The author guest post series continues. Today we are hosting Lori Culwell author of How to Market a Book (which I am currently reading), Hollywood Car Wash, The Dirt, Wealth From Within, and Million Dollar Website. Lori is a writer,social media and SEO expert, and self proclaimed tech nerd. She also owns the blog www.funnystrange.com
I started to write a post describing my “writing space,” andthen I realized that I would have to admit the truth—in today’s face-paced,emails flying at me every minute of every day, social media heavy society, I amfacing the writer’s dilemma—I do too many things at once, and that makes itvery difficult (if not impossible) to sit down, focus up, and write.
Here is a picture of my desk. Notice the three computers, two backupdrives, one iPad, and one iPhone, plus a stack of papers/ files. This represents all the stuff I have to takecare of for clients, plus everything I need to learn in order to stay currentwith the world of websites/ marketing. If you think I am getting any good writingdone there, think again! So much isgoing on at that desk, I can barely focus long enough to answer an email.
This leads me to my next point: writing is a practice, and sometimes you haveto put yourself in “time out.” Irealize that I’m never going to be able to “shut out the world” when I’msitting at the desk where I do regular work, so once or twice a week I take mylaptop and a notebook (where I keep my ideas for blog posts/ book chapters/other stuff I’m working on), get in my car, drive somewhere like a parking lot,and sit in the back of my car and write for several hours.
Here’s why I like doing this:
n I am only allowed internet access on my phone,and this makes it much harder to get “sucked in” to unlimited wireless. This is good because when I’m on writingdeadline I tend to get very curious aboutobscure things, and then I will look those things up on the internetinstead of writing. I’m sure you’venever done this. I actually wrote awhole blog post about this exact subject when I was editing my first novel,“Hollywood Car Wash.”
n Somehow, being in the car sends a signal to mybrain that I have to be serious and focus on writing. I find that I now get some great ideas whenI hit that back seat!
Some logistical questions that people have asked since Ifirst mentioned this strange practice
Q: Where do you park the car?
I tend to park near grocery stores/coffee houses, just so I can have access to the restroom and to get food/drinks if I get hungry or thirsty. I donot like writing in coffee houses, though, because I generally find the peoplethere to be too noisy, and I don’t like asking people to “guard my stuff” if Ihave to go wait in line for the bathroom.
Q: How long is a typical “car writing” session?
Depends on the deadline. Usually an hour or two, though duringintense re-writes it has known to creep up to four hours. You would be surprised how addictive it isto just be unplugged and write to your heart’s content. This also depends on my computer’s batterylife, though I do find that with the MacBook Pro I get a lot more time.
Q: What books have been writtenthis way?
A: All of them, at onepoint or another, have been given the “car treatment.”
Q: Why did you start doing this?
A: This started while living in Los Angeles. I don’t know if you’re familiar with thetraffic situation there, but much of your Los Angeles life is spent “playingoffense” with the traffic, meaning that if you have to be on the Valley at5:00, your best bet is to just go there at 2:00 and wait in your car. Otherwise you end up stuck in a heinoustraffic jam, and then your quality of life goes down. The “wait in your car” strategy also verymuch applies if you have a meeting at 1:00pm and another one at 5:00pm. There is no way you’re driving all the wayhome and back in between. Many peopleI know in LA have changes of clothes, a whole second makeup bag, and pillows/books in their cars, just for “waiting” purposes. I found that if I just took a single book andmy computer, I could actually get a lot of focused writing done!
Q: Does anyone else you know dothis?
A: I thought I was unique, but then I told famous writer Steven Pressfield about thispractice, and not only did he say he was considering trying it, but he told methat he knew several other writers who did this regularly.