Hello Soul Mate Publishing readers! This is my first post on the blog, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you over the next year. So many topics ran through my head last night, but when I sat down at my laptop, the dreaded writer’s block hit. Falling into my normal pattern when this happens, I stared at my office walls. Then it hit me—talk about my walls.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Dillard said your writing space should be free from distractions, but the purple and greenish walls now in my office prove otherwise. In her treatise on creative processes, Annie described her struggles and triumphs over the years as she searched for a writing method which best worked to not only get stories on paper, but also to fine-tune chapters, paragraphs, and sentences to evoke not just meaning, but feeling, too.
Normally, I don’t read non-fiction, especially self-help, but I had to read her book for a class to explore how other authors write. But sometimes, even though you’re given an approved solution, you have to figure things out yourself, ya’ know?
For example, I struggled through the first round of edits for my debut novel, Daughter of the South Wind. Given a deadline, I dragged myself into my home office each day to plod away on the laptop. There was no joy, no euphoric writer highs. My mood projected a dreariness like—the walls which surrounded me.
At one point, the light gray paint scheme I’d chosen for my bedroom-turned-office gave a serene vibe to the small room. The color promoted calm, the kind a person wanted just before they closed their eyes to go to bed. And that was my problem. Unlike Annie’s preference for an unappealing workplace free from interferences, I needed a room I liked to occupy in order to spark my imagination. She advocated for a blank slate so the mind could freely fill a paper with words without any suggestion from the environment. I required an office full of colors, knick-knacks, sticky notes, and dog barks to keep my mind moving. No wonder I had a hard time with those edits in the gray room. I wanted to nap instead of write.
Fueled by this insight about my own process, I typed “colors that spark creativity” in a search engine and got so many articles on the topic, I got overwhelmed. To choose, I played screen roulette, when you close your eyes, swirl the mouse, and click. The selected article listed ten colors, and I settled on a bright “Hint of Violet” paired with a muted blue-green called “Harmonious.” It took a day to paint the two-toned office, and each swipe of the roller on the wall washed away the funk that had seeped into my psyche. By the time I got all the furniture in place, the power cords corralled, and the pictures hung, I wanted to write.
Months later, I wake up and go straight to the office, a pattern that my dog has picked up on, too. When she sees me leave the bed, she heads straight to her chair by the window (although I suspect some recent squirrel sightings might have some influence on her, too). I can spend all day in the room, and many times catch myself staring at the pretty walls, not the pictures on them, mind you, but just the walls and the different hues that come from the shadows caused by the sun’s arc and the lamps’ shades.
Annie was wrong in my case, yet the lesson I learned went much deeper. Writing is an extremely personal occupation and the unlimited sources of inspiration that exist are a testament to its individuality. No two authors put words together in the same process which makes the variety of possibilities infinite and causes one person to love a book while another hates it. Which means, it’s nothing personal against an author if someone dislikes their book. Like or dislike merely indicates a reader didn’t connect with that author’s method of storytelling.
In a way, knowing this empowers me, allows me to trust in myself which was a central theme in Daughter of the South Wind. A person must not worry about what others might think and press ahead knowing they can make a difference to someone, somewhere. So, I’m going to tap away on my laptop and get the stories out of my head, trusting in my own process, confident that my purple and green color scheme might one day encourage an aspiring author when they read my own book on craft.
Soul Mate Publishing released Daughter of the South Wind in July 2018. Here’s the link for purchase, and it’s also available for check-out in Kindle Unlimited: http://bit.ly/SouthWind
Author Webpage: www.kddubois.com
KD’s Facebook: www.fb.me/kdduboisfan
KD’s Twitter: www.twitter.com/kd_du_bois
I post to social media on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and occasionally other days of the week if there’s a special running for my book, a really cute tweet about dogs, or a funny meme about writing. I send out a newsletter recapping my author webpage activity at the end of each month, so if you sign up for its newsletter, you won’t get spammed.
Until next post, may the days get longer and the cold winds turn warm. -KD DuBois