Friday, January 28, 2011

Guest Post: Heather Wardell

I am so excited today to have Heather Wardell on the blog. She is an excellent author and has a unique writing style. Today she is going to tell us a little bit about her life as a writer. Enjoy, I know I did.

My reviews on her books:
Planning To Live
Stir Until Thoroughly Confused

Thanks to Rebecca for letting me tell you about my life as an author! 
I'd love to tell you I work every day from six in the morning to ten
at night without a single break. I'd also love to tell you I work for
only fifteen minutes a day and write a book a week. But I only make up
stories in my novels not in real life. :)

The truth is, I am constantly struggling with my schedule and how best
to work on my books. I am fortunate to be a fast writer, averaging
about 1500 words an hour for a first draft and able to do more if I'm
particularly on fire. Most of my books are in the 75,000-80,000 word
range, so in less than sixty hours I can have a first draft done.

Go Small or Go HomeSo why am I NOT writing a book a week? It turns out, and I'm sure
you'll be shocked by this, that writing is hard work. Have you ever
written a three-hour-long exam? Do you remember how your head feels
afterward, like all the brain cells at the back are just sitting there
stunned? That's how I feel after, at best, two hours of first draft

I have spent a lot of time, far too much, beating myself up for this.
But it's a fact. Writing may not be physical exertion but it is most
definitely mentally draining. While I am gradually building up my
strength, writing a first draft for more than three hours leaves me
unable to have any sort of conversation for ages afterward. I just
can't think.

Seven Exes Are Eight Too ManyBut a work day of at most three hours a day feels a little wimpy. So
at the end of 2010 I decided to try something I'd never done before:
work on two books at once. I get very immersed in my characters, to
the point that I can find myself surprised that I don't have a
ponytail if my character does, and I've always been afraid that
working on two books would take that away from me.

I decided to give it a shot, though, and I was relieved to learn that
I can switch from 'being' one character to being another without any
difficulty. So I am now writing the first draft of one book and
editing another. Editing, while still a challenge, doesn't cause the
same "making stuff up out of thin air" brain exhaustion as a first
draft does, so I'm able to handle a bit more of that a day.

Planning to LiveNow that I'm doing two books at once, my ideal schedule is two hours
of first draft and three of editing a day. I don't make it every day,
especially since I also handle the housekeeping and grocery shopping
and meal preparation for me and my husband, but I try. I want to
release at least three more books this year on top of this week's
"Stir Until Thoroughly Confused", so when I feel like slacking off I
remind myself how bad I'll feel in December if I can't truly say I
gave it my best shot.

Between those five work hours and the housework, I answer email from
readers (which I love - seriously, email your favorite author today,
Stir Until Thoroughly Confusedwe appreciate it so much), contact bloggers like the lovely Rebecca to
see if they'd like to review my work, and keep my website updated.
Getting everything done is challenging, but I adore what I'm doing and
I want to be writing for years to come.

I would love to get the five hours a day up to six or seven because of
how much faster I'd be able to produce new books. (There's something
both amazing and depressing about getting an email, the day after a
book releases, saying, "I just finished your book and I love it.
When's your next one coming out?") But for right now, five is what I
can do with consistency, and I am finally learning that five
consistent hours a day are much better than a day of seven and a day
of one or even zero because I'm too tired from the seven.

Life, Love, and a Polar Bear TattooI used to compare myself to other writers and their schedules, but now
I only compare myself to myself. Am I doing my best? Then that has to
be good enough. I hope you can all find a way to arrange your
schedules so you can always know you're doing your best.

If you haven't read any of my books yet, why not pick up "Life, Love,
and a Polar Bear Tattoo" as a free download from my web site
( If you do, remember that I'd love to
get an email from you letting me know what you think!

Thanks again Heather, I enjoyed learning a little more about you. Now everyone better run out and grab that free download so you can see just why I love her as an author!

1 comment:

Heather Wardell said...

Thanks so much for allowing me to borrow your blog for the day. :)