Everyone has a different approach to writing full-time, or part-time, or any time at all. We asked Ingrid Alexandra, the author of the gripping psychological thriller, The New Girl, to share her hard-won insights into how to best structure a day of writing.
From quiet time to a change of scenery, we hope some of these processes inspire you to write your next big thing!
My writing schedule for this novel differed quite a lot from my usual approach. I used to write as inspiration came and without thinking much about where it was going as the ideas poured out of me. The stories weren’t terrible, but that approach tended to ensure I made a mess of the plot and was unsure of the core of the story. Writing came naturally, but plotting didn’t. After completing several writing courses and refining my plotting skills, I now plan everything in detail before I put pen to paper. It helps to approach writing with a goal in mind, which is why it’s so important to create the right environment.
I need my surroundings to be fairly quiet when I’m writing. No television, no music (unless it’s instrumental or very quiet), no interruptions. I like to be able to look out a window with a view, so our home office is perfect for that, although really I can write staring at a blank wall if I have to. I need to remember to make myself comfortable as I’ve spent hours, days, weeks hunched over a laptop in the past and ended up making my chiropractor very rich!
Set the scene
I tried the whole ‘sit and write in a café or pub’ idea but that just didn’t work out – too many distractions. I have to be able to get inside my own head, tune everything else out and really focus. So that’s been rather challenging this past year with a new baby who is NEVER quiet! Even as I write this there is some screechy children’s song playing in the background and my son saying ‘Mama’ every five minutes! I’ve definitely had to learn to adapt. But my preferred environment for writing is total silence, or some sort of non-intrusive classical music playing very softly in the background.
Don’t forget the snacks!
I drink lots of tea while I’m writing and I swing between forgetting to eat when I’m really in the zone, or binge-snacking when inspiration isn’t forthcoming. If I was writing in the evening, I used to enjoy a glass of wine to help relax and lose myself in a chapter or two, but I find that’s fairly counter-productive these days as I’m too tired and it makes me want to curl up on the couch and zone-out!
You’ve only just met.
But she already knows you so well.
When Rachel moves into the spare room in Mary’s flat in Sydney, everyone is quick to jump to the conclusion that there’s something strange about her. Everyone apart from Mary.
Posted on October 18, 2018 by Larissa