A Day in the Writing Life of … Nikki Logan

Welcome Nikki and thank you for sharing a day in your writing life…

Nikki Logan writes nature-based stories for Harlequin (Sweet in Au/NZ, Romance in the US and Cherish and Riva in the UK). She believes the richness and risk of falling in love are perfectly mirrored by the beauty and danger of wild places.

 What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write? Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work? Do you have a special system in place in order to begin writing or go with the flow? I always read a chapter (ish) to get back up to speed with the pace of the scene I’m about to work on and the emotions of the characters in it. I usually have a mental picture of the scene I’m about to write (as opposed to a scene-plan or notes etc) and usually I know what the scene is hoping to achieve so then I just throw my characters in and point them directly to that purpose and see what happens.

Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser?  I am a planter. Or a plotster.  I like to know roughly what happens in key points of my story, and where I have to be by a certain point in the story arc. I definitely like to know what my ending is going to be all about. But around that I like to let my subconscious do the writing. I like my characters to tell me what’s going to happen next. So I tend to be very flexible with the story. The exception is if I get stuck/blocked. I’ll go back and sketch out the purpose of all the scenes leading up to the block point and then really crunch a plan for the scene. And then that usually gets me going again. And almost always I end up rewriting it because that kind of micro-focus on the craft tends to strip my voice from the scene. But… it gets me moving again and that’s what counts.

What writing tools do you favour? Tosser alert: this is how I write… I see a scene play out in my head and my job is to keep up and capture on the page what I ‘see’. I blame my filmic mind and it’s why my stories tend to be so visual. I’ll gallop along like that for pages (until the scene has played out in my mind) and then stop, go back and tweak to fix up all the subtle things ruined by the crazy rush. My base writing process is so immediate—subconscious creative thought straight to fingers—that I would be lost without a good keyboard and my 80wpm touch typing. 

 Therefore, the most important tools in my office are healthy fingers/wrists and my Goldtouch tenting keyboard.

 Breasts are the enemy of healthy wrists, particularly (ahem…) larger ones, particularly larger ones on an already large torso. Traditional keyboards force your hands close together which means your shoulders are working against a ‘spring’ for hours and (in my case) my elbows, too, squeezing in against my thick middle (*see how many creative ways I have of not saying ‘fat’ 😉 I should be a writer… ) and so strain injuries increase. A skinny, small-breasted writer has one-third of the stress on her shoulders/elbows as I do. And when you sit and write for hours…

 But… tenting keyboards take the ‘ergo’ principles and really make them flexible. You can pull the two halves of the keyboard as far apart as your body needs to reduce the spring factor. You can even tent right up and type kind of sideways.

It took me about a day to get used to the layout/functionality and now I have one at work as well. I simply cannot bear to write on a normal keyboard for more than about an hour. But on my Goldstar I can write all day long. Think it cost me about $150 but given I forked out over $1500 on a years worth of chiro to fix my first instance of writing related tendonitis… A bargain! I’ve never had wrist strain again.

 Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity? I originally used a ‘collage’ board to pin images relevant to the story I was working on at the time. But since I got a widescreen monitor I tend to litter those things on the desktop instead. Because of the extra width, I can have a couple of images on the right-hand-side of the screen while working on my WIP on the left.

 The hero’s boat. The heroine’s forest hideaway. A scruffy dog. A cute kid. A particular artwork. Whatever might be in the scene.

But I always keep my hero and heroine on my PC desktop until that story is finished so I really ‘live’ with them.

 As a result I have the most mammoth ‘inspiration’ folder on my computer filled with heroes and heroines of all types, individual body parts, tattoos, outfits. I’ve even started a gruesome one for injuries which are really handy. One day some tech guy is going to look at that stuff and call the police J

Can you name five objects that are always on or near your work desk while you write?   1. A dog. Possibly two. They love to sleep on my study floor or in the doorway while I’m writing. It doesn’t feel right without them here.

2. Crockery…multiple. Tea mugs, snack plates, water glasses. My home office is at the front of the house and the kitchen is waaaaay at the back. So I tend to stock up with supplies for a day of writing.

3. Reference collection: Thesaurus, Oxford Concise, Dictionary of Dreams, Baby Names, Dictionary of Idioms, Dictionary of Quotations. You never know when you might need to know something. 

4. Quotation: It’s the only ‘permanent’ thing stuck to my office wall. An anonymous quote that used to be stuck to my father’s old desk (literally, the same piece of paper).

If writers stopped writing there’d be nothing for art directors to art direct, film companies to film, researchers to research, media people to place, and everyone and his dog to express expert opinion on.

www.nikkilogan.com.au – A Romance with Nature

 ‘Friends to Forever’ – (Harlequin Sweet) March (AU/NZ)

Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong’ (M&B Riva) April (UK)

‘A Kiss to Seal the Deal’ (M&B Cherish) July (UK/US)

Rapunzel in New York’ (M&B Riva) July (UK)

       Thank you Nikki for participating on our blog.

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25 Comments

  1. Oh wow, Nikki, I’ve clearly been living under a rock as I’ve never seen a split keyboard before. What a fantastic tool. I may not be able to claim generous sizing in the breast area but none the less find typing on my laptop more wearying than on a larger keyboard. Now I understand why! Thank you 🙂

    And I know exactly what I mean about a tech guy notifying the police there’s a nutter on the loose should they ever delve into a writer’s computer! And I keep deleting my history for the same reason – who knew there were so many sites on how to make bombs!!

    Thanks for another lovely interview, ladies!

    Reply
    • Helene… Ha! I hadn’t even thought of all the non skin-toned stuff I might have that could be used against me in a court of law. No bombs on mine as far as I’m aware though 🙂

      I LOVE my tenting keyboard. Sensationally easy to get used to. And they work with Macs which will please the Mac folk.

      Good to see you here!
      *Nikki*

      Reply
  2. Love that quote Nikki!!! How very, very wise!

    Reply
  3. Louise Reynolds

     /  May 13, 2011

    Great interview, Nikki! Love the quote and that fabulous keyboard. Also enjoyed learning more about how you write. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  4. Anita Joy

     /  May 13, 2011

    Cool keyboard, Nikki! I certainly have no concerns about my chest inhibiting my writing *sigh*, but in the winter months the many layers of clothing I wear to try and keep warm does, lol.

    I’m like you, a visual writer and ‘see’ what I write, but rather than a film, mine is more like a series of stills – guess my brain hasn’t cottoned onto ‘moving pictures’ yet .

    Reply
    • It’s funny how the brain works, isn’t it. Maybe I just grew up telling the stories in my head and never grew out of it?

      Reply
  5. Hi Nikki,
    Loved your answers. I’ve become more of a plotser lately, but I think that has more to do with me writing Historical romance as I need to know I’ve have things right. Had to laugh at your desk before book and during book.

    Sandie

    Reply
    • There was one more photo I was too ashamed to add, Sandie. The ‘after’ book picture. Looked like a cyclone had gone through 😉

      Yes, imagine if I was writing paranormal or historical or (definitely) intrigue I’d need to plot more and pants less in order to keep the worldbuilding or mystery arc straight. But as it is I’m just free to gallop off into the mist ….

      Reply
  6. Oh, look at your workspace, Nikki. Lovely – both before and during (if that’s as messy as it gets, my hat off to you). Hey, what’s number 5 of objects near you?

    Reply
    • Just realised a whole question got missed out… the one about the desk space. Here’s the original answer…

      Part of my writing ritual when I hand in a book is to spring clean my office. Then over the space of the next book it slowly returns to its natural state – a mess. These before and after shots are pretty typical.

      Somehow, it reflects the state of my mind while writing. I start with a clear vision of what story I’m trying to tell and then as I go along my mind gets cluttered with extra facts, character information, ideas… And I keep them all handy in case they’re needed until the book is S.O.L.D.

      Reply
    • Oh, and I forgot #5. Would be radio. For years I had a ‘Hello Kitty’ waterproof one but have just graduated to a CD player for better quality. I like to listen to Classical music while I edit. Like silence during the writing phase though. So is good to have it handy.

      Reply
  7. Tracey Turner

     /  May 13, 2011

    Have to agree that its a great quote and I’m sure it has proved to be inspiring at times. Also have never seen a keyboard quite like yours. have seen ones that were slightly curved but they just made me uncomfortable. I might have to try yours out. Also smiled when I read your listing of your dogs as important writing buddies – my writing seems to flow more when my cat is relaxing in my room too. Must be a four legged thing – perhaps they are our muses. Glad to see some new books coming up soon. Have a great weekend.
    Tracey Turner

    Reply
    • They totally ARE our muses. When I lost my Larry earlier in the year the house was so horribly quiet wihtout his little clawed feet pattering up and down the hall as he went about his business, I really struggled to write without him there. My cat doesn’t come and sit, though, she walks endelssly across the desk, across my keyboard, tries to crawl into my (non existant) lap…

      So unfortuantely she’s banished unless she’s prepared to sleep on the sofa.

      Reply
  8. Planter and Plotser – love it!

    …And your keyboard looks like you broke it in half in a fit of writer’s rage!

    I know what you mean about the weird things writer’s look up on the net, my history must look rather strange too 😉 (Helene – the CIA, or whatever the aussie version is called, probably already have a file on you!)

    Reply
    • Heh Juliet. Fortunately it wouldn’t take them long to find all the stories filled with all those facts and realise I was telling truth! My greatest concern when techs have my computer is that they’ll read or somehow tamper with my manuscripts and I won’t notice and I’ll send it off to the publisher with something terrible in it (paranoid much!?)

      Reply
  9. Well, I guess if the FBI/CIA/CSI/Mi5/TRG were to seize all our computers and bring us in for questioning about our interest in bomb making, murder and mayhem, we could all share a jail cell and drive the prison guards crazy with questions on what could happen to our heros/heroines in prison … for research of course! 🙂
    I read my written chapters to my Daschund. If they’re okay, she grumbles. If they’re really bad, she turns her back on me. And if they’re really, really bad, she gets up and walks out … mmm, nothing like a good critique partner!
    Great interview and love the quote.

    Reply
  10. Hi Nikki,
    I loved reading about your writing life.

    By the way, you are voluptuous, huggable, a ‘real’ woman with breasts skinny women envy.

    S 0X0X0XX

    Reply
  11. Haaahaa. God love you Shayne Collier 🙂 Could have used you along for moral support yesterday when trying on clothes for Leah Ashton’s wedding this afternoon.

    Am somewhat ‘born again’ when it comes to the virtues of this keyboard. It cures so many ills…

    Reply
  12. I love the planter or ploster – I realise that’s me. I do love to plot but I also like to change as I go. – and then re-plot!

    Reply
  13. Hi Nikki

    What a fab glimpse into your writer’s life. Of course you’re a planter, nature girl. 🙂 And I love the before and during shots of your desk. One of my favourite things is pics of writers’ writing spaces; they’re a perfect illustration of “show don’t tell”.

    Hope you found the perfect dress for the wedding.

    Bron

    Reply
  14. Jennifer St George

     /  May 15, 2011

    Hi Nikki

    Loved reading about your writing life.

    Sorry, but you call that desk, during writing, messy? Ha – you have no idea what messy is. Most days I spend about an hour just trying to find my computer under the crap on my desk!!!

    Have your latest book looking at me on my bedside table. Just trying finish the current book and then you are on.

    Cheers
    Jen
    xx

    Reply
  15. Nikki, I am ashamed to say I only read one of your books, The Soldier’s Untammed Heart”, for the very first time a couple of weeks ago and had to take the opportunity here to say how much I enjoyed it. I love finding new authors whose books I love, especially when I know there are other books by her still to find and read!
    Thank you for sharing some of your writing life here. It is always interesting to read the various ways we go about getting our books out there.

    older release as I know there will be

    Reply

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