writing / young adult

Freedom of Writing

I have, as I type this, a whole day to myself. I have a thing in the evening, but my First Reader is gone to work, and I have nothing pressing to take me out of the house at all. So… why is this hard?

I’m free to write whatever I want, whenever I want, and I have time to do it in. This is when the brain feels the emptiest. I find that I am distractible, unfocused, and flighty.

I’ll start out by putting on music, which will help me think. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but I learned a couple years ago that in order to settle and focus, I needed to flood my peripheral awareness. Either that, or every little thing outside makes me twitchy. Living in town right now doesn’t help that.

Then I will start thinking about what will happen next to my characters. I’m up to Chapter 7, and the first quest is beginning, so it’s time to foreshadow something… not sure what, yet.

In the meantime, while that story is simmering on the back burner, I have a whole list of other things I could be working on. Oh, sure, there’s household chores. Like the pants that really need hemming. But there are also stories I want to finish. Working on more than one project at a time give me the freedom to shift direction when I am stymied in one thing.

When I interviewed Christopher Stasheff, he gave me a name for this, the Voltaire system. I found it fascinating to hear this legend of writing tell me how he will work on several projects at once, according to the mood he was in. Which reminds me to put up a review of one of his books soon on the blog… In the meantime, you can find his site with new titles here. 

I’m free to work on whatever I want, for however long I want. I don’t have to please a publisher or an editor with writing what will sell. For instance, the YA SF-fantasy fusion book I am working on right now is… probably never going to sell a whole lot. But it will finish the story I started with Vulcan’s Kittens, and I feel like that is important.

As an indie author, this gives me a great deal of freedom. To write stories I’d want to read myself. But first, I need to get words on the screen!


7 thoughts on “Freedom of Writing

  1. The Voltaire system, huh? I didn’t even know that was a thing. I just called it ADD 😛

    I’ve noticed it generally takes me two or three days of nothing pressing to do and no wi-fi before I settle down properly to write. And then I write like a maniac. Your methods sound much better; I’ll have to try them! Any particular kind of music you like to put on?


    • The music for me is dictated by the story. So currently it’s celtic, with an emphasis on more modern, rock stylings. Mixed with old Country and bluegrass. Weird, but effective since I’m writing a story spanning from Scotland to Kentucky for now.


      • Try “Down the Old Plank Road” by the Chieftains, with various Nashville stars. Or even their “Fire in the Kitchen” album, which features Canadian artists. Both are good for that Celtic/Country mix.


        • Thanks! I’ve been leaning heavily on Carl Peterson’s Songs of the South, too. Not sure how commonly available that CD is, I think we found it at a reenactment.


  2. I forget which grand master it was (I think either Asimov or Bradbury, but I could be completely off), who talked about having several stories going all the time, and he would just pick one up at random and work on it until it was either finished, or he was too frustrated to continue. Either way, he would just go and pick up one of his other unfinished stories, or start a new one. I do something similar, but I try to keep everything going in one world at a time, so I usually only have two or three things in process.


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