Diet Dr. Pepper and Other Secrets of My Success, by Karen White
I’ll admit it: I’m a creature of habit. I do the laundry every Thursday, change the linens every Monday, grocery shop every Sunday. Pilates every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday whether I’m still crippled from the last class or not. I have a similar routine for exfoliating my face, deep conditioning my hair, and grooming my dog (not at the same place).
As with my daily routines, my writing environment has to be a ‘certain way’ as well. I have a home office where I do the “business” side of writing. But for my creative writing, I use my sitting room upstairs—complete with fireplace, lots and lots of bookshelves, a coffee bar, and a refrigerator for my absolutely required Diet Dr. Pepper (my addiction while writing). I sit in a chair with an ottoman because I can’t write creatively while sitting at a desk. I recently acquired a larger chair because my dog, Quincy, apparently can’t stand to see me write a book alone and insists on Velcro-ing himself to my side whenever I sit in my writing chair. Hence the need for a wider one!
He’s been with me for the last six novels so I guess he’s become my good luck charm. And because he’s so good at what he does, I decided to reward him and put him in The House on Tradd Street and its sequel, The Girl On Legare Street. In the books his name has been changed to General Lee at Quincy’s request since it’s hard for him to answer fan mail without an opposable thumb.
All of this routine makes one think that my writing must be horribly organized, too. And that would be wrong. I follow no rules when it comes to writing. I don’t pre-write, or plan, or character sketch, or make calendars, or outline. I sit down and start to write. Period. It does make my life much more chaotic than it needs to be, and it also makes the writing process take so much longer since I have to spend a seemingly inordinate amount of time staring at an empty screen wishing I knew what was supposed to happen next.
So, in an attempt at self-preservation, I have tried to be more organized about it. I’ve written an outline, planned out each character, scene and ‘black moment.’ And ended up with just blah. It just doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini and seem to have a split personality where my writing is concerned. And in other aspects of my life, too, according to my family. But I digress.
[amazonify]0451231449[/amazonify]The good news is that I end up with a book I (and hopefully my readers, too) will love. The bad news is that I don’t get a lot of sleep. Which leads me to my biggest luxury: my naps. As a napper, I join such other illustrious nappers as Windston Churchill and Gandhi so it can’t be a bad thing, right? Like the rest of my life, it is scheduled and judiciously guarded. Even my kids know not to bother me during my naptime or fear being sent to an orphanage.
Recently, after 23 years of marriage, I upgraded from a queen-sized four-poster bed to a California king mahogany sleigh bed—with a Tempurpedic mattress. My naps have reached Nirvana status. And as I near a book deadline, I’ve been known to make my bed command central: me in the middle surrounded by my laptop, research books, iPhone, and, of course, Quincy. It makes naps easier that way, too, since I just have to slump over a bit before passing out from exhaustion.
No, there will be no pictures of me in the midst of deadline dementia. But as a special treat, here’s a picture of Quincy on “our” bed. And it doesn’t get any better than that.
I have 1 copy of Falling Home to giveaway!
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