Tania Zaverta Chance Q&A discussion

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Author Writing Processes & Habits

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message 1: by Tania (new)

Tania (tantan) | 15 comments Mod
Post here with questions about writing.


message 2: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Green (morgnicole) | 1 comments How do you stay focused? Like when there's so much else going on. And how do you not get sidetracked for new ideas for other stories.


message 3: by Tania (last edited Sep 02, 2010 07:51PM) (new)

Tania (tantan) | 15 comments Mod
I write when I feel like I have to write- before it bursts out of me. Naturally flowing verse is more authentic and moving than writing out of discipline- that has been my experience. As far as getting side-tracked, I just start writing new, free-flow ideas into my current work on hand- the subconsciousness is begging for attention for a reason! I remember when I first started incorporating random thoughts into SHEgo and asking myself, "Where is this going, what are you going to do with this Tania?" I had no idea and no game plan! Turned out that those wild ideas became critical points in the novel. I'd advise one to let the mind flow, it knows what it's doing!


message 4: by D.E. (new)

D.E. Sievers | 9 comments I agree that the mind knows what it's doing. But I also believe in disciplined writing. I am a word processor by nature, so there are words and sentences going through my brain all the time. I sing/write songs while driving in my car and my back pocket is always filled with folded up slips of paper containing story ideas, lines of dialogue, poems, song verses, etc. And yet, despite all of this, I know that I would not be very productive in the long run without devoting a block of time EACH DAY to working on a specific writing project (e.g., a novel). Without this discipline, I know I wouldn't have completed my first novel in the 3 years it took, and would still be working on it today, and probably for years to come. Instead, that novel is behind me and I am nearly finished with the novella that came after. I used to write only short stories, but once I decided I wanted to be a novelist, it became apparent that a more rigorous discipline would be required, especially if I wanted to write not just 1 or 2 novels, but many. My goal is to leave at least 1 full shelf of novels behind when I depart this earth. And so I sit with pen in hand for 2-3 hours every day. Some days I am rewarded with multiple pages, other days a single paragraph, and some days I labor over a sentence or the choice of a single word (for far longer than I should). And contrary to Tania's experience that "naturally flowing verse is more authentic and moving than writing out of discipline," my experience is that disciplined writing is like turning on a faucet that allows the words to flow, providing a quiet, contemplative environment that not only nurtures your creativity but also contributes to your peace of mind, which is a nice thing to have at least once a day.


message 5: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Mells | 3 comments It's nice when the ideas flow naturally like they do for Tania, but I understand what you mean about allotting time to write. My first book took years becasue I wasn't serious about it. However, during the process of writing it the ideas flowed, even while I was asleep. Now that I am finished, I don't seem to have time to write. I have wondered how will I finish the second book that I have started two years ago. The ideas are great, and I know pretty much where I'm going. It is time that has become my nemesis. I like your idea of setting up a writing schedule. This may limit my excuses for not finishing my second novel. Thanks for the idea. Now all I have to do is fit it in.


message 6: by D.E. (last edited Sep 08, 2010 05:20PM) (new)

D.E. Sievers | 9 comments Yes, fitting it in is the trick. But I suggest fitting it in snugly, so that everyone in your life knows--and YOU know--that you will be unavailable during a certain time frame each day. I've been doing it for over three years now, and know it ain't ever gonna change. Fortunately, I have a flexible work schedule so I can work 6:30-3:30, then write between 3:30-6:30. Sometimes I'll knock off earlier, when I've reached a good place to stop, or when I know the well has run dry for the day and I'm just treading water. But most days I go the distance, and it has paid off. It's the only way--for me, at least--that I know will result in specific projects being completed; because if you sit with pen in hand for a couple hours every day, you WILL fill pages, and you WILL reach the end (in a reasonable amount of time).

Good luck fitting it in! It's really about becoming a different kind of person. If you think of it as something you have to "fit in," it may not endure.


message 7: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Mells | 3 comments Thanks!


message 8: by Tina (new)

Tina Deschamps (christineloyddeschamps) | 1 comments I JUST (as in minutes ago) finished the final revision of my 520 page novel. Now it's time to pick up the pile of used tissues lying next to my computer (the ending is a tear-jerker), and send it off to my agent.

I have to agree with both Tania and D.E. I find that my best writing has taken place as almost a stream of consciousness. However, these streams cannot take place unless I sit down and actually write. This novel has taken seven years - far too long if I plan on making a living with my writing. However, it was my first, and I was learning the craft as well as developing my writing style along the way (and, like most writers, holding down a job).


One thing I am wary of is writing just to make word count. I can quite easily fill pages with drivel, but a well constructed novel takes forethought and planning as well as a highly instinctual relationship to the material. I like what Tania said about how snippets of free writing became critical pieces in her novel. I have found this to be true as well. In fact, much of my revision process is spent mining through old scenes that I removed several revisions ago, looking for material that "just fits".


message 9: by Medleymisty (new)

Medleymisty | 3 comments As for not getting sidetracked by stories - I don't know, maybe it's a personality thing? A friend recently told me that I am very focused and not a "magpie writer".

I get very involved in a project and it takes over my heart and my mind and my soul and I can't think or talk about anything else until it's finished, and then - like when I finished Valley I mourned it for a while before I could move on to 10. I'd think about it and just start sobbing my guts out.

So I don't know if I have anything to offer, except maybe - try to find a story that grabs you by the soul and won't let you go?

As for other things going on - I put on my headphones and play story-related music and the rest of the world disappears.


message 10: by Tania (new)

Tania (tantan) | 15 comments Mod
One thing that I've become habitual at is developing healthy (what I've dubbed as) e-Habits. e-Habits include checking all of your pages daily (because you must have several), answering e-mails, tweeting, blogging, writing comments in the groups you belong to, posting videos, etc. By the way, I'll leave the link to my latest video (posted yesterday) at the end of this pasage.

This consumes at least 2 hours of my day (it helps to have a smart phone so you can take care of some of these things and gain some time while standing in long lines, standing still traffic jams, etc.) It can be very taxing and so every couple of weeks I allow myself a one day break! However, the part that I do enjoy is speaking with readers of my work, other readers in general, other writers (most of them), and plain ole good people - - - so all is not lost! Eventually, I will find a balance with this and all will be well in my world again.

Please enjoy my latest author video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7sjju...

Thanks!
~ Tania


message 11: by Chandra (new)

Chandra Hoffman (chandrahoffman) | 1 comments Tania, I agree about the e-Habits, and I don't even tweet. Another writer called it 'digitalia', the management of all things in the online world. It can be overwhelming, can't it? And then there's all the things I feel like I SHOULD be doing, more outreach, more blogging, connecting more.

I just got a fancy cell phone so I can do some of this out in the world too.

I'd love to hear how other writers manage the feeling that they should be doing more e-Habitting...


message 12: by Marja (new)

Marja McGraw (marja1) | 3 comments I'm late in joining, and I'm late in replying. Sorry. I'm Marja McGraw and I write lighter mysteries with a touch of humor. Hi everyone!

I write 4-6 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. I write in the morning, because that's when I'm the freshest. In addition to writing, I spend a lot of time trying to market and promote. There just aren't enough hours in the day. sigh

I guess I don't really stay focused. There are too many interruptions. But I do the best I can, and hope for the best. So far, so good. I guess it's rather like multi-tasking, which is not my favorite thing to do.

And I do get sidetracked with ideas for other stories. So I keep something nearby to jot ideas down when they won't let go. Once I know I won't forget what I was thinking, I can refocus on the current WIP. I keep notes everywhere, about everything, and it seems to work for me.


message 13: by D.E. (new)

D.E. Sievers | 9 comments Chandra, I manage the feeling that I should be doing more e-Habitting by ignoring it, consoling myself with the knowledge that I am not doing those things because I am too busy writing fiction, which is what I prefer to be doing. For better or worse, the exciting and fulfilling feelings accompanying the act of artistic creation far outshine anything I derive from e-busy-ness. I am confident that after I have created a quality work--which meets my standards--there will be time to devote to marketing, which will be undertaken with the reassuring knowledge that I have produced the best work of which I am capable, that I fully believe to be worth other people's time, attention, and money. And if my time runs out, well, perhap some thoughtful soul will see that I receive posthumous recognition for what I've left behind.

Better late than never, Marja! I admire your discipline and dedication. I too am a walking repository of scribbled notes. And it's always worked for me too, even if 80% of those notes usually come to naught.


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