When I’m asked on an application about my profession I always fill in writer/author/illustrator and Dazzle Queen of the Universe. No one ever comments. I’m not sure anyone reads anything these days, especially applications. Even so, I still keep writing, because like it says on those applications I am a writer, and real writers write, regardless of what the universe is or is not reading.
If I’m ever invited to discuss my creative process I know exactly the kind of advice I’m going to share with other budding wordsmiths.
Ditch the Bra: Writing is a sedentary process, preformed while sitting in a chair or, in my case, while sitting in bed. Either way you’ll spend your day almost bent in half and will probably, at some point, slip into a much worse if not retched posture. And when the story really gets cooking you may wind up hunched over the keyboard like a deflated balloon. Save yourself time, pain, and distraction and take your bra off before it cuts you in half.
Weed the Garden: Typing is stressful and repetitive. Fingers get tired, stiff, and lumpy. Pulling weeds is a low cost exercise that strengthens typing fingers. It does not require special gym equipment or a personal trainer. Fresh, outside air will blow out all the pointless adverbs and metaphors and the weeding will build finger muscles. The corn will thank you. It’s a win-win.
Know Your Writing History: As far as I can tell the best place to write a book is in prison: there’s plenty of personal time, distractions are low, and the atmosphere is full of dramatic tension. Get arrested. Absolutely tons of books have been written in prison. If you behave, you may be allowed to work in the prison garden, pulling weeds. See above.
Exercise Your Butt: While in prison do a lot of squats and dolphin kicks, otherwise your butt is going to spread and start to resemble the front seat of a minivan from all that sitting and writing. And it’s going to feel like you have two cement blocks taped to your tailbone. Trust me on this.
Shop Quick: If you aren’t lucky enough to be in prison and have to write on a laptop in your bed make sure that you register on your favorite on-line shopping site so that you don’t have to waste time filling out a lot of applications, and you can buy stuff with one click. You’re going to shop; let’s be honest. Just shop quick, that’s all I’m saying.
This is a preliminary outline I’ve been working on for when I’m asked to speak at retirement homes and special school assemblies all over Osceola county, because I’m able to fill in the “What’s your profession” blank with FAMOUS writer/author/illustrator and Dazzle Queen of the Universe.
Linda (Dazzle Queen) Zern