Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Write Where the Muse Is ... by Dana Nussio

I want to be like Barbara Cartland. Okay, let's admit it. Plenty of us writerly folk would love, just for a day, to live the lavish writing life of the late British author once deemed the "Queen of Romance."  In case you don't remember her,  Dame Barbara was the author of more than 700 books, many she dictated to her secretaries while relaxing on her fancy sofa. Funny, I don't envy her that unbelievable number of books (couldn't even imagine that), her millions (though a few couldn't hurt), the pearls and furs (not my cup of tea)  or even her white Rolls-Royce (well, maybe just one ride). But that writing setup she had going . . . now that I might like.

I know. Authors have different schedules and locations for writing. And though Barbara's spot was immensely successful for her as she dictated stories dressed-up in pink clothes, a little dog at her feet, her writing plan might not work for another author like me. First off, I don't have a dog. My two kitties would vote no if we tried to introduce a slobbering puppy to their house now. Secondly, getting all dressed up to doesn't exactly help me get my creative groove on. On weekends, I prefer to write in flannel PJs with my cat, Leo, trying to wedge his ample body between my tummy and my  laptop. (Yes, he's very cute, but a bit annoying when I'm on deadline.) 

But more important than either of those challenges I would have with the Cartland method, I'm not sure I could even write books if I had to tell my stories out loud. For some reason, my stories just don't come to me in the perfect, straight-forward way they must have for Barbara Cartland to be able to dictate her books. I generally bang out a few pages, typing as fast as I can to get the  main idea of the scene on "paper," and then I go back and flesh it out.  I even write some scenes entirely in dialogue and then go back and paint the pictures. 

Truth be told, I do much of my writing at the local Biggby Coffee franchise (a Michigan-based company) each afternoon after my day job . I might love the place because the owner is a friend, he employed all three of my daughters all through high school, and he has allowed me to host my annual Girls' Night Out Book Signing there for seven years now,  but it's more than that, I swear. :)  Why would I need to sprawl on a fancy chaise to when I can sit on a hard chair and sip lattes? Both of those things help me to stay alert, which is critical for a gal who would become Sleeping Not-So-Beauty, with keyboard imprints on my face, if given access to any sofa at that time of day. 
But my favorite part about writing in a coffee shop is that I get to be enveloped by all of that delicious white noise, courtesy of the background music and those folks talking around me but not to me. White noise is the best, and they offer that stuff for free! For some reason, all of those things meld really well, helping me to find my muse.

So maybe we writers all have to find out own way, trying out times and locations until we find what works for us. Then when life changes, we might have to adjust. We must do whatever it takes to get the stories in our heads on the page where they belong. Barbara Cartland did what worked for her, and I do what works for me.

Still, if anyone's offering, I would appreciate my ride in the Rolls right after I'm off deadline. I'll put in my order now.  


Margo Hoornstra said...

Biggby's does have that one of a kind atmosphere. Have spent many muse hours in one myself. my MO is pen to paper. I wish I could compose on a keyboard. Like your Rolls ride, maybe someday......

Unknown said...

Margo - So I have a fellow Biggby writer. It's so strange how each of us have to write certain ways and couldn't possibly do it the way someone else does.

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