What Possesses a Person to Spend Hours Alone Stringing Words Together?

Writing is a solitary endeavor. It requires many hours alone wracking one’s brain over what best words to use when stringing a story together.  I love the art of writing.   A blog tour is going around in which authors describe their particular process for creating a story.

One of my favorite authors, Ann McMan, tagged me to participate. If you haven’t read any of Ann’s books, stop reading this blog right now, and go to her website at http://annmcman.com. Ann’s work, whether it’s writing or graphic design, is like fine food. You bite into it and instantly love it. Yet, the real fun is trying to figure out why it’s so good. What are those nuances and special ingredients all perfectly put together into delectable goodness? Layers of subtle complexity mixed with Ann’s humor and intelligence make her one of the best of the best. Once you’ve read a book or two of Ann’s, then come back to this blog. Below are my answers to the questions of the tour.

What am I working on?  I’m not one who easily multitasks.  My thinking is very linear which means I like to start one thing and finish it before moving onto the next project.  Notwithstanding, I have two writing irons in the fire at present.  Actually, three now that I think about it.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling a bit scattered lately.  My next novel, Blowback, will be out in the coming months.  It’s currently in the editing process, and I’ll be putting the finishing touches on it soon.  To sum it up, it’s a story about guns, family and gritty fishermen of Maine.  I’ve put together a playlist for Blowback that can be found at Spotify under playlists by Bev Prescott.

In the meantime, I’m working on a nonfiction collection of essays and photographs about the trip that I recently went on to Antarctica. It’s been great fun revisiting the memories from such a life changing adventure. I look forward to sharing some of those memories in a book. Finally, I’m in the beginning stages of working on an outline for my fourth novel. I’ll tell you more about it as the idea comes into full shape. Think dystopian story about the future when climate change has fully manifested itself on the human race.

How does my work differ from others of this genre?  I’ve always been a fan of lesbian romance.  I started reading it during a time in my life when I was still very much in “the closet.”  It offered stories in which I could relate in a positive way to the main characters.  But, as society has become more accepting, I’ve wanted to read and write stories where it’s more matter of fact that the main characters are lesbians.  Instead of focusing on the romance, I focus on the complex issues of society that affect all of us.  The romance is secondary to broader issues that I think are important and in need of talking about in society.  Things like war, bullying, guns and the environment.

Why do I write what I do?  Writing forces me to sit down and really think about things.  To research, consider and understand issues that I care about.  I write stories about topics that I want to learn about and share with others.  For example, the idea for Blowback was born out of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I wanted to learn about why and how guns played a role in something so awful.  I needed to learn the truth, instead of being placated by the rhetoric from both sides of the gun debate.

How does my writing process work?  Because of my day job and many outdoor pursuits, I don’t have a lot of time to write.  Therefore, I have to be disciplined about making the time.  I typically bring my laptop with me to work so that I can write during my train rides to and from Boston.  Since I don’t work on Fridays, I spend at least 3-4 hours writing on that day.  I also get up around 5am on the weekends to write before my spouse gets up in the morning.  Finally, I always carry a notebook with me so that I can capture any ideas as they present themselves.  Some of the best ideas that have come to me were when I was on top of a mountain, riding my bike, running or kayaking.  Being outdoors settles my mind in such a way that the ideas for stories make their way to the surface.

Next up, I’m tagging authors Ruth Perkinson and Renee Mackenzie.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and become friends with Ruth Perkinson over this past year.  She worked with me as my writing coach for Blowback.  She’s a brilliant author with a writing voice not to be missed.  She’s written five published novels and has a degree in English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. In addition, Ruth worked as a technical writer for an educational testing company and developed manuals for a large telecom firm. She resides in Richmond, Virginia and is a dog enthusiast.  To learn more about Ruth and to find out about her books, visit her website at http://ruthperkinsonwritingservices.com.

I met Renee Mackenzie a couple of years ago at one of the Golden Crown Literary Conferences.  She is a total sweetheart who takes the best photographs of birds.  I’m privileged to call her my friend, and her stories are not to be missed.  Renee is the author of Confined Spaces, Flight, and Nesting, all published by Blue Feather Books. To learn more about Renee, check out her blog at reneemackenzie.wordpress.com.

I just want to get the fuck home.

There are lots of reasons that I run.  The most important one is that running softens the edges of my anxiety.  It helps keep the prickly “dementor” quiet.  If I let it get the better of me, it takes over every aspect of my life eventually leading to exhausting depression.  I know this because I hit the bottom of my ability to fight it several years ago.  I was in a place where I could barely function.  Where my relationship was suffering because I was unreachable by the person who loves me the most.  Where everything and everyone was a challenge.  Where the only place I felt okay was in my house, away from the world.  My spouse, thankfully, insisted that I get the help that I desperately needed.  I’m lucky.  I had the resources to seek help, a spouse who refused to give up on me, and enough sense to know that I needed something to change in order to save my life.  I’m not only referring to my physical life, but my emotional and spiritual lives.

A few days ago, I posted a picture of me as a little kid.  In the photo, I’m smiling.  I can almost hear my mother laugh as she’s scolding me to get down from the chair that I’d climbed onto in order to touch a Halloween decoration hanging in the window.  I looked happy, content and unafraid.  A friend said that I look exactly the same now.  The comment made me very happy.  It shows the progress that I’ve made to find that peaceful untainted part of me that shines through again in a smile.  Finding her wasn’t easy; and I’ll work hard the rest of my life fighting to keep her at the forefront of my living.  I like that sweet person much more than the harried, angry unhealthy one who kept her at bay for too many years.  That’s why I work so hard at finding the positive in a situation.  At looking on the bright side.  At owning my health by exercising, eating nutritious food and guarding my emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing.  The fruit of my labor is that I’ve never been happier.

Here’s the thing.  Some days, it’s hard.  Some days. I don’t want to exercise.  Some days, all I want to do is eat cake.  Some days, I overthink things way too much.  Some days, I just want to tell every person who comes into my office to shut the hell up and stop making messes for me to clean up.  Some days, I lose it.  Some days, I’m that person stuck in traffic yelling obscenities because all I want to do is get the fuck home.  I’ve been up since 4:30am, worked all day cleaning up human made messes and I’m tired.  I just want to go for a run, eat supper and hug my family.  I don’t like the moments and days in which I lose it though.  They feel like quicksand tugging at my feet pulling me into a place I don’t want to be.  So, say what you will, but I refuse to give in and let it have me.  Yeah, maybe I seem like a goody-two-shoes because I work so hard at being the opposite of cynical, judgmental, angry and unhealthy.  It’s my life, I’m going to live it my way.  Happy, grateful, calm and content.  But, I got to own it.  No one’s going to do it for me.   Or, any of you for that matter.  So, instead of judging the world and succumbing to being your own victim, look inside of yourself and find that sweet untainted person.  She will free you, and make you smile.  I promise.   If you can’t do it alone.  Be brave and do what you can to get some help. 

Cheers, hugs and peace.