick breakfast and try to go through about 150 emails before I have to leave for work.  If I have time in the morning I will write my daily blog post.  I leave for work around 9 a.m. and usually don’t return until 9 p.m.   I grab some supper, glance at my mail, do my daily blog post if I didn’t get a chance in the morning, read any urgent email and write until about midnight before going to bed.  That’s my weekday schedule.  Saturdays I run errands with my sister but will make time to write on Saturday evenings and most of Sundays when I can.

The only writing related ritual that I can think of is when I go looking for pictures on the internet to inspire my writing.  I am an extremely visual writer and if I am looking for new story ideas, I will think of a subject and then do Google image searches for inspiration.

 

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

Yes, I write every day but no, it’s not on my stories every day.  When I started my blog  on December 6, 2011, I told myself I would concentrate on my “author platform” so I post daily.  Any extra time is used for new stories, revisions, guest blog posts, critiques, etc.  I spend about six hours each day doing something that is tied to my writing…even if it is reading books on the craft of writing or doing internet research or networking within the writing community…everything to help me grow as a writer.

 

4. Why do you write?

Because it is as vital to me as breathing and I can’t believe I set it aside for over twenty years.  WHAT WAS I THINKING??  Lol…

 

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

Oh, I have not been writing long enough to think I have any words of wisdom.  I leave that to all the great authors I admire.  But I will say this…just BELIEVE!  Believe in yourself.  Believe in the possibility that there is magic within you just waiting to be given to the world.  Believe there will be others out there who will believe in YOU…even when there are times you find it hard to believe in yourself.  Just believe…

 

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Thanks, Donna, 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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30 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Donna Martin”

  1. mooderino says:

    Love the small rolltop desk, what a find!

    Great post, always enjoy these looks into the writing lives of others.

    mood
    Moody Writing

  2. Shelly says:

    As always, I love these posts.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    She’s so organized.

  3. Donna~so fun to read the interview and see your work space!!! And, in my opinion, speaking Yoda counts!!!

  4. Donna Martin says:

    Hi Shelly and thanks for stopping by! As loaded down as my plate gets sometimes between running a martial arts school and writing, I HAVE to be organized…lol…

    BTW, I really like your Secondhand book cover…very nice!

    Donna L Martin
    http://www.donnalmartin.com
    http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com

  5. janet says:

    I’ve had a glimpse of that room and it is my favorite one in the house. But I don’t stay long in there because it is HER sanctuary and no one should intrude, except her cat.

  6. That recliner looks awesome to me. I know I’d be happy settling down into it. Your furniture is lovely!

    Another fun post, thanks for sharing Donna and Nutschell! :)

  7. Absolutely loved this interview, and the delightful peek into Donna’s writing room. Wow, so organized!

    • Donna Martin says:

      Hi Beth!

      Thanks for your kind words. Yes, my study in my home may be organized but not so much my office at the school…;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

  8. Thanks Nutschell, I LOVE these posts. It is fun to see how much we writers are alike. I actually have the EXACT treasure box (in the third picture), and wish I had a space to close off and fill up with the smell of books. How wonderful is that?

  9. Nas says:

    I loved reading about your processes and visiting your writing place. You have some nice stuff there!

    All the best!

  10. Southpaw says:

    Nice to meet you Donna! Yes, speaking Yoda counts! I love your desk too.

  11. What a great interview! I love the her favorite part of her work space is the smell. :) Also- what great advice to believe. I can relate to her crazy schedule. I try to squeeze so much into each day. Wishing Donna much success!

  12. Donna Martin says:

    Hi Stephanie!

    Thank you for your kind words.It took many years to get to this point in my life and I would gladly bury my nose in good ol’ “book smells” any day! ;~)

    Donna L Martin
    http://www.donnalmartin.com
    http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com

  13. Nice to meet you Donna… love seeing other writers’s writing space…:)

  14. Julie says:

    I’m impressed that you’re a Fourth Degree Black Belt who works full time, and still manages to devote six hours a day to writing! I also enjoyed seeing your pretty and well organized work space. Thanks Donna and Nutschell!

  15. Leslie Rose says:

    I think I need Donna as a life manager. Very inspirational post. Love that recliner.

  16. Donna Hole says:

    Nice to meet you Donna :)

    ……..dhole

  17. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell and Donna – great read – you are very organised … I’m on my way to clearing my life down and concentrating on getting back to being very organised – I used to be: now’s the time for a reminder!

    Cheers to you both … Hilary

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