Friday, January 6, 2012

Writing on a Mountaintop


by Jean Herny Mead

I'm lucky to live on a mountaintop at 7,000 feet. What better place to write? By lucky I mean all those hours of uninterrupted writing. We only have cell phone service here and that doesn’t work half the time, so I’m usually not bothered by telemarketers. My life may sound boring to some but my husband and I are basically hermits who make a trip to town once or twice a month to buy supplies and visit friends.  It requires planning but the solitude and beauty of the landscape are well worth any inconveniences isolation may cause.

I'm up between six and seven each morning and I go straight to my computer in my pajamas with a bowl of cereal. A cup of chai tea topped with whipped cream opens my eyes while I answer email and check on my books’ sales numbers. I then launch into one of three books I’m currently working on: my fourth Logan and Cafferty mystery/suspense novel, second historical,  and a second book of interviews, The Mystery Writers, from my blog, Mysterious Writers. So, when I occasionally hit a blank wall—I hate the term “writer’s block”—I switch from the manuscript I’m currently working on to another. And if all else fails, I sit on the back deck and watch deer and antelope roam our land. I also enjoy watching the neighboring rancher’s horses as well as the mountain scenery, whether green with grass or covered in snow. That always gets my creative juices flowing. But, because I began my writing career as a journalist trained to sit down and write, I rarely hit a snag.

I’m definitely a seat of the pants writer. My characters are so familiar by now that they’re like old friends I look forward to visiting every day. I always read the chapter I worked on the previous day, making minor changes, which carries me into that day’s work. I use the film strip method, which means I watch and listen to my characters in my mind’s eye and type as fast as I can to keep up with them. I rarely plot in advance and only outline my nonfiction books. I sometimes write myself into a corner, although not very often. I also enjoy doing research at night for my current book.

It's cold and windy here now, but as fellow mystery writer Loren Estleman once said, the best time to write is when the snow is deep around the old ranch house and there's nowhere else to go.

11 comments:

writing jobs online said...

happy new year!!!! to everyone))))))

Morgan Mandel said...

I always have to go back and read some also, so I can get back into the mindset, before I can continue on with a story.

Love your view! It does look inspirational!

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Jean Henry Mead said...

Happy New Year, Writing Jobs Online. Thanks for stopping by.

Jean Henry Mead said...

It is, indeed, Morgan. Who needs landscape pictures on the walls when you look out the windows at the real thing. :)

Shirley Wells said...

It sounds as if you've found paradise. What a wonderful place to live.

I always read through the previous chapter/scene before I start too.

Jean Henry Mead said...

If not paradise, it's close to it, Shirley. :)

Randy Rawls said...

Wow, 7,000 feet. Now, that's up there. I think I'm at about 10 feet above sea level. Sounds like a wonderful place to live.
Like you, I hate the term "writer's block". sure there are days when the juices don't flow, but I can't blame that on anything except my lack of imagination at that moment. If it doesn't work today, it will tomorrow.
Happy New Year on your mountaintop.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Sounds wonderful!

I can't seem to tune out the distractions and with so many home for various reasons and new neighbors down below in the building, things are seemingly impossible from a solitude standpoint.

Earl Staggs said...

Jean, I want to move in with you so I can get more writing done.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I know what you mean, Kevin. I grew up in Los Angeles and there are few more distractions than living in a big city.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Earl, I'm afraid we wouldn't get much writing done. You'd have us laughing most of the time.