My Writing Process in 10 Easy Steps

novelI’m sure you already know that I’ve written two novels. I’m actually working on a third one right now. I know a lot of people who think they want to write a novel, but find it difficult to get started. Here at the Mooch I like to help you out, so I’m going to give you a window into my writing process.

In order to complete a novel, you must be dedicated and focused. Don’t let my incredible work ethic intimidate you though. One of the major secrets to writing a novel is just getting on with it. Here are my ten step to writing a quality novel.

1. Check your email, Facebook account, and Twitter account.

2. Find some good music to listen to. The music must be perfect and that requires scrolling through your entire music library.

3. Make a cup of tea. Nothing helps you get work done better than a cup of tea.

4. Decide the tea made you too hot and get a glass of water. It’s important that you fill yourself up with plenty of liquids because nothing helps you focus more than a full bladder.

5. Check real estate sites for new houses for sale in your area and fantasize about how much more work you’ll be able to get done when you finally buy a house.

6. Check the SPCA site for pets available for adoption and decide which ones you’ll adopt once you get your new house.

7. Scan real estate sites again and feel really frustrated.

8. Open your word processing program.

9. Check the You Tube channels you subscribe to and watch all of the new videos. Now watch additional funny videos like this one.

10. Open the file you’re working on and write a few paragraphs before starting again from step one.

Photo by mpclemens

Reading, Writing and…

I’m a workaholic. I work ten hours a day six days a week. It’s pretty hard to pull me away from my work. On Sundays, I set work aside and try desperately to do something else. Sometimes that’s a hard task and as the day ticks down I found myself at a bit of a loss.

Last Sunday as I waited for my husband to come home from work, I decided to teach myself the Deseret alphabet. Why not waste my brain space with something completely useless? As a child I would’ve loved it for writing secret messages, but as an adult, I’m just doing it for the laughs.

In case you didn’t know:

In the mid 1800′s, under the direction of Brigham Young a committee of folks created a new alphabet. The purpose of the alphabet was to make it easier to read and write English phonetically. Apparently, the Latin alphabet everyone already used just wasn’t good enough. The alphabet didn’t catch on. There were only a few books printed using this new alphabet among which were The Book of Mormon (of course) and an English-Hopi dictionary (makes sense).

When I explained the alphabet to my husband and showed him how to write his name using it he said, “That’s so Mormon.”

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been editing my latest novel recently. Editing is hard work, but it needs to be done. I have books and books planned in my head, but I have to finish this one first.

Much like when I write, I like to listen to music when I edit. The editing music of choice this time is Little Elevator by Kirk Adams. If you don’t know that album, I feel sorry for you. You really should get to know it. Find out more about it here.

Just today my husband said, “Everyone writes stupid lyrics except for John Lennon and Kirk Adams.” If that’s not an endorsement I don’t know what is.

Just a quick note. The Mooch will start having a video component soon–as soon as I get my act together.

Fiction Friday

So I’ve thinking a lot about leprosy,  as I’m sure most people do, and I’ve decided I want to write a short story about it. I didn’t want to write about the body-parts-falling-off-unrealistic kind of leprosy. That’s so overdone in short fiction. I wanted to write a more realistic and subtle portrayal of leprosy. (Can you call leprosy subtle?) Anyway this is my first attempt. You can look forward to more leprosy stories in the future.

A Break-Up

“I just don’t think this is working out,” he said.

Michelle looked around the crowded restaurant. She was the only one there alone. She looked down at the ironed white tablecloth, the spotless silverware placed just so, fork, knife, spoon. She should’ve known something was wrong when he didn’t show up on time. Jerome was always on time.

“Did you hear me?” His voice shoot into her through the phone.

She looked down and cupped her hand around her mouth to muffle her voice. “I thought everything was working out great…”She could feel a black hole forming in her stomach. “I can’t believe you’re telling me this over the phone.”

“Don’t tell me you’re surprised, Michelle. I’ve been trying to tell you for weeks. I mean, come on…you must’ve known.”

“Known what? I thought things were great. I mean I thought we were all good. You can’t do this to me, Jerome.” She felt the tears coming. They were creeping up from her chest making her neck and face hot. She had to try her best to hold them back. She didn’t want to be one of those hysterical women crying in public. “I mean we were having fun, weren’t we?”

“There’s more to life then just fun.”

“What kind of thing is that to say? What’s that supposed to mean, Jerome?”

“It means I would like to settle down. I don’t know maybe have some kids,” he paused. “I want to stop wasting time.”

“Good. I want kids too and a house in the country and all that…”

“I don’t want to have kids with you…”

Her heart stopped. She took the phone from her ear and pressed the red button to end the call. She pressed it again and held it down to turn her phone off. She took a tissue from her purse and dried her eyes. She called the waiter over and ordered a chicken Caesar salad. While she waited for the food to come, she looked at her upside down reflection in the spoon. She traced the edge of her knife with her finger. She listened the to people laughing at the next table.

That’s when she first noticed the white spot on the back of her hand just under her thumb. It was smaller than a dime and shaped like Texas. She ran her index finger across the white sandy feeling skin, such a contrast from the smooth coco that surrounded it.

Her food arrived. She ate it slowly picking out the croûton and placing them in a neat stack at the side of her plate.

A week passed and he never even tried to call her back. Michelle had taken to eating alone in restaurants. It made her feel less lonely, like she was part of something. She’d listen in on other people’s conversations. Sometimes she’d imagine Jerome sitting across from her laughing showing off his perfectly white straight teeth, making jokes about the people at the tables around them.

She liked to follow couples on the street and try to hear their intimate conversations. She liked to imagine that those conversations were hers. The white spot on her hand felt like a million pin pricks. It grew slowly and changed shape. She started wearing gloves, white cotton ones like women in old movies to hide it.

In the evenings she’d walk to the phone booth down the street from her apartment to call him. She liked to hear the clink of the coins as she put them into the slot. She’d wait through the ring for his voice. “Hello?” he’d say. He always answered. “Hello?” she still loved the sound of his voice. She could hear the television in the background, sometimes the news, sometimes a sitcom, sometimes commercials. “Hello?” He always said three “helloes” before hanging up. Only then would she speak into the darkness of the city streets, “I thought everything was working out greatt.”

Michelle’s apartment started shrinking around her as the spot on her hand grew–the white walls pushing out, the white skin pushing out. Her fingers curled in. The knuckles ached and swelled. She kept her gloved hand in her pocket.

Sometimes she’d stand outside of his 7th floor apartment. She could only see the ceiling through the window from the street. Sometimes he’d walk by the window and even from a distance she could tell he hadn’t changed at all.

He stood at the window for a few moments looking out. She wondered if he could see her standing there at the bus stop. She wanted to wave and call his name, but she couldn’t. She stood as still as she could until he closed the blinds. She waited for a moment before shoving her mingled hand into her pocket and walking back to her apartment. Her nails digging into her palm.

My Latest Career

Some of you may know that I’m a massage therapist. I no longer practice. I’m not licensed to do massage here in the UK, and I don’t feel like going back to massage school to get re-licensed. So I’ve been doing some writing. I’m also working on a website about massage. For it I write descriptions of different types of massage therapy and bodywork. My goal is to have to most comprehensive site on the web about massage.

Anyway, every time I read about a different type of massage I think, That’s fascinating. Maybe I should learn to do that. Last week I was going to learn polarity therapy, and the week before that shiatsu.

Today I wrote an article about Alexander technique–that isn’t really a form of massage, but it does fall under bodywork. It’s a method of correcting your posture. So the whole time I’m writing about it, I’m trying to sit up as straight as possible and thinking, Maybe I should learn how to teach Alexander technique. Meanwhile, my back is aching from my rigid posture, but I soldiered through until I was done writing the page.

Now that I’ve resumed my normal slouchy blogging posture, my back is killing me and my future as an Alexander technique teacher is over. I need a massage.

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