Saturday, 14 June 2014
Author Takeover: Liz Reinhardt
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Michelle! Happy blogaversary to you!!
The most common question I get about writing is the nuts and bolts "how."
How do you find the time? How do you plot your books? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I'm thinking about that question as I sit at my desk early this morning. School is out for the summer and my kid is home. I figured we'd be able to cram in Disney movie marathons and long hours of Monster High play along with beach trips, barbecues, sleep overs...and writing? My schedule while my daughter was in school was to get up with her, send her off, and write for several hours at a clip in the silence of my office with only my dogs for companions. I feel spoiled even typing that! But shouldn't, because I am spoiled no more!
I started waking up at 4AM. I would get right to work and could get a few hours in before I felt too tired or my girl woke up and wanted to braid my hair or talk about sharks or bake cookies...it varies. I decided to write late at night, but my husband is incredibly good at getting me to watch Orange is the New Black marathons and watch hilarious YouTube videos, so...that didn't work either!
It started to feel a little desperate. A month into summer and I wasn't making much headway on any project...but then I remembered how I wrote Double Clutch. I was, at that time, watching four children from home. They would run outside to play in the yard and I would sit at our back table, typing as much as I could as fast as I could while they dug in the sandbox or played tag. I stopped when they tried to climb over the fence or go down the slide headfirst. That book was written on pure adrenaline, and it felt amazing because writing was my reward to myself for juggling everything else in my life pretty damn well: writing was the only time I had purely for me.
I was a pantser because I had no outline, but that didn't mean the story wasn't formed in my own head. I knew where it was going because Brenna, Jake, and Saxon told me. Which was good and bad. Because sometimes they whispered the most beautiful things, and sometimes they mentioned what would happen and it would rip my heart out!
As I wrote more, I started to plot from necessity. I never sat on my laurels, but success allowed me a little room to breathe, and that negated the need to rush through chapters between bottling and diapering (I was able to write full time, so those activities weren't happening day to day.) With all the new freedom, I expected to write my ass off, but a little of the fire had gone out.
That's the thing I never anticipated. I never thought I'd lose that intense burn I felt when I wrote my first book. But I think that's a little like falling in love. When things were new with my (now) husband and me, he was all I could think about, all I wanted, and everything circled back to him. As we got older, that changed. A decade later, I love him more than ever, but it's a different kind of love. A better, fuller kind, but also calmer. That's how writing is now.
Nuts and bolts? I do what I can. I make time anytime. I plot while building Lego houses with my kids because that's how I let myself fall in love with my books and characters. And, even though time is limited this summer, all those scenes I work out in my head in my days full of laundry and cartoons and forts and swingsets light me on fire in the pockets of time I find here and there. It's not quite the overwhelming crush of my first book, but it's close. And it's better! I need to sign off. My girl is reading Junie B. and I have a few minutes to sneak out a scene that's been on my mind all day...