I am a wanderer 🙂 I do–technically–have an office. My printer lives there, as do many books on writing craft, and shelves and shelves of picture books. Also a piano–which helps with writing more than you might think 🙂 But my office only gets sun from an east-facing window in the morning. And I don’t like to sit in one place. So I do a lot of work at the kitchen table (where there is sunshine whenever the sun is out).
When I get tired of sitting, I stand at the kitchen counter. If the weather is nice, I sit on the back porch steps, or the mudroom steps–I like steps 🙂 In winter, I sit on the edge of the fireplace a lot (it’s warm . . . and just like a step 🙂 ) And since a lot of writing is thinking time, I do a lot of my work out walking or running with my dogs, or while I’m driving–I have a lot of kids and I do a lot of driving 🙂
Describe a typical workday.
Sometimes I think it would be nice if there WAS such a thing as a typical workday–maybe I’d be more organized and make better use of my time 🙂 But one of the things I like best about writing is that it allows me to work on my own schedule. If I need to make an eagle costume, or serve lion cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday, or go to a soccer/football/volleyball/basketball/lacrosse game or a wrestling match, or visit a kindergarten class to share one of my books, or go to a class play or a jazz band concert, or spend the day snuggled on the couch reading stories with someone who has a sore throat, I can. So typical? Not in my house 🙂
List three of your most favorite things in your workspace and why they are meaningful.
#1 Sunshine. Of course I can’t control it, so sometimes there isn’t any, but I’m convinced my brain is solar powered and I think much better when it’s sunny 🙂
#2 My dogs 🙂 They keep me company. They make me get up and go for a walk. I can read them anything I am working on and they never say anything mean 🙂
#3 Picture books. I have A LOT. They are beautiful–both words and pictures–and I find them so inspiring. When I feel stuck, it always helps to remind myself of what I’m aiming for.
I also have a bunch of stuffed animals and puppets that represent characters from my books.
Do you have any rituals in your work habits? If so, describe them.
I don’t really have any rituals. Show up and work–that’s about it.
What do you listen to while you work?
I don’t listen to anything while I’m working.
What is your drink and/or snack of choice while you’re working?
I usually have a cup of coffee on my desk. It has usually been reheated way too many times to actually be potable. But I keep it there anyway. It’s comforting 🙂
What keeps you focused while you’re working?
I don’t know. When I’m working, I’m working. I am so focused that people can walk into the room and talk to me and I don’t notice . . . Maybe I just like my work? 🙂
Do you write longhand, on a computer, or another way?
I write picture books, so they aren’t that long, and I write all my first drafts longhand and then type them into the computer. I don’t know why, but I think better with pen in my hand and I like the physical act of writing.
How do you develop your story ideas? Do you use an outline, let the muse lead you, or another technique?
I don’t have a system. I usually get a piece of an idea, and after letting it roll around in my head for a while (an amount of time over which I have no control) it will join up with another piece of an idea and suggest a story that could work. Then I write it and see where it goes. Very scientific, no? 🙂
If you were forced to share your workspace but could share it with anyone of your choosing, who would it be?
Since, as I mentioned, I tend to move around, I often share my workspace. I like having my kids around, and often do my work while they do their homework. It’s companionable.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve heard or received?
Write the stories you want to write, and don’t give up.