Multitasking, Writing, and Other Shenanigans

As I write this, I have about a dozen tabs open, mostly to literary magazines accepting short fiction for various types of compensation, from copies to CV credits to checks. I also have several short stories that need editing to be presentable, Iron & Wine playing weird banjo in the background, my nephew crying down the hall, and a strong desire to get caught up in some heist or detective work by watching either Leverage or Sherlock, but I'm supposed to be submitting queries to magazines and online journals. Oh, and it really is time I got back to revising my novel.

Thing is, life isn't really that tough. It's just busy! I'm not even officially employed at the moment (yes, add 'applying for jobs' to my list), but there is always, always something to be done when you're a writer. While it's a marvelous solution to boredom, I often find myself avoiding the computer by making my own salsa or doing yoga with Jillian Michaels or going for a walk or reading someone else's hard-earned published book or cuddling my husband. Or, you know, writing a blog.

Don't get me wrong. Writing fiction is thrilling. There is nothing like that moment when you find out who your character really is, when you write him doing something that you never thought he would do, and he suddenly makes so much more sense. Or when she says something, and even though you typed it, it feels like the character is the one who thought to say it, not you.

Stephen King talks a lot in his book On Writing about character discovery, and I tend to share a lot of his method. I don't like to plan too much. I generally sit at the keyboard (and bleed, as Hemingway would say) and just write what I think would happen next, what my characters would do and say, without any bullet points or outline to go off of. While that is often very scary, it's also liberating because I don't end up procrastinating the actual writing by spending weeks on an outline I know I won't follow anyway.

Some of the best ideas I have for my stories come when I'm already at the keyboard. The other ones usually show up just as I'm about to drift off to sleep and then I can't remember them in the morning. I call those 'plot poltergeists' and I wish them dead, except that I don't, I just wish I could wake up enough to write them down before they disappear.

The other thing I've noticed is that I don't get any writing done if I don't just start writing. Much like working out, sometimes the hardest part is getting to the gym. Once you're doing it, it's really not so hard.

What are you working on? Share in the comments.

Also, I'll soon be sharing clips from my novel on Twitter and on my brand spanking new Facebook page, so please like and visit. Buttons in the sidebar. Happy writing/reading to all!