Today we are featuring a blog post by, Sue Moorcroft who has kindly agreed to share a day in her writing life. Welcome, Sue.
What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer? I work office hours, really. Quite long office hours. I’m at my machine about 7.30am and leave it about 6.00pm. I often find that my creativity is best in the afternoon and I don’t want to stop writing. I am a creative writing tutor and comp judge, too, so that work tends to happen in the mornings.
Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary? I love my study, and that’s where I do most of my writing, except when I’m travelling, when it may be a train/hotel/café/pub. I took these photos when I was at the end of a second draft. The scruffy paper in the copyholder to the right of my Mac is some of the notes I’ve made for my third draft. The sort of long scarf of paper draped over the drawer is the time line for the novel. Along the top shelf on the wall is my immodest collection of books I’ve written and anthologies and magazines I’ve contributed to. My study is my communication centre, my hidey hole, my filing system, my space. And if you wonder what the furry thing is, under the desk, it’s a foot muff my son bought me last Christmas!
Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work? Yes, I usually read the previous writing session’s output and edit it a bit, then move on with the current day’s words. This might sound a bit clinical and other writers will say that they take as much time over every segment as it deserves, but an unstructured working system began to work against me. I used editing, which I enjoy, as a work-avoidance tactic. OK, I WAS working, but the book wasn’t moving forward. It came to a head when I wrote 5000 one Monday, which is a massive number, for me, and by Friday I’d edited them down to 2000. I decided something had to change so now I move through the first draft in the manner I’ve described and leave much of the editing until the second draft. For me, a first draft is like giving birth. Second and subsequent drafts are holding the baby in my arms and cooing.
What writing tools do you favour? Long hand, computer …..I write mainly onto my computer, as I’m a touch typist. But I do a lot of planning in longhand. The ideas seem to need a pen in my hand to flow. I use lots of bits of scrap paper, computer files and sticky notes with ideas on, too. Some of them get incorporated and some don’t. It’s a bit of a compost heap. I have a specific use for sticky notes when I need to plot carefully. I write ideas and incidents on them, sticking them on the wall and then moving them around a bit. Because, in the photo, the plotting is done, my wall is empty.
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? I do stretch, during the day, and I run up and down stairs, to get drinks. I also do zumba and yoga at a nearby gym on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which gets me out of the study, into the company of other people, and gives me exercise. I have a piano lesson most Thursdays. These are probably the only ways I take time out to rest my eyes. I often give myself ten minutes in the afternoon to clear my mind, though. I watch a music video or play a computer game. Guess there’s not much eye resting goes on then!
Is your writing space messy, organized or somewhere in between? I’m not scared to send photos! J When I get a book off to my publisher, I have a mass tidy up and dust. In between, it gets messier and messier – but I do know exactly where everything is, even if some of it’s on the floor. From the pics, you can tell that I’m in the latter stages of a book.
What is your favourite form of procrastination? I do occasionally like to think myself into the day with a computer game – the mechanical ones like Tetris, rather than platform games or word games. And I do sometimes think, ‘Just one more game,’ about ten times. But, on the whole, I’m pretty good. I have a lot of work commitments and my bank account keeps emptying. These are things to keep my work ethic healthy.
What’s the last thing do you do before you finish your daily writing session? Close the document and save it to two email accounts on the Net. That way, if a burglar comes in the night and steals every computer/disc/hard drive/memory stick in the house, I can go to the library, or someone else’s house, and carry on working. I lost All That Mullarkey, once, because of a computer meltdown. After being frozen in horror for a couple of days, I realised I’d sent a slightly earlier draft to a friend to read and, bliss, she still had it and could email it to me. I nearly cried in relief. Since then, I have been much more backup aware!
My most recent book, Love & Freedom, came out in Australia in September 2011. I’m incredibly proud that Love & Freedom won the UK’s Best Romantic Read Award 2011. I’m a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.
Again, thank you Sue, for participating. Please check out Sue’s website for more info : www.suemoorcroft.com