Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#TuesdayswithTaryn Welcomes Back @JudyAlter What's your #writing pattern? #mystery #author

Tuesdays with Taryn
Revisit with Judy Alter

Please help me in welcoming back mystery author (and fellow TMPer), Judy Alter as she shares with us about her writing pattern- Take it away Judy!
What’s your writing pattern?

Lately an aphorism has been making the rounds on Facebook: “A writer never has a vacation. Life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” I wholeheartedly agree, especially if you add marketing under the umbrella of “thinking about writing.” Writers can no longer just write. They have lots of other responsibilities to their careers—social media, writing guest blogs, planning launches and ordering bookmarks and flyers and ad infinitum.
What concerns me these days is the lack of actual writing time. I am retired and theoretically I stay home all day every day—plenty of time to write. In reality it doesn’t work out that way. I admire writers who sit at their desk every day, without fail, from six in the morning until noon or six at night until midnight. I simply can’t do it. Life gets in the way.
Last week I was on a writing spurt. I totaled about 10,000 words for the week. This week (and this is Thursday) I have not written one more word on that novel, though I have jotted down notes for future directions it will take—those three o’clock in the morning thoughts. Yes, I’m always thinking about it. But I’ve been writing guest blogs about Trouble in a Big Box, my newest Kelly O’Connell Mystery just now available. I’ve been co-editing a neighborhood newsletter—why do I have the sinking feeling that I will someday find myself editor, that this is a gentle way to edge me into that responsibility? I’ve been welcoming visitors to our church, either by email or phone call.
And then there are those pesky doctor appointments, the grocery store, and the like. Today alone, by nine-thirty I had been to the veterinary clinic, CVS pharmacy, the cleaners, the gas station, and the grocery store. And I really do try to do yoga every day—it keeps me from aching and other age-related problems (I admit I’m what they pretty much call a senior citizen, though there’s some debate about when that classification kicks in and I may not quite be there yet, depending on your point of view).
I also try to blog daily, and now that school has started, I have a first-grader every afternoon. He goes to school right across the street from my house, and we have snacks, do homework, and all that. I adore him and am glad to give the time, but it is about a two-hour chunk out of my day.
And social life. I am not a reclusive writer. I live alone, so my social life is important to me. This week’s schedule: guests for dinner Monday (this meant cooking, though not an elaborate meal); dinner at the local café with neighbors, a Tuesday ritual; Wednesday, a very special evening at a wine bar with my youngest daughter—just the two of us; dinner with a friend Thursday (we try to eat together and catch up once a week); potluck at my daughter’s house for her friends on Friday—they are lovely to welcome the old lady; and company Saturday night.
I chastise myself for not writing, but then another part of me argues that this is what retirement should be about—doing the things I enjoy. And much as I love writing, I cannot do it all day every day. After about a two-hour stretch, my brain frizzles, though I can on “good” days do two of those stretches. Those are the days I write 2,000 words of more. But it worries me that I write in fits and starts. Some part of my conscience says I should write daily—and last week I did set a daily quota of 1,000 words and met it. It’s just that went out the window this week, and next week isn’t looking a lot better.
I’m not sure I want my publisher to read this!
How about you? Do you have a better schedule than I do? Maybe if I gave up those afternoon naps….

Kelly O’Connell Mysteries

Police officer Mike Shandy says that Kelly O’Connell has a real talent for trouble. She maintains that she’s looking out for her daughters and her beloved older, inner-city neighborhood. He says she should let the police do their work and stay out of things. She argues that she would if they’d move fast enough and act on the tips she gives them. She has been vandalized, stalked, almost shot, almost asphyxiated, and faced an unwanted one-way trip to Mexico. Kelly is drawn into crime-solving by her curiosity, her compassion, and her outrage at injustice. Every time she thinks  things will settle down, life throws another puzzling crime in her direction.
Check out Judy's Kelly O'Connell Mysteries on her

Review of Skeleton in a Dead Space-

An endearing sleuth, a skeleton behind the spice cupboard, and a fistful of subplots that will keep you guessing. A nicely done debut by an author to watch.--Susan Wittig Albert, author of the China Bayles mysteries

You can also find out more about Judy on her website and you can meet Kelly O'Connell in the FREE short story "The Village Gaarden"~downloadable on Judy's site here in pdf.

Follow Judy on Twitter
Check out her writer's blog- Judy's Stew
and talk food at Potluck with Judy


Taryn Raye said...

Thanks for joining me again, Judy! I'm usually driven to distraction throughout the day myself. I'm not sure I have a writing pattern. Usually when I start a new manuscript I try to keep myself on a 30 day (NaNoWriMo-inspired) schedule to pump out at least 50,000 if not more words in those 30 days.

Judy Alter said...

Curious, Taryn, how many words a day tht means? I'm currrently trying to do 2,000 a day and finding it okay some days, hard others/

Taryn Raye said...

For NaNo the recommended is 1,667 per day to hit 50K by the 30th of November. I usually aim for 2K or more each day.

Suzanne Lilly said...

Yay! I tried to comment Tuesday, and couldn't but I'm back!

I agree, it's hard to find a writing schedule that works. You're so busy, Judy! You have an incredibly full social calendar.

My time is extremely limited by my job, so I usually write for 45 minutes to an hour each morning. During that time, I don't allow myself to even think about checking email, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. That has been working for me lately.

NaNoWriMo helped me when I first started writing, but now I prefer to just keep to a time frame and write every day.