Seems like I’ve been chasing Loretta around forever for an interview, but it turns out that she’s just been busy writing and traveling. I am delighted that we re-connected and she has shared this wonderful look into her writing process and experiences.
Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?
A. I have a room set aside. It’s about ¼ the size I need. I dream of a barn, to be converted into a studio, with miles of bookshelves and a vast wall space for my historical maps.
Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write?
A. A cup of tea or coffee. Then I panic. Then I run out of the room & find something else to do. Then I return, maybe write something, panic, and so on. My work area is always in chaos, and putting things away provides a superior method of procrastinating.
Q. What is your mode of writing?
A. Years ago it was longhand. Now I work mainly at the computer, occasionally reverting to longhand when writing in bed, imagining I’m Marcel Proust or Edith Sitwell . This tends to happen when my brain needs to get unstuck.
A. I try to write every day. The timing is not as consistent as it ought to be. Distractions want to overwhelm me. There’s always something else to do besides work on the book. Procrastination & I are very close, best friends, really, but it’s not a healthy relationship. Procrastination is a little … clingy.
Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?
A. Don’t listen to me because I’m a bad example. Listen to Steven Pressfield, The War of Art. If I didn’t reread it periodically, I’d never get anything done. Procrastination, in a nutshell, is resistance, and it’s a battle some of us fight every single day and don’t always win. The longer I write, the harder it gets, the more daunting the blank screen. And yet it’s so bizarre. Once I get past the blind terror, I’m having a wonderful time.
Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?
A. See above. Once I’m working, once past the scary business of getting started, I’m in the world of the story—and become very annoyed when anything pulls me out of it. Because it’s hard to get into that story place, and you really need to concentrate to keep the whole world in your head, especially after decades of writing. One has accumulated so much stuff in in the brain, and the stuff interrupts and distracts and leads one down the primrose path.
Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?
A. Lately Charles Dickens is hanging in the back of my mind. He’s kind of a nag, actually. More earthly motivation comes from my husband waving bills in my face or asking me how much I wrote today. I hate having to say, “One sentence” and watching him roll his eyes.
Please come back and enjoy Part 2 of our chat with Loretta on May 31st.
Coming soon! Loretta Chase’s new release ~~ June 24th.