A Day in the Writing Life of ….Serena Tatti

Today we have Serena Tatti who has kindly agreed to share a day in her writing life. Welcome Serena….

What time of the day do you write? I definitely prefer to write in the afternoon to evening, but I do my best work under pressure, so if I know I have to leave or do something else, then the words flow in the lead up.

 Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer AKA pantser. I tried the plotting and planning thingy – twice – those two books were never finished because I felt as if I’d already written them! So I’m definitely a pantser.

Do you have a schedule that you follow for your writing time? Are you a goal setter with your writing?   I’m a member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and we set yearly and monthly goals. I find that keeps me going because I’ve committed to the goal and I feel I have to do it.

Do you give yourself any writing rewards for achieving goals?  The Melbourne Romance Writers Guild is renown for its chocolate reward system and we get rewarded at our monthly meetings. Each milestone in our writing – whether we start or finish a book, write so many words, query letter or synopsis, send them out, etc – earns us a piece of chocolate.

 Do you take time out to stretch, rest your eyes etc and if so do you do any exercises at your desk or between sessions?    Definitely, definitely! I have severe osteo-arthritis from neck to lower back, so need regular stretching. I set a timer so that I get up every hour and stretch and do some neck exercises. I also do Pilates exercises that were specially tailored for me.

Can you name five objects that are always on or near your work desk while you write?     I have my “muse” sitting on the top of my hard drive. She’s a little doll dressed as a princess and her name is…Princess Serena from the Sailor Moon TV series. I didn’t ever watch the show so had no idea she existed until one day several years ago, my hubby brought her home for me. She’s been standing there telling me to write ever since (though sometimes I wish she wielded a whip and shouted louder 🙂 ). Next to her is the Genie from Disney’s Aladdin, sent to me by a penpal in the USA when she found out I’d started writing romance, and a Buddha from one of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild’s retreats. I also always have a my “Permission to Write Crap” sign in front of me. These are handed out to all new MRWG members and hopefully help writers to leave behind their editing mode and just write. I find it difficult to switch off my internal editor, but this sign is a reminder to do just that. I also have a rose quartz heart that was given to me by two writer friends. Rose quartz is known as the love stone.

What’s the last thing do you do before you finish your daily writing session?    I always press Control S while I write, to constantly save whatever I’m writing, so I know my writing will be saved on the hard drive. But before I switch off, or when I finish a chapter, I always back it up onto an external hard drive and a USB stick, and I send it off to a web-based email account I have strictly for writing. I thoroughly recommend this last step – PCs can die or get sick, USB sticks can also die – but web-based email accounts can be opened from anywhere in the world!

 My personal website is under reconstruction:  http://go.to/serenatatti

 I am the treasurer of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, so you can find out more info (also about me!) on our lovely new website:  http://www.melbournerwg.com

 I don’t usually enter competitions – nowadays  I organize the judges for them. I am the Romance Writers of Australia Judge Coordinator. Anyone who is interested in judging can contact me at:judge-coordinator@romanceaustralia.com

 I did however have a wonderful “win” at last year’s RWA conference in Sydney. I was awarded the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Services Award for services to RWA and the romance writing industry. Although at the last minute I was unable to attend, it’s still one of the biggest thrills in my writing career!

Again, thank you Serena for participating.

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48 Comments

  1. I am a huge Sailormoon fan so i know all about orincess sarena 🙂 glad to ehar she is motivating someone because she is my form of procrastination when i watch it in the background and forget to write lol

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Hi Jacinta,
      I htink my boys are too old for me to have watched that show – but I really should seek it out and see what my namesake gets up to. Princesses are so inspiring 🙂
      Thanks for coming in and saying hi and thanks to Suz for having me here 🙂
      Hugs

      Reply
  2. Serena, hope you heard the applause after your name was announced for the LW Award! You’re a fabulous example and friend to many. Not to mention a terrific mum 😉

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Hi Robbie,
      Oh yes, I heard the applause all the way down to Melbourne! I was so disappointed at not making it to the conference and dinner. I had it all teed up but unfortunately I wasn’t well enough. It was only the flu but it hit me hard. And thanks for your kind words – I know you’re a terrific mum too!
      Hugs

      Reply
  3. Anita Joy

     /  April 29, 2011

    I love reading about the inspirational words and mementos people have on/around their desk and computer. Definitely need to add “permission to write crap” to mine.

    It was such a shame you couldn’t be there last year, Serena, although as Robyn said there was very loud cheering, so maybe you heard us *wink*.

    See you there this year though 🙂

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Hi Anita,
      We started the “Permission to Write Crap” signs a few years ago and they have proven to be very useful. Like La Nora says, “You can fix anything but a blank page” or something like that.
      LOL Yes, I heard the applause all the way down here in Melbs 🙂 Thank you. I will definitely see you all this year – though I won’t be there on Saturday as we have our own wedding of the year going on – my nephew is getting married :))) See you Thursday, Friday and Sunday!

      Hugs

      Reply
  4. Fiona Lowe

     /  April 29, 2011

    Serena is a powerhouse in the RWA community with her judging skills and her knowledge of grammar. She is a great support and Her Lynne Wilding award was most deserved!

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Aw thanks, Fiona. You made me blush (maybe it was a hot flush ;-P) I love the romance writing industry and the RWAus and the MRWG are a very significant part of my life.
      Hugs

      Reply
  5. Louise Reynolds

     /  April 29, 2011

    Hi Serena,

    So nice to see you here! You’re such a wonderful supporter and friend. It was a great day when I joined MRWG and got to know you.
    Baci,
    Louise
    x

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Hi Louise,
      Actually we first met through RWA when we did the Hearts Talk run from printer to folders/packers. Doesn’t that seem a long time ago! And you are such an integral part of both groups now. It’s lovely to see so many lovely friends on here 🙂

      Hugs (and baci)

      Reply
  6. Hi Serena,

    So lovely to read some more about you. You’re such a wonderful person with a lovely soul!

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Thanks, Nas. What a lovely thing to say 🙂 I feel I know you even though we’ve never met.
      Hugs

      Reply
  7. Hi Serena,

    I agree, you are an amazing friend and a beautiful person. You are generous to a fault, you give so much to members in the MRWG and others to assist us all in our journey towards publication. And your editing skills are legendary.

    We always know you’re there for us and then there are those wonderful cakes of yours.

    Hugs, Margaret

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Aw thanks, Margaret. You’re gorgeous and I love you.

      Must be time to offer some Dreamy Swirl Cheesecake! There’s plenty to go around.
      Hugs

      Reply
  8. You are a wonderful supportive person Serena. And I love, love, love the choco treats. It’s been great to see into your world.
    Angela Castle.

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Hi Angela,
      Yes, you can’t go past chocolate – and why would you want to. Nice to see you here too.
      Hugs

      Reply
  9. I always want a bigger sister and when we meet at the MRWG got one.
    As you know I call you the butterfly because you are always flying around to help everyone.
    I feel lucky to have you in my life and like I some times tell you
    “grazie di esistere”

    bacini Josie

    Reply
  10. Wonderful to learn some more about you, Serena! There was a very big cheer when your name was announced last year as the winner!! And yay for the chocolate rewards system – I need to implement one of those myself 🙂

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Aw thanks, Hélène. Yes, we find chocolate really encourages people to write!
      Hugs

      Reply
  11. Easy E

     /  April 29, 2011

    You are a beautiful wonderful person. Always ready to help and always giving out words of encouragement.

    Easy E suggests you leave your husband and come away with me !!!!!!

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      LOL For the record, people might want to know that Easy E is the alter ego of my own dark hero and husband of 30 years, Ed :))
      Love you too much!

      Reply
  12. Hey Serena, I was about to use the words ‘wonderful’ and ‘lovely’ (ie you are the most wonderful and lovely – get the picture?) but you’ve got as many ‘lovlies’ and ‘wonderfuls’ among these comments as I have ‘buts’ and ‘justs’ in my latest WIP LOL. I have to find a another word to describe you. How about fantabulous. Bet you won’t get too mnay of that word!!!!! hehehehehe
    Great blog BTW

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Oh aren’t you wonderful and lovely, Jenn! And yes, you can lay claim to fantabulous, though I am humbled by your words.
      Hugs

      Reply
  13. Hi Serena. 
    Loved reading your blog. 
    I feel extremely lucky to have met you & all the wonderful friends I’ve made through the MRWG. Not only are you amazing & encouraging with my writing, but you’re so warm & supportive & incredibly caring as a friend. I feel as if I won the lottery, starting that first meeting when I was so unsure & nervous, and you made me feel as if I belonged, as if I was already a long-standing member. 
    Thank you for being you. 
    Michelle

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Thanks so much, Michelle. You seemed to have fitted in from the moment you walked into that first MRWG meeting 🙂 We’re lucky to have so many wonderful members – new and not so new. It really is a great place to be for support and friendship (and chocolate!)
      Hugs

      Reply
  14. Gia Murphy

     /  April 29, 2011

    And definitely deserve that win Serena.

    Thanks for the ideas for saving. I’ve lost count of the times I lost everything I had slaved over, even though I had supposely saved it. Just have to add. Make sure you save before you print.

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Thanks for saying that, Gia. I learnt the hard way about saving too :-/
      Hugs

      Reply
  15. Elvina Payet

     /  April 29, 2011

    Congrats on this article!
    As I’ve told you many times, I’m blessed to have you in my life. You’ve been a wonderful support through good times and bad, and I consider you my big sister.
    You give help to so many people and the Lynne Wilding Award was a small indication of everyone’s thanks! I wish I could have been there to hear the cheer.
    The MRWG couldn’t survive without you (and neither could I)!
    Love you heaps
    Elvina

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Thanks, Elvina. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life – we’ve come a long way since we both joined the MRWG just months apart. And I should add here that it was the Romance Writers of Australia that led me to the MRWG. I’ve never looked back since then 🙂

      Hugs and thanks for your lovely words. They mean a lot to me.

      Reply
  16. Hi Serena,
    Great blog. You were indeed a worthy winner of the Lynne Wilding Award. You are a skilld editor and a great writer. You have helped so many writers over a lot of years. I value your friendship and the comradeship you offer at MRWG, not to mention the chokkies.

    Best wishes

    Margaret

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 29, 2011

      Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for saying such lovely things about me. We’ve known each other for many years, too! The MRWG had led me to many great friendships. Thanks for stopping by.
      Hugs

      Reply
  17. Eileen

     /  April 29, 2011

    Go Serena, aka Sailor Moon. You know, she can be forceful when she needs to be. Interesting answers.

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 30, 2011

      Hi Eileen,
      I will really have to watch it now to find out all about Princess Serena!
      Thanks for dropping by.
      Hugs

      Reply
  18. Wonderful insights, Serena. I don’t know what I can say to add to comments already made, except to echo each and every one of them.

    You are a wonderful friend and MRWG colleague, and incredibly supportive of other writers. You deserve all the accolades here and elsewhere.

    As for Easy E, I can feel a session of stirring and torment coming on….

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 30, 2011

      Aw thanks, Cheryl. It means a lot to me for you to say that.

      Stirring and torment? Ed’s always been a bit of a stirrer – don’t know about the torment ;-P

      Hugs

      Reply
  19. Hi Serena!!

    Great blog! And love the pics! Your muses are tres cool!!

    Take care sweetie and hugs to everybody including you! 🙂

    Cher

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 30, 2011

      Thanks, Cher. I appreciate you dropping in from the USA!!
      Hugs

      Reply
  20. Oh and CONGRATULATIONS on the Lynne Wilding award!! Yay!!

    Cher

    Reply
  21. Serena, you are a powerhouse!
    You deserve the LW award and more 🙂
    You’re always willing to help and lend an ear.
    Nic x

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  April 30, 2011

      Thanks, Nic. I appreciate you saying that. Thanks for dropping in.
      Hugs

      Reply
  22. Dorothy Fisher

     /  April 30, 2011

    Hi Serena,
    Loved hearing about your writing life. Regarding your desk, I’m going to put some pink quartz on mine too. Known you for about as long as I’ve been writing romance and must say that you’re a really wonderful and giving person. I have learned a great deal from you about writing and friendship and the value of being optimistic. I’m really happy to see your light shining again in a public forum.
    Hugs
    Dorothy

    Reply
  23. Serena

     /  April 30, 2011

    Thanks, Dorothy. I remember meeting you at the last Melbourne Conference and you were wearing the little chick on your name tag – which meant you were a newbie. And somehow we just clicked! It’s lovely to have you as part of the MRWG and as part of my world.

    Hugs

    Reply
  24. Emmie Dark

     /  May 1, 2011

    Hi Serena,

    Really glad to hear about your little object collection for your writing desk! I have similar things that make no sense to anyone but me — a stuffed turtle, a statue of the Eiffel Tower amongst others. I’m not sure if they help overly with the writing for me, but they can’t hurt!

    Thanks for all the work you do to support romance writers — including me!

    Cheers,
    Emmie

    Reply
    • Serena

       /  May 3, 2011

      Hi Emmie,
      Your little collection sounds very inspiring too. And it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you.
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Hugs

      Reply
  25. Dear Serena, what a delightful article. I totally agree that you are the kindest of souls, and have always found your insights and comments on my writing to be very encouraging. Congratulations on the LW award!
    Hugs,
    Ria.

    Reply

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