Sunday, November 17, 2013

Comfort Is An Asset For An Author

I am sitting in my home office and writing today. I am taking a trip back in time as I do it. Well, maybe only a small trip. I am dressed in pajamas, slippers and bathrobe. I dress this way for a good reason. I am absolutely comfortable as I write. That, to me, is a huge part of the experience.

This used to be my "writing uniform" for almost every writing session, but that was back when I had swing shift hours. I would get up in the morning, read the newspaper, drink a couple of cups of coffee and adjourn to the home office. My uniform was pajamas, slippers and (in the colder months) bathrobe. I could write for hours dressed this way. My new schedule is basically 9-to-5, Monday through Friday. I can't settle into that old routine with those hours. But today is Sunday, and I am calling my own shots.

Here is my guideline: Make yourself physically comfortable, but make yourself uncomfortable in what you are writing. My pajamas uniform meets the first criterion, my story line meets the second.

Some people like a little alcohol while they write. Maybe a glass of wine (or two), or a beer (or two). I rarely do that. I prefer a clear head, thereby turning aside Hemingway's advice to "write drunk, edit sober." Comfort is relative to each writer. Add either classical music or Latin guitar on my headphones and I am one happy writer.

And that is what I am going to do right now.

WHAT I AM READING NOW: "And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini. He is a patient, brilliant storyteller. I am only 100 pages in, but I am being drawn into life in Afghanistan. This novel is a big departure from some of my other recent readings: "The Jefferson Key" by Steve Berry, "The Bone Bed" by Patricia Cornwell, "The Highway" by C.J. Box, and "Where Men Win Glory," the story of Army Ranger/football star Pat Tillman, by Jon Krakauer. I will concentrate on Berry's novel in my next blog post.

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