Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guest Post: Micol Ostow

Today, as a part of the Teen Book Scene tours- I have Micol Ostow here to talk about the emotional part of writing her new book, Family.


16It was really hard to write family! The voice, style, and subject matter were totally new to me as a writer. I learned quickly that the writing process would be different for this book. 

For starters, while I'd been writing mostly in public spaces -- the library, a local cafe, a shared writers' space -- but with this book, I really needed total peace and quiet. So the bulk of family was written in my home, which was a change. It's actually shifted my entire routine -- for the most part, I almost always write from home these days.

I also found that I was better off writing first thing in the morning, where in the past, I'd work after the coffee/gym/errands morning seemed to flow better before I let the rest of the world intrude. Now, on writing days, I try to get to the computer straightaway -- no email, no phone, no Internet. It makes a difference!

Personally, I also found it helpful to read things that had a similar tone or style to what I was trying to write -- dark books, books dealing with edgier themes, etc. It was an intense period -- maybe I could have used a romantic comedy break or two! -- but reading the dark stuff was how I kept myself in the right frame of mind. 

I also read a lot of free verse. I hadn't spent much time before then reading or studying poetry, and I wanted to familiarize myself with the genre as best as I could. 

And last but not least, it was important for me to have a ritual for Ending the Day, creating a separation between being in the book, and in the real world. If I could, I made plans to see friends. Or, I'd take the dog for a long walk, and pick up some wine and some food to cook for dinner for my husband and myself. Sometimes as a self-employed writer, it's hard to set limits, and to put work aside. So making the end of the day official was really helpful for me.