Amelia Robinson

Hey there! I'm a student at the University of Kentucky and an aspiring writer. This blog serves as an outlet for all the things I want to talk about that are writing-related. I'll post some of my writing, too, for your enjoyment and critique. Thank you for stopping by! If you'd like to know more about me, feel free to visit here!

I Wish I Could Write About My Routine

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I love hearing about my favorite author's writing routine.  They don't vary overly much: there's usually a block of time that the author sets aside to writewritewrite, but even with its simplicity, it's admirable.

(Though, quite honestly, I don't think I could sit and write for hours without some kind of break.  Nor do I think I could write all day long like a full-time job.)

When I interview authors, one of the questions I like to ask is "What's your writing environment like?"  I'm not quite sure what my fascination is.  Maybe it's that I like to know they're real people, too.

One of the things I really wish I could write in a blog post about, is my writing routine.

It's hard to write about a routine you don't have.

One of the things my dad liked to tell me when he was trying to get me to commit to my writing, was how Stephen King was religious in his writing routine.  (I scoffed at first.  Not at Stephen King, but at my dad, who is a non-reader and very much a non-writer.)

It's true, though.  Stephen King has a religious writing routine.  He writes every single day.  And look how many books he's publishing.  Like, a ton every year.

I can admire Stephen King for his ability to write, even if I can't really appreciate his stories.  So this whole idea about writing every day is one I should consider seriously because it's something that works for one of the world's great writers.

So what do I do every day?

My problem is that I don't write every day.  Heck, I'm lucky if I can get my butt in gear long enough to write once a week.

It used to be -- "used to be" referring to a time a long, long time ago -- I loved writing.  I looked forward to doing it every day, but I think it was mostly because I was supposed to be doing other things.  (Read: my schoolwork.)  I wrote my first book in a month.

Now, it wasn't a very good book.  I mean, God, it made Twilight look like the epitome of literary greatness.  But it was a completed manuscript about high school drama and it may or may not have resembled a season of Pretty Little Liars.

I also finished the first draft of a supernatural story about a mind reader.  Again, it sucked, but good grief, first drafts are supposed to suck.  But I was a little older and I'd discovered better things than Twilight and so it was a little better than my first book.

I haven't completed the first draft of a book since that time.  That was six years ago.

My other problem, besides not writing every day, is that I can't keep my focus on a single story.  I hop around like a hyperactive squirrel, from one shiny idea to another.  And I don't know why.  I've tried to force myself to stick with one story, but then I grow resentful and bitter towards whatever I'm working on.

It's times like this when I want to find a nice hard surface to bang my head on.

What I'm doing now is slightly different, and I hope it'll work.

I'm focusing on what I love to read and watch.  I'm starting to actively go over the things that attract me in stories and TV shows.  For example:
  • I love the adventure and hero's journey in the BBC show, Merlin.
  • I love the master-apprentice relationship (and the archery) in the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan.
  • I love the epic stories of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.
  • I love the detailed universe of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, as well as the fantastically presented characters.
  • I love the cleverness in the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.
  • I love the romance in Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.
That was an abbreviated list, but one of the things I noticed was that whatever genre it is, I'm sure to fall head over heels in love with a hero's journey.

Now, there's something I can work with: I love hero's journeys.

The good news is that I've seen hero's journeys in more than one genre.  For example: Harry Potter and Percy Jackson (modern fantasy), Eragon and Ranger's Apprentice and Merlin (medieval fantasy), and Star Wars (science fiction).

What I'm doing now is actively noticing things I love in stories and writing them down.  And I've got this story idea brewing in my head but I'm not forcing it out.  I'm giving it no more than a passing glance, so as not to scare it into taking a single shape.  I want it to be whatever it wants to be, not what I think it should be.

What I do know, though, is that there's a boy and his story goes throughout his adolescence and into young manhood.  I don't know his name, but I can picture him.

Strangely enough, I haven't written about a boy before.  I haven't written a classic-style hero's journey, like the kind I adore reading and watching.  So this is different for me as a writer.  All of the main characters in the big projects I've worked on over the years are all scarily similar.  Here's a change in pace, and it might be exactly what I need to get a story finished.