Let’s Talk with Cheryl Hollon

Split Personality of a Writer

by Cheryl Hollon

At our January meeting of Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime chapter, I interviewed one of St. Petersburg’s newest debut authors, Gale Massey. The interview was casual and intended to mimic a conversation. One of the topics we talked about is the split personality aspects of being an author. There’s the actual fingers-on-keyboard writing the book part and then there’s the public persona with appearances, readings, blogging and social media.

Although I am mostly an extrovert, I have found that the process of writing two books a year is having a strange effect. I’m now more introvert than extrovert. How did that happen? I have become dependent on the many hours of quiet creation. Yes, I do mean hours. I spend every morning from seven until noon writing the current book. Today, I’m working on Death at Battleship Rock, Paint & Shine Mystery Series Book #2. This brings my number of contracted books up to eight.

Most days, I’m writing alone, but two days a week Gale comes over to my apartment complex and we sprint together. This is my most productive time of the week. It doesn’t sound like it would be since Gale and I LOVE to chat, but we have rules.

First, we settle our laptops and coffee, then catch up on personal stuff for about ten minutes. Second, we each declare what we’re working on and how much we want to complete in the first sprint. Third, we put those fingers on the keyboard and don’t even look up for the remaining 45 minutes of the hour. We repeat the process for the second hour. It’s absolutely magic and I more than double my normal progress for those two hours.

Here’s a link to her website: Gale Massey Author

How do you keep the words flowing?

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Comments

  1. I am a BAAAAAD writer in that I procrastinate and do most of my writing the last month before my book is due (shh, don’t tell my editor). It would be great to be able to chat about writing but sadly my writing time is so limited these days that it is not to be. But I love hearing about how other authors work.:)

  2. I’m here in my house. I get energy from attending my workout at 7 am every single morning. After breakfast and a shower, I’m at my desk till lunch, errands, and then back till five. I’ve not done sprints. I’ve done retreats and workshops but am happier at my own desk.

  3. Maggie Toussaint says:

    I’ve always been that kid in class, the one that raises their hand and wants to go first. It was never because of wanting to be a teacher’s pet or a leader, it was more that my energy and enthusiasm would leak or be diverted if I heard other’s projects first. I needed to get everything out of my head right away or else I couldn’t do a very good job. That personality trait spills over into my writing. I need to tell the current story in my head before it gets diluted or dispersed by the passage of time.

    • cherylhollon says:

      Hi Maggie. I also need to dampen down the millions of thoughts that run wild during the writing. Having someone across the table watching me type seems to work for me.

  4. authorlois says:

    I’ve tried writing with other authors around. I’ve attended several writer retreats with author friends. Never got any writing done. However, my critique partner and I speak on the phone, often several times a day, to brainstorm.

    • cherylhollon says:

      Hi Lois. The common element to getting your writing done is: whatever works for you. Chatting several times a day would drive me nuts.

      • authorlois says:

        LOL, Cheryl! There are days when my critique partner is the only other person besides my husband that I speak to. The kids have flown the coop. I pretty much hole myself away in my writer cave and don’t answer the phone unless it’s someone I know and want to speak with, but most people text instead of call nowadays. So 99% of the phone calls are spam, which I ignore.

  5. Knowing that I have a critique group meeting coming up inspires me to write more pages. Also, readers are expecting that next book. This is a very strong incentive to get working.

    • cherylhollon says:

      Oh my! I know that feeling. I have five more books under contract and a idea for another series. ENJOY!!