Katherine Garbera is someone you most definitely pencil in her address in your contact book! But somehow she’s managed to write over 45 titles for Harlequin while on the move. Here are some of her secrets…
The View From Where?
I like writing, actually I love it. What I really dig about it is the fact that while I’m sitting at my keyboard I’m sort of in control of my world. The fictional world that I’ve made up and the characters that though they are sometimes headstrong—are still mine. When real life interferes I’m afraid I get a bit cranky and want to just find my way back to my nice safe writing cave.
I’ve moved a lot since I sold my first book. Central Florida to Chicago back to Florida to Dallas to San Diego and then to the United Kingdom.
Here are my top five things that make writing in a new environment easier:
Routine. You have to carve out time for writing at the same time every day. This is important when you first move to a new location because you will be distracted by everyone and everything. It’s all new and you want to experience it all. Resist. Find a routine and even if you only write a small amount every day start doing that in your writing spot.
Writing Space. Make your writing space distinctive. I love writing at my desk because I have all these little post-it notes from my kids when they were little, framed photos of my hubby and family, and toys that make me smile. But when I first moved to the U.K. none of this helped me to write. Everything here was foreign. I took my iPad and keyboard to the coffee shop and it was there that I could write. I did this every day (Monday – Friday) until I got into a routine. Eventually I found that I was writing at my desk in the mornings before I had to take my kids to school. And soon my desk was the place to write again. I just had to ease myself back into my writing world.
Skype/FaceTime. Until you move far away from your family and friends you will not realize how much you miss them. I have been critiquing with and talking to the same two writers every day for…well it feels like forever. So when I moved around the U.S. to Texas and then California phone calls were great. But once I moved to another country it was much harder. We figured out the time zones and then discovered we could video chat. This is the best. There is something so comforting in seeing your writing friends faces once in a while. Living in a new place can feel so isolating and while that is good for getting pages written, it’s not really good for your writing soul.
Meet New People. I’m shy. When my children were young I had force myself to volunteer at school each time we moved so I’d get to know some of the other moms. It’s the same with writers groups. I always make myself go to every meeting until I can feel comfortable around people. What I’ve noticed though is that writers are the same wherever I go. They are always sort of my people. Everyone is a little shy at first but then we start talking about the words and books and soon the conversation is flowing and you’ve made new friends.
Explore. This last tip is really my favorite. You know how Julia Cameron talks about Artist’s Dates in her book THE ARTIST’S WAY? Well moving to a new place is perfect for this. You can feed your muse by driving through your new town and people watching. By checking out the local history—I live very close to a battlefield that was important to ending the War of The Roses. I also check out the local food. When we moved to California I loved driving along the Pacific coast and seeing the beaches and the cliffs—they were so different from my home state of Florida. Seeing new things like this always inspires me to think of characters and plot in different ways.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. The most important thing is to settle into your new place and not expect it to be like your old one.
You can follow Kathy’s adventures on her website, her Facebook page or on Twitter as @KatherinGarbera (no E!)
This month she’s in a digital “Man of the Month” bundle with Master of Fortune, as well as other releases!