How much time do you spend each day writing?
How much time do I spend writing? It would be easier to answer the question when am I not writing since I spend much of my time writing in one fashion or another. Sometimes, it’s actual fingers-to-keyboard writing; other times, I am out running errands or doing chores, yet there is a portion of my writing brain that is working on some creative project: an article, short story or novel.
I just completed a 900-mile road trip that was another way of writing. I had to take the same journey one of my fictional characters had taken—not only to get the location details correct, but also to get a sense of what she must have been feeling as she journeyed away from where she had lived her entire life to a new place and a new life.
So while I watched for speed limit and exit signs, I also “wrote” bits and pieces in my head!
What is your favourite time of day for writing?
I am at my most creative first thing in the morning, before I get into the bread-and-butter work writing that serves as my income source. (I’m a copywriter and magazine writer by trade.) I bring a second cup of coffee into my office, boot up the system and spend at least half an hour either editing one of my short stories or working on one of my books-in-progress. I dream of the day when I will have all the time I want to write fiction, but alas, that hasn’t happened yet.
By the time I am finished, my coffee is cold and half-gone, and then it’s time to work out before my actual work day begins.
What do you write with – pen& paper / pc or Mac?
Since I hate transcribing and can hardly read my own handwriting, I write almost exclusively on my PC, using Microsoft Word. I’ve been using Word since it came out, and while I know others swear by writer-focused software, it is just easier for me to use what I am used to. Writing can be challenging enough. If I had to learn the ins and outs of the software, too, I might go back to paper and pencil!
What is the most essential thing on your desk or where you write?
My cats must believe that they are the most essential, since I am constantly removing them from the desktop! (You try writing when a 10-pound feline keeps slinking back and forth in front of your computer monitor!) But actually, I don’t have any “essential items” that I need aside from keyboard and monitor. Good thing, too, since at times I have had to write in places that weren’t exactly conducive to creativity, and had to make do with balancing my laptop on my knees!
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I have several projects in the works. I am finishing edits to my second novel, which has just gone through a round of beta readers. My first novel is now with my editor, and once done, I’ll start pitching it. My second short story collection (which includes the story that necessitated the road trip) will be done by the beginning of May, if the gods are with me, and then it will be sent out into the cold cruel world to find a publisher.
And along with all that, I am doing book events for my first collection, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories, while writing more short fiction.
And I am trying (with limited success) to become more social media savvy. I have created several Pinterest boards on my Pinterest page, including one with images that correlate to the stories in Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and another where I’ve posted some pictures from my road trip. I’m on Facebook and Twitter, and am trying to be more interactive, not just a “post-and-depart” person.
Fortunately, a lot of more social-media adept writers have shared their knowledge with me so I am feeling less like a total SM newbie and a little more like I might just get the hang of this eventually!
Nancy Christie is the author of the fiction collection, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories, the inspirational book, The Gifts Of Change and short stories that have appeared in literary magazines. She is also the founder of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day. Visit her website (www.nancychristie.com) and follow her on Twitter (@NChristie_OH).
The Accident – Nancy Christie
2100 words Literary Fiction
Not enough time—a common enough complaint among parents. Time to finish a chore, to enjoy a good book, just to be. As much as she loved her daughter, that’s all Margaret wanted that day and why she let Megan go to Billy’s house. Now, she has the time—and desperately wants to give it back.
When the telephone rang for the fourth time in a row, Margaret frowned in impatience. She had so looked forward to an afternoon of quiet while Megan played at Billy’s house, but the interruptions usually caused by one small five-year-old had been replaced by those of the telephone. The insistent ringing continued as she slid one of the filled cookie sheets from the oven, heat flushing her pale face. It didn’t stop until Margaret lifted the receiver and wedged it against her cheek, all the while struggling to remove the chocolate chip cookies—Megan’s favorite—from the pan.