Discovering Public Spaces

I’ll never be able to work from home.

I love the idea of being able to sit on the couch in my dressing gown and get a whole lot of work done. Maybe never is too strong a word. But at the moment, I can’t do it.

At home, there are too many distractions. The fridge is filled with the food I like. My favourite cafe’s are just down the road (which are also filled with the food I like). Netflix. Computer games. In-fact, let’s just say ‘unlimited internet access.’ They’re all there.

Changing the setting.

So I recently bought a laptop and moved my writing space to a public library. And it’s made a huge difference to my productivity. Getting up, getting dressed and commuting to somewhere makes me treat writing like a real job. I have to get there early to get a good seat, and once I’ve got that seat I don’t want to leave it in case I lose it.

And that, I suppose, is the trick. Getting to know yourself and being able to admit what your limitations are, and what you can do to overcome them. I would love to be able to sit around on the couch and get things done, but I’m just not there yet. Sometimes it goes against your instincts. In fact, I had to fight myself to get out the door the first few times. My mind told me that I’ll be fine writing from home! Don’t waste all that time commuting! The problem with that was every time I had listened to that voice, I would manage to find other things to do at home, to the point where I was doing very little (if any) writing at all.

Finding new ways to overcome resistance.

This, to me, is what Steven Pressfield is referring to as resistance in his book The War of Art . The concept is that there is this force that you have to overcome if you want to do anything creative. I think that as soon as you recognise it you can use it as a sort of internal compass: it shows you your true north by trying to pull you south. All you have to do is pull in the other direction, and you’ll become that thing you want to be. So when I feel the urge to stay home, I know it’s time for me to get out.

Which can be hard, but that’s the point. And besides, I prefer being around people anyway.

Seeing Through the Fog

Creating a World.

The fantasy setting that I’m currently writing in sprung up around the story that was in my head. At first I just needed locations for characters to go to, and then I filled in the blanks. There were also some basic ideas that I knew about the world before starting the draft:

1) Magic is real, in the sense that there are wizards that can command the elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. The afterlife and the existence of a spirit is just as unknown as it is in our world, today.

2) That gods were a real and active part of the lives of the people, and that prayer had measurable, tangible results. The gods were, however, silent on the matter of an afterlife.

3) Elves were in there somewhere but they weren’t really known to humans (though I didn’t know why at that point).

Into that world I wanted to put a group of skeptics that go around exposing fake psychics and spirit mediums.

Learning as I go.

As I sat down to write the draft, the fantasy setting became fleshed out through character conversation and from just writing what the characters were seeing. For example, at one point  Continue reading “Seeing Through the Fog”

A Whole New World

I am creating the setting of my fantasy story, every day, when I sit down to write my drafts. To be honest, one of the things I like about writing fantasy is not having to do any research. I knew that, for my first story or two, I wanted to write my own rules.  
I did think that I would spend a lot of time writing out the setting first before writing the story. But you know what? I found that’s the worst way to do it. Well, not the worst way for everyone, but it is for me. And the biggest motivation for me was talking to authors who were doing it this way. 

Another reason to not write. 

Almost anyone who spends their time following any creative pursuit will tell you that it isn’t the doing that’s the hard part. It’s the showing up. Writing isn’t hard. Sitting down to write is. 
I’ve spoken to a few people now who, after learning that I’m writing a fantasy story, say something like “oh yeah, I have a fantasy story that I want to write. I’m just working on the setting, getting that right, before I write the story.”
“Really?” I ask. “What do you mean.?”
“Oh, you know,” comes the answer. “I need to get the world right before I can start writing the story.”
No, you really don’t.
Continue reading “A Whole New World”

Book 2 – Draft complete!

And I do mean complete this time: what I handed to Ellie was more polished than the draft I gave her of episode one.

So I thought that I’d make first Process article about the beginning of my process – how I use my notebook.

All my initial story ideas get written by hand in a notebook. Character ideas, plot points, the way the story will end. I have to be careful with my hand writing because if I write too fast I can’t understand what I’ve written. Writing in a notebook forces me to slow down and make sure my writing is legible. This is the part where I need to listen to what my mind has to say, and so this Continue reading “Book 2 – Draft complete!”