Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Writer-Friendly Lifestyle

by Natalie Keller Reinert

When time grows scarce, ideas grow like weeds.

I'll admit it, I haven't been writing much lately. Life just feels a little insane. Starting to work a day job, instead of puttering from one freelance assignment to the next, was supposed to make things easier. Thing was, I still had too many freelance assignments, and I was putting those off at night because I had "worked" all day.

(I have to put work in quotation marks because fiddling with papers at a desk, although technically work, was hardly using the parts of my brain that I used for writing. I was worn out with boredom, not with the actual job.)

Horses on the brain. That's me.
So while I was glaring at my work computer screen, or coming home at night and crashing on the couch to do some serious vegging out with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, of course I was having all kinds of ideas. Since I wasn't writing anything, my creative side was going haywire.

I was thinking about the next eventing novel (the follow-up to Ambition), the next Alex novel, this middle grade and/or young adult book Kissimmee Katie that I've been playing with, even DREAMING a plot loosely based on a book I started writing two years ago and put to one side. In the dream, the book was published, a beautiful blue paperback with silver lettering, and it had a new title that I liked much better than the working title. I made a note of it in my phone - A Door Opens - and went on vegging on the couch.

I know! My inner muse is calling and I'm not picking up!

It became really obvious that this 8-5 office jazz was not good for my creative side. The boredom was draining all my interest in writing, even while my brain was screaming ALL THE IDEAS! I needed a writer-friendly lifestyle, pronto.

So, I'm making a change. I decided to change jobs for one that's more fun, involves more interaction with people (something I desperately need as a writer!) and has less routine hours. I'm wrapping up most of my freelance work, including my travel business, which has been a huge part of my life for the past two years but has also taken a tremendous amount of time. 

The thing is, ideas are just one thing. They're the easy part. The writing, the fleshing out of characters, the quirks of personality, the inflections of speech, those are the hard bits. For that, you need stimulating atmospheres, people to talk with, conversations to listen to, individuals to observe. I find that people are hard. Horses? I can create a shedrow full of unique and recognizable horses in ten minutes. For people I have to get out there and mingle.

(Or at least watch from a safe distance.)

So here goes nothing. New job, new lifestyle, new schedule -- and hopefully a load of new books! I'm already writing more just out of anticipation of the change -- pages and pages of Pride, the sequel to Ambition, have materialized this week!

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! I'm also trying to juggle the 9-5 with getting writing done, forunately I am in a good headspace right now with new stories and characters so it's working... also there is no daylight left after work to ride my horse anyway. And apparently JK Rowling wrote prodigious notes at work when she had office jobs so we are in good company. When you gotta write, you gotta write!