Monday, May 18, 2009

Getting Started

By Jamie Hill

Sometimes, the hardest part of the creative process is just getting started. I read another blog by an author this week on a similar topic, so I know it's not just me. Anyway, I thought I'd share a bit about how I work with you today.

My process begins as I'm driving down the road, or maybe in the shower. An idea comes to me, and I begin to flesh it out in my mind. I might be struck with a title, or the perfect name, and bits of a plot. First chance I get, I sit down in front of the computer and create a document for the new piece. I quickly jot down the thoughts I had, names, title, whatever. I debate whether to write a story synopsis first, or just start writing. I've done both. It's hard for me to write a synopsis first, but it does make the actual story writing easier.

Before I decide, the little envelope icon pops up indicating I have mail. This might be a reply to my latest submission- an acceptance, hopefully, and not a polite turn down. I must immediately click on the envelope. Turns out, it's the daily digest of one of my ninety Yahoo groups. *sigh* I scan it quickly and notice someone has blogged on an interesting topic, so I dash off to read it real fast. This, of course, leads to several other blogs and a controversial, snarky post with 89 comments. I don't want to read them, but I get sucked in like a vortex, and read a few.

Back to my home page, Yahoo, where I see a headline that chocolate sales haven't been hurt by the economy. Click on that for a quick peek. Leads me to an "Eat this, not that" blog about fast food, another deep sigh and back to Yahoo so I can minimize the screen and get busy. Ooh, Olivia Wilde from House was voted most drool-worthy by the men at Maxim magazine...have to check that out.

Next thing I know, my daily allotment of writing time is over, but that's okay. I've gotten a start on the latest story, so I can feel good about that. Tomorrow will be better.

Tomorrow, I remember the 'start' I got on the project was creating a document with the working title and jotting down the names "Trevor" or "Kurt"? Hmm, seems I have a ways to go. But I do have a weekly blog to write. And a few reviews to edit for a review site. I haven't checked in with Facebook for a while. Twitter gets all my blog feeds, but sometimes I like to pop in for real. Update my covers on Myspace, my book lists on Goodreads, and the four pages I have on Squidoo. Oops, writing time for today is over.

Deadlines save me. Give me a close due date, and you won't see my little face online until the story in question is complete. I get this way every couple of months, almost to the point of insanity. *Can't talk now, Jude, must write, write, write!* Then I finish the story, figure out what I'm going to write next, and wait for that flash of inspiration to arrive.

Checking my list- do I need anything at Wally world? There's a college university between my house and the store, which basically means lots of men walking down sidewalks. Each of them has a story. It's my job to create it. Time to get back to work.


  1. Oh Jamie..

    You are always good for a midday laugh.. I have had my share of those days as well.

    My heart is in the right place, but nothing gets written on paper and I have gotten involved in a whole lot of nothing out here on blogoshpere.

    I don't have a college near me, but i do have a training football ground - and the guys do get tired and sweaty and more often than not - half dress (I am keeping my finger cross for a nude any day now ...

    Back to work ---



  2. Hi Jamie!

    Even though it kind of looks like you;re spacing out, a lot of times what you pick up reading other stuff, the space out stuff, is what jogs your mind to something you need. I often find during that space out period that my unconscious is silently fishing for stuff. You never know what will do it.


  3. And here I thought I was the only one who developed full plots on the highway ....and on the elliptical machine! I felt very unprofessional doing that until I saw your post. Glad I'm not alone!

  4. Oh, I know procrastination well. I can't do it much in my position as a publisher, but if I am working on a story, there's always something else that has to be done. LOL

    Great post!

  5. Okay so - is there a line? I was told I could come here and kick Jamie's cute butt! Am I the first or is the line around back?

    Tee hee.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who clicks on the article about chocolate sales still going strong. You know most of those are from me *BG* lol.

    Great post hon - and I'm happy to give you a kick in your butt anytime you need it! heh heh


  6. Hi EH,

    I don't see how you can read so many books and keep your great blog going. That's a full time job, right there.

    Nude football practice...LOL. Take pictures, will you?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hi Garce,

    Of course you're right, we do need a certain amount of down time to allow our minds to come up with plots and such. I just have to find the balance.

    Have a great day!

  8. Hi Christi,

    The elliptical machine...I wish! It'd be nice to think of plots while I'm on there, but I'm usually panting too hard and watching the timer click down.

    I do great plotting in the car, though, and actually developed my Springsteen series while driving back and forth to visit my husband in a hospital which was an hour away. Making the best of it, I guess.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  9. Hi Marci,

    I used to do my daily writing on a computer without internet access. I got much more done that way. Now there are too many temptations!

    Thanks for commenting!

  10. Hi Ann,

    Sheesh, I should have known someone would take me literally. Just change out of those high heels before the butt kicking commences, will ya?

    Thanks for popping in!

  11. Gulp...90 loops? And here I was feeling overwhelmed with 16...How do you keep them straight?

  12. The hardest part about writing is staying focused. I get sidetracked by the Internet and sometimes just have to stay offline until I finish what I set out to write for the day. Playing music helps me to focus on the story so I usually crank up the music before I set out to write.

  13. Hi Jamie,

    Ann, get behind me, the line is to MY rear...and no, that doesn't mean I'm the target. Nice shoes by the way!

    Jamie, hon, seeing as you and I work together so much, I have a small inkling into how difficult it is for you to not only find the time, but get focused on what you're supposed to be working on. You constantly amaze me.

    Getting sidetracked, sometimes I really feel we need that to recharge or refocus on where we're going. I walk when I need ten minutes or more to get the story moving. Where is it going, what color shorts did Joe have on, why didn't he shower first, or did he? All those details need to find a place in our heads and we need to give them time to gel.

    Now, those sexy hunks wandering around tempt us more than normal women because we know there's a story there. That's another way we come up with ideas too.

    The blogging, MySpacing, updating stuff, those are all business. I often think it's just too much to expect us to keep all these things up as well as get creative. The very thing that makes us who we are also drags us away from what we love. Interesting dilemma.

    Another fantastic post.


  14. Hi Kenzie,

    Many of those loops are large promo or review site places where my publishers sometimes chat. And of course, each publisher has a couple loops for authors and readers to join. Some of them are newsletter groups of my fellow authors. As for the rest, I'm afraid I don't chat as much as perhaps I should, but it all takes too much time away from writing. Balance, again. *G*

    Thanks for dropping in.

  15. Hi Kelley,

    Staying focused is the key, for sure. Sometimes music works in the background for me, and sometimes it distracts me. Must be my mood.

    The internet always distracts me. For instance, I'm supposed to be writing right now! LOL

    Have a great day!

  16. Hi Jude,

    We've talked about this subject a lot, finding the balance between writing and the promotional end of it. I just have to be careful that everything else there is to do doesn't overwhelm me, or I'd never get anything written. I think that happened for a whole month in December, LOL

    And then there's all the research we have to do...*sigh* Man, I am easily distracted.

    Thanks for commenting!


  17. I get plot and character ideas on the Nordic track... got to do something to keep from getting bored.

    Seriously, I understand completely how it is. I was much more productive before I started marketing and networking.

    These days I try to dedicate all of one day a week to writing. Those days, my current WIP has top priority - at least over other net stuff.


  18. Heh heh heh - finally it's my turn to give Jamie a good swift kick in the rear :) So - get to work - what, you think the book will write itself?! Muuhahahhaaaaaa

    ~Ann :)

  19. Lol, I think there's a lot to the idea that writing is 3% inspiration and 97% not getting distracted by the internet :)

    Kim Dare.


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