A little Q & A


Ooooh, Kel’s been getting lots of email lately. Very cool! On Sunday, I was asked the following question:

“How come you don’t blog about your writing process or the publishing industry like most other writers out there do? Just curious.”

Fair enough. For those of you who are interested…

A. My “writing process” consists of:

1. Lying down on the couch for about half an hour each morning, imagining the scene(s) I’m about to write in as much detail as possible. I especially focus on what the setting and/or characters smell like. (Seriously.) Once I’ve got that, I’m all set. Then I:

2. Take a shower. For some reason, that helps my creativity flow more smoothly. Possibly it’s the hot water loosening everything up. Plus it’s easier to concentrate on what the scene(s) smell like when I’m not distracted by my own B.O. Afterwards I:

3. Pour myself a giant mug of coffee (cream and one spoonful of brown sugar), then sit at my computer. I plug myself into my iTunes playlist (which varies, depending on the mood of the scene I’m about to write. For example, yesterday, while writing about a gruesome and gory murder, I put “Epic” by Faith No More on repeat). I listen quietly for a few minutes so I can “get into character.” Then I start writing.

Exciting, no?

You’re right. No.

B. My thoughts on the publishing industry?

Well, I published my novel myself, so that should give you a hint. Zoe articulated my feelings pretty well yesterday when she broke down a recent New York Times article about the state of the publishing industry. My favorite snipit was a quote from a literary agent who gauges what she thinks will sell based on, “Just a feeling.’ She described it as a tingling that went up her spine.” Zoe’s response? “I’m sorry, but I’m not pinning my hopes and dreams on whether or not your spine tingles. See a Chiropractor and read a business book.”

Amen.

I have spoken a little about this subject on this blog here and also here. I think I best summed up my own frustration in a letter to a friend last spring:

“I’ve become rather disenchanted with the publishing business–not because I can’t get published, but because of the reasons I’ve been given. I’m not commercial enough for the “mainstream” agents (for lack of a better term), and not educated enough for the more literary crowd. I guess what I wonder about is this: If a book is “well-written, with engaging characters and a good story” then how is it not marketable? Isn’t that the reason people buy books? Or, if my writing is good, why does it matter that I don’t have an degree?”

So there you have it. Next time I’ll be answering questions about fan fiction and whether or not Waiting For Spring reflects my personal viewpoint on vigilante justice.

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About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of Waiting For Spring. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and created episodes of the writer-centric YouTube series, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She co-hosted Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran from 2011-2014. She lives in Central Maine with her family, where she enjoys gardening, collecting geeky memorabilia, and watching other people cook. View all posts by R.J. Keller

7 responses to “A little Q & A

  • Robin

    I do the shower thing, too! (Not the smell thing, though.)

  • bunnygirl

    Hm. My process is quite the opposite. I have no ideas in the morning beyond basic survival. I write late at night after the spouse and critters have gone to bed, so I know I won’t be disturbed.

    One could argue that being up so damn late every night is why I have no working brain cells to devote to morning creativity, and that would probably be correct. But there’s also this pesky “job” place I have to go every morning, and they don’t appreciate creativity in making compensation decisions. Being fired up to create in the morning would only be a waste of energy.

  • R.J. Keller

    Robin, a lot of writers I know get inspired in the shower. It would be awesome if someone would invent a waterproof laptop.

    BG, I’ve always been more of a night person creatively speaking, but since I came off graveyard shift and started homeschooling my kids, I’ve had to adjust. There are times when I’ve stayed up all night writing in spite of that (last night being an example…when I posted this entry at 5:30, I was just heading into bed, not crawling out of it. I can’t turn my back on the muses when they’re whispering. And I suppose an hour and a half nap is better than nothing.

  • Kit Courteney

    Fab pic!

  • Kit Courteney

    Sorry – that was extremely shallow of me.

    :0o

  • Zoe Winters

    hehehe I like your process, it’s cool!

  • Zoe Winters

    And holy god, reading back on your earlier post that you linked, I was a fired up and angry little teapot.

    I had no idea I was coming off that pissed off. And I was worried that my snarky commentary on the publishing industry on my blog the other day was coming off bitchy.

    Damn. I think, even though I have severe issues with certain ways certain things are run, and mainly just the unfair stigma against indie authors (though the readers don’t hold this view, only the professionals in the industry and other writers) that since I “officially” decided what I was doing and stopped waffling, I’ve gotten enough peace about it to be a tiny bit less angsty. Or at least I hope so. Coming off as a raving bitter bitch is not my goal in life, haha!

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