Author Guest Post
A Day In My Writing Life
I’ve spoken to many writers over the years who have told me that they have very specific rituals for getting words on a page. Some grab a couple of hours in the morning before going off to their day jobs. Others work the flip side of this, kissing the spouse goodnight and then burning the midnight oil at the computer. I know a writer who spends two hours writing, then gardens for an hour, and then writes for an hour more before taking the afternoon off for herself. I’ve always been envious of this writer for multiple reasons.
I don’t follow any such ritual. As someone who makes his entire living from writing, the full workday is open to me. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. I’ve had writers tell me that they found themselves becoming less productive once they no longer had another job to worry about, and I can understand how this happens. Having the entire day to write creates the illusion that you have plenty of time to get everything done. This would be true if I used any part of this time efficiently.
My day starts with administrative tasks: managing correspondence, maybe writing a blog post, doing something my publisher requests, that sort of thing. Then it’s time for the most important function of the day: procrastination. I have become quite adept at procrastination, sometimes capable of deferring work in the middle of a sentence. I’ve even convinced myself that there’s some value in this, that I need to, say, check food blogs for a while in order to build up the momentum to get to the other side of a phrase. The procrastination phase of the day can go on for some time, even the entire day if I’m on a procrastination roll.
Often, though, I take a break from procrastination to write. Since I write both fiction and nonfiction, I’ll often assign one task to the morning and the other to the afternoon. These are tremendously different experiences for me, and I approach each differently. When I’m writing nonfiction, it’s a matter of opening multiple screens of research, combing through it, and finding the through-line to the portion of the manuscript I’m writing. For instance, I might be leafing through half a dozen Internet pages plus the transcript from an original interview looking for an angle that fits into the larger theme of the book. Of course, this can lead to an entire new level of “research” that is really nothing more than further procrastination. Recently, I was working on a book about sports and doing a piece on Babe Ruth’s “called shot” (anyone who has read my novel When You Went Away knows that I’m a huge baseball fan). I went onto YouTube to see if there was any available video and spent the next three hours watching various clips of Ruth or people talking about Ruth. This wasn’t particularly productive, but I had a very good time.
The fiction-writing part of my day is a bit more formal. I’m a dedicated outliner, so I know exactly which scene I’m going to be working on when I get started. Some writers are capable of sitting at the computer and just letting the inspiration flow, but I feel that I need much more structure than that, for reasons that are probably obvious to you at this point. With the scene in mind, I get myself into the head of the viewpoint character and plunge into the action. This is usually when I get my “roadwork” in, as I’ll often pace around my office or even the entire house between sentences. Writing fiction of course requires doing a certain amount of research as well, and by now you know what that means for me. For my latest novel Leaves, I managed to turn a quick Google search about the colors of the hickory into an entire afternoon of Internet browsing that ultimately led to my booking a day trip for my family and me on a boat that rides the Connecticut River.
In all, my workday tends to run about ten hours. Maybe three of those hours are actually productive. It would be nice to think that I could teach myself to be more efficient and therefore have all of those other hours back. Every time I try to work on being more efficient, though, I just start to procrastinate.
About The Author
Though I started with nonfiction, I have always loved fiction and I have always wanted to write it. Since I can remember, I’ve had a particular affection for love stories. In fact, the very first book-length thing I ever wrote, when I was thirteen, was a love story. Mind you, it was the kind of love story that a thirteen-year-old boy would write, but it was a love story nonetheless. I have a deep passion for writing about relationships – family relationships, working relationships, friendships, and, of course, romantic relationships – and I can only truly explore this by writing fiction. These novels have given me a way to voice the millions of things running through my head.
My wife and kids are the center of my life. My wife is the inspiration for all of my love stories and my children enthrall me, challenge me, and keep me moving (and have served as the inspiration for several of the kids I’ve written about). One of the primary reasons I wrote my first novel, When You Went Away was that I wanted to write about being a father. Aside from my family, I have a few other burning passions. I’m a pop culture junkie with an especially strong interest in music, I love fine food (as well as any restaurant shaped like a hot dog), and I read far too many sports blogs for my own good.
THE STORY PLANT - PUBLISHER
Michael Baron ~ Leaves ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Providence Book Promotions
Leaves by Michael Baron
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback - 352 pages / Kindle - 733 KB / Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Leaves
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Providence Book Promotions.
Welcome to Oldham, CT, a small town rich in Colonial heritage while being utterly contemporary. Situated along the Connecticut River Valley, Oldham bursts with color every fall, as the leaves on its trees evolve into an unmatched palette of scarlet, orange, purple, yellow, and bronze. For more than three decades, the Gold family has been a central part of Oldham in the fall, its Sugar Maple Inn a destination for “leaf-peepers” from all over the country, and its annual Halloween party a stirring way to punctuate the town’s most active month.
But this year, more than just the leaves are changing. With the death of their parents, the Gold siblings, Maria, Maxwell, Deborah, Corrina, and Tyler, have decided to sell the Sugar Maple Inn, and this year’s Halloween party will be the last. As October begins, the Golds contend with the finality that faces them, and the implications it has for a family that has always been so close. For some, it means embracing new challenges and new love. For others, it means taking on unimagined roles. And for others, it means considering the inconceivable. Complicating it all is a series of “hauntings” that touch each of the Gold siblings, a series of benign interventions that will remain a mystery until October draws to a close.
Filled with romance, tension, and unforgettable family drama, Leave is the first in a series of novels about a world and a family that readers will want to make their own.
My Book Review:
The Gold family's Sugar Maple Inn has been a popular tourist destination in Oldham, Connecticut for thirty-two years. Autumn in New England, where the leaves change their glorious colors, draws a faithful legion of "leaf peepers" to the area every fall season. But for the five Gold siblings, this is the final autumn that they will own the inn. After the death of their parents, Joseph and Bethany, who had moved their family from Long Island to Oldham to start a new life, the five Gold siblings: Maria, Maxwell, Deborah, Corrina and Tyler have made the reluctant decision to sell the inn to an organization that operates country inns all along the Eastern seaboard. The Gold family will hold their final traditional Halloween party before the inn officially changes hands on November 1st.
Leaves follows the Gold siblings throughout the month of October as they count down the remaining days of owning the Sugar Maple Inn, culminating in the hosting of the inn's traditional Halloween party. As the days count down, the siblings struggle to let go, move on, and start anew. Each sibling has their own individual memories and issues that they are dealing with in their lives, but the ending of their family owned business adds a bittersweet element to the tumultuous and emotional time that they are going through. Will the upcoming sale of the family inn tear the family apart? Will the once close family bond loosen as they focus on their individual personal lives? Or will the family traditions and bonds of love forged by their beloved parents bring them closer together?
Leaves is a poignant story of a New England family's changing dynamic ... similar to the autumnal seasonal leaves changing of colors in their hometown. Author Michael Baron weaves a heartfelt and riveting tale of loss, rebirth and renewal for the siblings in the Gold family, who each struggle with life changes within their family relationships. As the month of October counts down the days to the inn's final traditional Halloween party, the story chronicles the sibling's ups and downs of their individual lives, as they move towards the end of the ownership of their family inn. Just like the seasonal changes, life also changes, and for the Gold family, the changes will redefine their lives and family relationship.
The reader is drawn into the Gold siblings lives, magically transported to the scenic New England town of Oldham and the quaint family owned Sugar Maple Inn. As the individual life stories of the Gold siblings (Maria, Maxwell, Deborah, Corrina and Tyler) unfold, the reader can't help but become emotionally invested as if they were their own family members. The author builds upon the drama of the siblings personal lives and their family relationship with the calendar countdown of the final days of their family inn. Like a emotionally charged roller coaster ride, the author keeps the reader engaged with the riveting twists and turns of the changing Gold family dynamic, only to leave the reader emotionally spent with a bittersweet cliffhanger ending as the Gold family saga continues in the next book in the series.
Author Michael Baron's storytelling is reminiscent of my favorite author, Nicholas Sparks. His thoughtful creative style of writing simply captivates the reader and holds them spellbound.
Leaves is an emotionally moving story about family relationships and life changes that will simply tug at your heartstrings. I just know that the Gold Family series is going to be one that will resonate with the readers long after the last page has been read.
RATING: 5 STARS *****