by Jennie Atkins
Have you ever wondered how some authors can turn out novels as easily as baking a boxed cake? I know I do! They seem to throw in all the right ingredients, stir in a mixture of conflict, suspense and romance, and come up with a perfectly baked masterpiece. And they do it in record time.
It almost turns me green with envy! My days of writing are not so spectacular. It seems there are days that I struggle through one sentence or paragraph wondering how in the world I’m going to complete the other 250 to 300 pages.
Perhaps these prolific writers have nailed down the perfect format or they have a sure-fire outline that they can fill in the blanks. Then by adding a few metaphors and a magical story world, they end up with a best seller almost as fast as clicking their fingers.
My guess is they found their sweet spot. They’ve figured out when and where they can perform to the best of their ability. They’ve found the few hidden secrets to getting the job done in record time. And this is something we can all learn from.
I’m not just talking about shutting down Facebook or turning the ringer off on your phone. I’m talking about getting down to the details of how we can be more productive in the small chunks of time we have at our keyboard. Let’s face it; for most of us writing is not our sole career, therefore, we have to make the best of our writing time.
From my own writing experience, I found there were certain places and times that I could pump out a greater number of words than others. I learned that I could slip into my sweet spot for writing while outside, in the cool shade of a large maple tree that grew next to my luscious garden. I found it to be the fertile soil where my brain clicked through the parts of the plot with ease. I had no distractions, and much like my flowers, my characters took root in the rich loam of my imagination. Granted, winter proved to be challenge, but I created a similar atmosphere in my office inside by adding plants and reducing clutter.
But even then, I found some scenes fluttered over my keyboard with ease, while others . . . well let’s just say I struggled. I started wondering why this occurred. I found two things. First, I wasn’t prepared to write that scene. I hadn’t worked through the dynamics of what needed to occur. I learned that taking a few minutes prior to actually placing my hands on my computer to play through the scene in my head, improved my ability to get it in print. Sometimes I jotted a few notes down, more for direction and clarification than a solid plan.
The second thing I learned about my struggles of getting a scene on paper encompassed my personal feelings about that scene. If I didn’t like it, or found I was creating a scene just to slip into that spot in the story, I found I wrestled with every single word. Then it dawned on me-if I didn’t like it, would my agent? An editor? Or a reader? Nope.
I have since discovered other ways to become more productive. In scouring to-do books on writing, I realized my ideas weren’t too far off base. But even more so, with much relief, I found I wasn’t the only one trying to find the sweet spot for writing.
Jennie Atkins writes contemporary romance from her home near Carson City, Nevada. During the day, Jennie manages a team of software engineers. Along with writing, Jennie loves to garden, sew, or go four-wheeling with her husband of almost forty years. Jennie has four children and two grandchildren.