Marchbooks' Blog

January 11, 2010

Life Interrupted by M.J. Claire

Filed under: Comments from our Authors — marchbooks @ 4:13 pm
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Writing, at least for me, requires a tremendous amount of focus. I envy those people who can put a hold on their lives for a few minutes – just enough time to jot down a few lines of their current work in progress. I am not one of those folk. That is not to say that I need a quiet, sterile environment in which to work. In fact, the saying ‘ a cluttered desk is the sign of an organized mind’ could have been written for me. Well, I’m not sure about the organized mind part but I do seem to work best when surrounded by a certain amount of disarray. What I cannot do is spend several hours working in the office (on insurance matters), balance my finances, deal with the occasional personal drama and then sit down to write. At least not on anything of length.

I have those occasional inspirations; driving down the road, eating my lunch or riding my exercise bike when a thought encroaches which keeps banging against my head until I put it on paper. Those light bulbs are almost exclusively limited to poems, titles or ideas for new projects. Rarely, if ever, do they pertain to an ongoing project.

Once I have set the first few chapters of a novel down, the die is cast, that world has been created and my job as a writer becomes tuning into that world and those characters so that I can find out what is going on. I feel like less of a creator than a voyeur. In a way, for me, writing is like being a transciptionist with a radio. I play with the dial until I hit the right frequency, then I just write what I hear – ‘just the facts Ma’ am’ as they say.

If there is too much of my own life going on, there is interference and I won’t get clear reception. If that happens, I may get it wrong. Sometimes, even when my life is calm and I can devote all of my attention to radio surfing, the station in question isn’t broadcasting. That is why I always keep multiple projects going. If I am having difficulty falling into one story, rather than forcing it and putting words into my characters’ mouths, I will move on to another story.

So far, it works. Please feel free to share your own writing process. I am always interested to hear how a writer gets from a blank page to a finished manuscript.


  1. “That is why I always keep multiple projects going…”

    Oh goodness, yes! Every now and then I can completely submerge into simply one thing…but that is rare!

    Comment by The Muse — January 13, 2010 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

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