We continue our conversation with N.J. author Robert Daniher.
BHPL: the question that I see in most author interviews is: when do you write, what routines do you find helpful?
Bob: This is a very good question because I find that every writer I’ve met has a slightly different answer for this. Many writers say that the morning is the best time to write, but I find that I do most of my writing at night. It’s quiet and dark and it usually feels like the prime time to concoct murder and mayhem. Sometimes writing until 2 or 3am. But lately I’ve been writing throughout the day as the muse strikes. That’s very important, go with the flow. This is very difficult for people due to our typically busy lives. But writing is also a discipline. Self-discipline is a very important trait in a writer. You must find the time of day which works best for you, if that’s in the morning before work or a night before bed. Or maybe even during a lunch break. As much time as you can dedicate to it is worth it, but try and get up to an hour if you can. Then try and stick to that time every day. Don’t take off Saturdays or Sundays. Some days you will find yourself struggling while other days you will feel words flow out of you like a waterfall. Those are the moments you are writing for. And once you get one of those days you have to stay with it and don’t stop until you are tapped out for the day. Fit writing into your day at some point every day and eventually it will become like an illicit love affair you just can’t say no to.
BHPL: That sounds like good advice. The other most frequently asked question: where do you get your ideas? And in a related question: do you keep a journal to jot down ideas?
Bob: Many writers I meet hate this question. But I think it’s a legitimate one. Like I said in our last post, ideas come from everywhere. Everyday experiences can bring about great inspiration for a story. You can be sitting in a café and overhear someone else’s conversation and that could spark a ‘what if’ scenario in your mind. Or maybe you saw something suspicious across the street while walking your dog. Jot it down and maybe you can get a murder out of it. My story ‘BallPoint’ was a detective story based in 1940’s Newark, NJ. I got the idea from conversations I had with my Grandfather about growing up in Newark. He wasn’t a detective, but you only need a spark and then you make the rest up.
I’m glad you asked about the journal too because this is a big one with me. I began carrying a small pocket notebook a few years ago and it has become my closest friend. I can share my deepest secrets with it and never worry about it telling anyone. You can’t say that for many real friends, I’ll tell you that. The reason it’s a good idea to carry one is because you never know when inspiration may strike. You may not have the time to sit down for a full writing session at that time so you can jot your idea, sentence, title, whatever in your notebook and go back to it later. I’m very particular about my notebook too. It has to be small. Women are lucky. They can carry a purse around to put a notebook in. Men only have pockets, so the smaller the better. It also has to be sturdy with tight binding. You don’t want the pages to fall out. Spiral rings are no good. Really good quality pocket notebooks run anywhere from 5 to 10 dollars or more. But believe me, they are worth it.
BHPL: Bob, thanks again for visiting the BHPL blog.To our readers: Bob will be back in the coming weeks with some more observations about the writing life.
Link to the Mr. Daniher's visits on this blog: Robert Daniher