As one of my novels is about to appear on Amazon, Sebastian K., who's done basically everything, says people would like to know about my writing. So here's a quick history.
In the beginning
When I first began writing, I was frightened and perplexed. Frightened that I couldn’t say what I had to say in any readable way. Perplexed as to how to end the stories I started. But I couldn’t not write either, so on I fiddled-faddled for many years.
One day, I said to myself: stop fiddle-faddling. Just finish a story. Since I had a job and small children at the time, I started getting up at five or six to write for a couple of hours. Finally I finished Quince. And started working on others.
The work takes form
The more stories I finished, the more I wanted to write something longer—and for longer. Fortunately this coincided with meeting and marrying my second husband, a corporate lawyer who worked 25-hour days and was away more than he was home. Travel for my job was actually increasing and with five children between us, someone had to give; it was quite happily me.
I was used to working at home and working alone, so I thought it would be easy to write my novel. I’d just sit down every morning at my desk as I’d always done. That part I managed. Staying put was another matter. With my job, someone was waiting for a memo or a report. Not so with fiction and I had a million excuses to get up: putting in or taking out another one of the countless loads of laundry we did with all those children, answering the phone, looking at the mail, thinking about what to feed five fussy children for supper. I’d make morning appointments. It was amazing, really, how easy it was to fill up a day and feel empty in the evening.
This went on for a year. Once again, I had to say to myself: stop fiddle-faddling. But how?
Dividing the light from the darkness
The answer, it turned out, was quite simple, though again, I was fortunate. We had an empty chambre de service (the more politically correct term for what used be called une chambre de bonne) on the top floor of the building that just needed rewiring and a fresh coat of paint. Every morning, after taking the children to school and walking Lily, the dog we now had, I forced myself upstairs for the morning. I forced myself to produce at least 300 words, then 500, or with luck, more. In any case, I could not come downstairs before 12h30. And I stopped making morning appointments.
Writing, I discovered, was like a factory job. I just had to establish my shift. Then the words would come. Not always flowing, eloquent reams of text but words nevertheless. And it was much easier to edit and remodel than to stare at an empty screen, when I sat down again in the late afternoon or the next morning.
Being fruitful and multiplying
It turned out I was just like the dog: once the routine was established, it was easy, even pleasurable, to follow it. In the way Lily’s inner clock always told her when it was time to go out, my brain somehow knew to get working.
And that’s the way I’ve finished two and a half novels, plus a slew of short stories.