My kids are great. We all arrive home around 3pm, catch up for a few minutes, then scatter. This leaves me about two hours of free time before dinner prep begins.
Oh, what to do?
I write. Or blog surf. Or download pictures onto my art blog. Of course, the first one is what I should be doing. Especially if my goal of landing an agent or editor is achieved this year. But sometimes it's hard to focus. I've come up with a strategy for eliminating the distractions.
Sounds simple, but here's the thing. I'm a visual person. I like perusing blogs and downloading art pictures because the images inspire me. So I try to make my writing projects visual. No, I don't write picture books, nor illustrate them. So how do I make my projects visual?
Character boards. I posted a link a while ago showing my boards. Check them out. Here's how to make one:
- Decide whether you want a notebook or a poster that hangs on your wall. If you want a poster, go to your local craft store and buy a piece of foam core (that stuff that kids use for science projects). It's great because not only can you tape and glue pictures onto it, you can also tack them on. Trim it to the appropriate size with an exacto knife or hack away with scissors. Neatness doesn't count here.
- Thumb through the latest Teen Vogue, Girls Life or even American Girl Magazine for images that capture your protagonist and her slew of friends. (Don't have any recommendations for Boys...even though I have boys. Sad, I know.) Paste them in a notebook along with clippings of clothes your character might wear, jewelry, what their bedroom looks like, favorite quotes, favorite snacks, etc.
- Get colorful. Nothing is more boring than black and white. Get out highlighters, markers and even those fancy stickers and have fun!
Ultimately, your characters should be treated like your children and everyone has scrapbooks of their children, right???
My second project, Ainsley Archer/What Boys Want/Hopelessly Untitled, is the story about a sister of a disgraced junior golf phenom who is desperately trying to get out from under her sister's mega dark shadow. This is story that will appeal to hip, boy crazy teens as well as provide a glimpse into the world of high school golf. So for my "Ainsley" scrapbook, I've also searched for articles in golf magazines. Part research/part inspiration, I compiled teen golf interviews, pictures of beautiful golf courses, etc.
This is what motivates me. Flipping through my scrapbooks or glancing at my posters immediately places me in the book. I want to know what happens next. I can't wait to write about it. Even if I have thirty minutes, I'll do the same thing. Thirty minutes is better than nothing.