Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guest Blog: Lena Hillbrand

How I Write Now

While every writer has a different process, I’m sure we all have some things in common. I tend to be a procrastinating writer, but sometimes I actually buck up and do something productive. I admire those writers who get up at 5 a.m. sharp, sit down, bang out ten pages in a couple hours, and play golf all day. Their lives sound so peaceful. If only I had that kind of discipline.

But no, I’m one of those writers with chaotic, hectic processes. I bet those golf-playing writers make meticulous outlines, too. And actually stick to them. But I’m what writerly people refer to as a ‘pantser.’ (Those who fly by the seats of their pants). Sure, I’ve done outlines. They mostly got ignored. When I go back and look at them, I think, “Wow, that would have been a great book!” But I didn’t write that book. I started out writing that book, and more likely than not, my main character ended up six time zones away, hitch-hiking through Azerbaijan instead of at Harvard Law.

That’s sort of how my writing process works. I get up, and I want to be one of those organized, outlining authors. I really do. I swear. But I have a snooze button. I hit it for at least an hour. There’s a reason it’s dark out at 5 a.m. The world is telling me it’s time to sleep. When I do get up, I hear bagels calling my name from the kitchen. I must have one. So I eat breakfast. Then I get distracted by the magazine on the table. An hour later, I sit down at my laptop. But that little blue “e” at the bottom left corner of my screen keeps luring me in. I’ll just check my email. Really. Ten minutes, and then I’ll write.

An hour later, I’m done looking at videos of guilty dogs, I’ve Tweeted at everyone willing to Tweet at 7 o’clock in the morning, and obsessively checked all the other websites I obsessively check (do I have new friends? Followers? Messages? Reviews? Hate mail?) You get the picture.

For some of authors, writing is all easy, fun, sunshiny, happy times. They churn out a book every week. They cheerfully call to tell me all about it. I am not one of those writers. I think they’re lying when they call me. I ask to see their drafts. They aren’t lying. I sit down and cry.

Then I realize IT IS OKAY. Not everyone has the same process. We all have our own challenges, and we all come out of them with a different story to tell. I bet even that outlining, uber-productive, always-smiling writer has at least one obstacle. We all have our own way of getting things done. Believe it or not, I really do get things done. After I eat lunch. And take a nap. And do laundry. And check Twitter again.

Lena Hillbrand is the author of The Superiors, the first book in a series by the same name. The books are literary futuristic dystopian vampire novels. How’s that for a mouthful?

Check out the book here:

Contact her here:



Twitter: @lenahillbrand

Or on Goodreads:

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the post a lot, Ken.

    Lena's method is a lot similar to mine. I love the idea of plotting, but i tend to stray far from it. :)