Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author Kris Ripper joining us today to talk about new release “Gays of Our Lives”.
Lifehacks for Scribblers
Don’t listen to anyone.
Wait. No. I take it back.
Listen to everyone, but don’t try to fit your writing life to anyone else’s mold. Writing is incredibly personal, and it’s the rare writer who can step into another writer’s life and pick up all those tools in the same order with success.
I say it’s “rare.” I think it’s closer to “impossible.”
The best way to discover how you create most effectively, most joyously, is to do two things simultaneously: know yourself very deeply, and never be afraid to experiment.
I’m a night owl. Always have been. I was the teenager up writing until three a.m., trying not to fall asleep in Spanish class early the next morning. I always loved writing at night, when the house was quiet, when I was the only one awake.
These days I find myself utterly exhausted by nine p.m. most nights. I have the type of insomnia where I wake up wide awake in the middle of the night and just…lie there. Thinking. Frustrated as hell that sleep is out of reach.
I can’t tell you how much of my books are written between the hours of two a.m. and five a.m. Hundreds of thousands of words, scribbled with my eyes closed, my mind precision-focused. Utilizing insomnia as a writing hack wouldn’t work for everyone, but you never know until you give it a shot whether it’ll work for you.
Got kids? Yeah, me too. Sometimes want to scream because oh my god, can I just finish this scene, because I’ve been writing it for an hour and NO, I CAN’T GET YOU CHOCOLATE MILK RIGHT NOW!
When my time is split between things-that-are-not-writing and writing, I find places to type where I can stand up. I swear. And I don’t have a standing desk or anything like that, but if your longest stretch of dedicated writing time is ten, fifteen minutes at best, you don’t have to worry about exact ergonomics. (Of course, I say this as a relatively fit ablebodied person; your mileage may vary.)
Standing has a fascinating psychological benefit, which I did not expect: when I’m interrupted, it’s far less jarring to get back into the book if I don’t sit down. Apparently that whole “sit down and get comfortable” one-point-five seconds is just too much.
If you want to attempt standing and do not have a standing desk—but do have a moveable workstation, like a laptop, netbook, or tablet—you might try kitchen counters, tables, the backs of couches, pianos, fireplace surrounds, the tops of bookshelves, freestanding heater/air conditioning units, etc. (Comment with other ideas!)
Got a day job? I had one of those too, until about a year ago.
The hardest part for me, by far, was managing my energy. I can always find time to write (thanks, insomnia), and I don’t mean hours, I mean I literally believe that five minutes scribbling fiction into a Gmail draft on my phone is a writing win. But the energy of dealing with people all day long leaves me exhausted.
Some possible thoughts:
Write at work. Write in a notebook on break. Write at lunch. This can sometimes helpfully take care of the “making nice with humans” issues that some of us find taxing. Except for those people who will start a conversation even when you are clearly doing something else. There’s no solution for that beyond saying, “I’m sorry, I’m in the middle of something. Can we talk later?” Or seething in resentment. I’ve done both.
Write on your smartphone, if you have one (all hail slim Bluetooth keyboards). If you can’t get your mojo in gear to draft scenes, write other stuff. Scribble a character sketch. Brainstorm ideas for worldbuilding. Make lists of awesome titles you someday want to write books for. Brainstorm hilarious mashups, just to keep your writing/creating brain engaged. (“It’s like The Walking Dead meets Clueless!”)
Get up earlier/stay up later to write. This one’s frustrating if you take a while to warm up before you get moving in your work, but all of the above writing-adjacent activities will work here, too.
The point of everything here is this: if you want to write, make it a priority. It will be hard. It’s hard for everyone. Very few writers start out feeling justified taking time away from the rest of their life for writing. If it’s important to you, find a way to make it happen. No excuses.
Do you do creative work? What are some ways you’ve found to shoehorn it into your life alongside the rest of everything? Do you honor your need for creative work, or are you constantly putting it off because it doesn’t seem “necessary”?
About Gays of Our Lives
Emerson Robinette only leaves his apartment to get laid and go to work. Having MS—and trying to pretend he doesn’t—makes everything more complicated, especially his fantasies of coming on strong and holding a guy down. Finding a partner who’ll explore that with him isn’t Emerson’s idea of a realistic goal.
Until a chance meeting with a hipster on a bus makes him reconsider. Obie is happy, open-hearted, and warm; what’s more, he gets his kicks being physically dominated, spanked, and teased until he’s begging. It would be perfect, except for one thing: Emerson isn’t made for happiness, and he doesn’t see how a guy like Obie would settle for a cynic like him.
But as far as Obie’s concerned, the only thing keeping them apart is Emerson. Can Emerson handle a boyfriend who’s more invested in his future than he is? Emerson’s barely convinced he has a future. But when Obie’s smiling at him, anything seems possible.
About Kris Ripper
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
Connect with Kris:
To celebrate the release of Gays of Our Lives, Kris is giving away your choice of ebook from zir backlist. (Any release from Kris Ripper prior to Gays of Our Lives.) Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!