Thursday, January 22, 2015

A day in the life of a this writer. . .

I love telling stories! It’s a blessing to able to work from home and be somewhat flexible with my schedule. I say “somewhat” because now that are children are grown, I write full-time, Monday through Friday, for six to seven hours a day. My most creative time of the day is in the morning—after about 3 o’clock smoke begins to come out of my ears!

To offset all those hours spent at my desk, I go to the gym three or four times a week. At 6 a.m.! When we get home, I’ll usually start a load of laundry, make breakfast, put something in the crock pot for supper -- basically get things in shape so I don’t have to think about them for the rest of the day!
After hubby leaves for work, I spend some time with God, which means praying, reading scripture and doing some sketching/journaling. By the time I finish, it’s about 8:30. If it gets later than that, Bailey and Sophie (my dog and cat) will wait for me at the top of the stairs. They have a routine, too—sleeping beside my desk while I work!
I know some author friends who write in their jammies but it’s always worked best for me to treat writing as a “job”. I get dressed and put on a little makeup (most days!), and then I go upstairs to my office. For some reason, it helps me make that psychological transition from “home” to “work.” Once I’m there, I don’t answer the phone unless it’s my husband or one of our three children (they know I’m there!), and I try not to check email or Facebook page until my ten o’clock break.  
That said, one of the most challenging things about working from home is the many ways I can procrastinate if I get stuck during the writing process! Watching the birds outside the window. Warming up my tea. . .three times. Rearranging my bookshelf. Searching for chocolate in the desk drawer. . .
I wish I could be one of those writers who take their laptop to Starbucks (although I would have to drive 45 minutes to get to one!), but I do my best thinking in a quiet setting. No television, no Pandora. I love music, though, and I have a playlist for every book I write. It’s on my iPod, so when I’m at the gym, I’m getting inspiration for the characters before I put my fingers on the keyboard.
My office overlooks the woods, so it’s a very inspiring place to work. I’m surrounded by photographs of my family and things that are special to me, like a coffee cup from the Strand Bookstore in New York City and seashells my son brought me from Hawaii. I have a small, free-standing chalkboard that I write quotes, thoughts, or Bible verses on. Right now, I have a quote from Ann Voskamp. “The way you live your ordinary days is what adds up to your one extraordinary life.” Love that one!
In arm’s reach are some of my favorite “tools of the trade”. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, Story by Robert McKee, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, these books sharpen my skills while Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp challenge and encourage my soul.
I’m kind of old school in that I do my character studies on gigantic Post-It notes. I used to be a
total seat-of-the-pants writer but after attending some amazing workshops by authors who are plotters (and writing myself into many, many corners!) I’ve started using a combination of the two. When I’m writing a long contemporary romance like The Dandelion Field, there are more characters and a lot more going on, so plotting keeps the story from bunching up in places.
Fun fact: When I finish a manuscript and hit the “send” button, I celebrate the next day by cleaning my desk . . . which only proves that writers can be a little quirky! J But then again, we have to be. The writing life is exhilarating and exhausting, it’s input and it’s output, it’s a career but it’s also a calling. . .all at the same time!

But I can’t not write.

“My heart bursts its banks,
spilling beauty and goodness.
I pour it out in a poem to the king,
shaping the river into words.”
                                                Psalm 45:1 (The Message) 

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USA Today bestselling author Kathryn Springer grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent hours at her mother’s typewriter, plunking out stories about horses that her older brother “published” (he had the stapler) for a nominal fee. Kathryn loves writing about imperfect people, small towns and a great big God. When she isn’t at the computer, you’ll find her curled up (in the sun!) with a good book, spending time with her family and friends or walking the trails near her country home.


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