When do you write?
I write when my kids are in bed or before they awake and usually after I’ve just completed a major project: report cards, school concert, or filing my taxes! I had a major rewrite for WHTS? due this Winter and to accomplish it, I had to retype about five pages a day and most of it at 6am before school. It was difficult to miss out on the extra hours of sleep, but the joy I found in this process was worth every lost zzzzz. I was able to add in thirteen new pages primarily about setting into this 176 page book.
How do you handle writer’s block?
If I have writer’s block about a scene, I usually find housework helps me think it out. I don’t spend time on my computer unless I can “feel” where I’m going next. And I don’t map out each book before I write as I find the discovery process of the first draft absolutely delightful. Most of my writing time is rewriting although I am always thinking of new ideas and stories, sometimes three at a time. When I get that first spark for a novel, I write it down on a scrap of paper and then usually spend months thinking it through before I actually sit down to type it out. Sometimes I don’t know where to start and then a line comes to me, I write it down, and the story tumbles out. Rarely do I know the end, just the general direction I’m headed.
What is your basic philosophy of writing?
I write books for different reasons, but most of all because I must. If I don’t, my mind fills up with the stories anyway and the only way I can think through life’s demands is to declutter my brain by writing them down. If you ever meet me and I’m grumpy, chances are good that it’s been too long since last I wrote (that or I’m overheated). Even if my books are never published or enjoyed by children, writing stories is a way to help me process the enormous privilege of being alive and able to spend each day surrounded by this planet’s greatest resource and treasure: kids.
I write books that are positive, whimsical, thought-provoking, and hopefully something my children will want to read. (Sam and Nate is not yet at the reading level of my eldest child). I love the idea that someday, years away, my daughter might find WHTS? and enjoy that I wrote each page thinking of her. In this way, it feels a bit like a time capsule and an opportunity to speak to her as a teen (when she might not feel much like talking to me).