Every author I know has her own way of “getting into the Zone”—that special mindset that helps the writing flow. Maybe they always write in a certain place (some of them pretty unusual!) or light special candles or line up pencils on their desks or put on special writing music or maybe even play a few rounds of solitaire on the computer before they start the day’s writing. There’s no denying that the right preparation and atmosphere can boost creativing and focus, making the day’s work both more productive and enjoyable. That’s why figuring out what works for YOU is important, whether for writing or any other creative endeavor you want to pursue.
After years of trial and error, what I’ve discovered works best for me is a combination of firing up my treadmill (yes, I write while walking) and the right writing music for the book or series I’m working on. I got the idea of writing on a treadmill a couple of years ago from a guest author on Twitter’s weekly #yalitchat who mentioned that he wrote that way. Sitting for long hours had been doing awful things to my knees, hips and back, so I was immediately intrigued, especially since I’ve always found walking the best way to untangle sticky plot problems. After some research, I found a flat treadmill that fits under my desk at http://www.treaddesk.com. I love it! My productivity has definitely increased since I started using it. (My ideal writing/walking speed is 1.3MPH—any faster and I make a lot more typos.)
As for music, the trick is to find something that fits the emotional tone of whatever I’m working on. For Ship of Dreams it was the soundtrack from the movie “Titanic”—over and over and over. For Starstruck, I found that the group Muse and a few others, like Coldplay and Radio Head, give just the right heart-tugging vibe I need to give my scenes more emotional intensity. (Let’s face it, teens are ALL about emotion, which is one reason they’re so fun to write!) If I had to pick a single theme song for Starstruck, it would probably be Muse’s “Resistance” from the album of the same name. There’s another song by Katie Perry that fits well, too, but naming it here would give too much away. :) For the next book in this series, Muse’s “Uprising” is perfect, both in tone and lyrics, and for book three, I really like “Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2.” (Part 3 of that symphony has already suggested plot ideas for yet another book!)
Now that I’ve found my own way into “the Zone,” I believe that as long as I can walk, listen and type, I’ll never stop writing!
Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt
Genre: urban fantasy
Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of. Yes, the middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!Source: Info in the About Starstruck was from press kit from the publicity team.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1b2f1Gr
My brain finally came unstuck and his words penetrated. In spite of the sweltering heat, a cold wash of horror drenched me from head to toe. I pulled my hands out of his and jumped to my feet.
"Oh, my God. Oh, my God," I breathed. "Trina put you up to this!"
Now he was standing too, trying to grab my hands again. I backed away. The depth of his betrayal left me reeling. "Have you two been plotting this all along?" I demanded.
"No! Trina has nothing to do with this, I swear."
I didn't believe him. "I don't know anyone else mean enough to do this to me. Are you trying to tell me this was your plan? Why? Because I told you about that stupid fantasy back in second grade? Why should that even matter to you?"
He took a step toward me but I turned away quickly. I could feel my eyes prickling, and there was no way on earth I was going to let him see me cry. Imagining Rigel and Trina laughing together about me, I ran from the courtyard I'd entered two minutes ago with such high hopes.
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About Brenda Hiatt:
Author of sixteen novels to date, primarily Regencies and historicals from Harlequin and HarperCollins, Brenda Hiatt is now indie publishing her historical backlist and continuing to write and publish new books, her most recent a mystery, OUT OF HER DEPTH, from Bell Bridge Books. Her first original indie book, STARSTRUCK, launches in September 2013, a YA science fiction romance. For the past dozen years, Brenda has collected data on writers' earnings, which she shares at her website, brendahiatt.com.
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