Author Corey Whaley On His Writing Techniques and Habits02:34
Since my last post, Good God Bird's Flight to a New Name, I’ve gone back to my “day job” of teaching public school. I’ve taught every grade from 6th through 12th, but this year I teach Gifted English to 7th and 8th graders and, while it is a completely different and amazing experience, it hasn’t left me much time to even think about writing.
Most days, for the past month or so, I come home and take naps instead of working on storylines or drafting ideas for characters. I wrote, once before, about juggling work with writing and at the time I didn't realize that I am a completely unmotivated writer when I’m distracted. I know this to be the case because as soon as I get myself away from work for just a few days, I am drawn back to my laptop…sentences dangling on the edge of my mind.
Since all of this book business has come about, people often ask me: “What’s your writing regimen?” “How many hours a day do you spend writing?” “Do you set goals for yourself as far as how much you’ll write per week?”
And, sadly, the answer to all of the above is that I have no plan for how and when I write. Sometimes I go months without writing a word. Sometimes I go a few days. My most recent bout of writer’s block? Five weeks and counting.
So, do I let it stress me out? Do I succumb to the pressures of a world that is more comfortable with people doing things in a uniform, structured manner? Or, do I continue the way I’ve always done things concerning my writing—wait around until inspiration strikes me and then fly with as many words/ideas I can manage to get out in a single sitting? I prefer the latter. Why? Because, to me, that’s just the way I’m supposed to work at this. I know there are so many writers out there who spend hours a day pounding away at their keyboards or huddled on a sofa with a pen and pad or even talking into a tape recorder. But, for me, every time I try to introduce structure into my writing, I seem to fail miserably. With my first novel, I waited and waited and then, one day, I started up on page 14 after two years of waiting for the perfect combination of ideas to somehow piece themselves together in my brain, and then boom, I had a novel completed a month later.
Writing isn’t easy. It isn’t always fun. But, and this is my favorite part about it, it’s always personal. Everyone has his or her own way. I’ve learned that as a writer, but even more so as a teacher. Many of us were born to tell stories and it seems that, though it may take a lifetime for some and a few weeks for others, one way or another, we all find a way to share.
I’m so grateful to be a part of a community of individuals who share a passion for seeing the world through others’ eyes time and time again.