One of the joys of the writing life is in the lasting friendships formed with other writers. Judy Christie is as good as they come. This interview was originally for Judy’s column in the Shreveport Times. I thought you might like to pull of a chair and sit on the porch with us a while, too. — Lisa
Judy Christie: You and I often visit about our writing process, and readers ask me how that process works–do I stare at a blank computer screen and get easily distracted, or am I able to pour out the stories? Every writer is different. I would love to be more consistent in my daily writing rhythm. I tend to be more of a binge writer and love to escape from my daily routine and immerse myself in a story. That can work well—or it can feel like a brick on the head. Like most writers, many ideas come to me and most of them excite me. So, I make a list of every story I’d like to write—then ponder which is most important to me. That helps me stay focused. A key question I ask before I start a new project: If I could only write one more novel, what would I want it to be?
So, Lisa, I’m always fascinated by how other writers’ novels come to be. How did you discover the idea for Before We Were Yours?
It’s an illusion, really. To be honest, writing seems to be more of a challenge now than it was when I started. That’s counterintuitive, because Before We Were Yours is my thirtieth novel, so I’ve been at this a while now. It should be getting easier, right? When I started writing full time, I had small children, so I was juggling my writing schedule around diapers, naptimes, and school activities. The reality is, though, that the writing business has grown more complex and time-consuming over the years.
Fifteen years ago, when my first novel came out, keeping in touch with readers entailed answering daily email or letters, and speaking at banquets or book events from time to time. Now, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the list goes on and on. There are writers’ loops to follow, promotional groups to participate in, and a wide, wide world of people to keep in contact with. It’s easy to spend hours tied up with these things and never find writing time. Meeting deadlines is a matter of a scheduling for myself and sticking to a daily word count. It’s difficult, though, when there’s an actual person on the other end of the cyber communication, awaiting your response. Staying focused can be a challenge. There’s a silent intimation that if we can’t do everything, be everything, and have everything all at once, we’re somehow failing. For me, the key to not driving myself crazy is in facing the fact that I’m just me. I’m not Wonder Woman, and that’s okay.
For years I did write at a computer, but through a series of happenstances and trial and error, I have discovered the magic of dictation. For the last couple years, I’ve been doing much of my writing via dictation on my iPhone or iPad. This can look and sound fairly insane, but it has been a wonderful tool for me and very freeing in the creative sense. There’s an analytical level of thought that goes into typing, and that is completely removed when I dictate a story. Aside from that, dictation via the phone allows me to put on a headset and write literally anywhere. When I find myself getting stale, I’ll wander to the back pasture for a walk, or spend some time in the exercise room and dictate parts of the story. Sometimes a change of scenery or physical activity is exactly what I need to get the words flowing again.
What keeps me going is the pure love of story and letters from readers. There is nothing more powerful than knowing that words on a page affected a life, helped to inspire growth, illuminated a hidden piece of history, or inspired others to tell their own stories.
Thanks for porch sitting with us a while today. — Lisa
To learn more about Before We Were Yours, read an excerpt, or to order the book CLICK HERE
About my Porch Pal:
Author Judy Christie has had 17 books published, including 10 novels, and her fiction has received praise from such publications as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Romantic Times. “Wreath, A Girl,” the first novel in Judy’s coming-of-age series, has been optioned for film/TV. For more information, see www.judychristie.com or connect with her on her author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JudyChristieAuthor/.