Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA: Getting to Know Me

Deana BarnhartGood day, friends and cyber-neighbors!

I'm taking part in the Gearing Up to Get an Agent Blog Hop  or as it's fondly called in writer circles, GUTGAA, now happening on the amazing Deana's Barnhart's Blog.  This is a six-week event, culminating in agent pitch contest and a small press editor pitch contest.  So, in the interest of full disclosure, transparency and getting to know me better, I shall now bear my soul.  Well, not really.  I'll just answer a few questions.

-Who are you?

My short bio is to the right.  But I will add, that I grew up in Chicago and currently live on the west coast.  For my day job, I'm a documentary researcher and production coordinator.  I love writing and I love researching and when you write novels, you get to do a lot of both.  Win-win!

-Where do you write? 

Mostly in the tiny cramped little room that used to be our son's bedroom, and is now known as "the office."  It's messy and dusty, filled with bookshelves, my husband's photo equipment, and papers waiting to be filed.  It's cluttered, because to keep the rest of the house clean, we dump all the junk in here.  As usual, you can't see my desktop right now.  My husband's desk, where he makes his own magic happen, is to the left of me.   There's a window to my right that looks out on the path that leads to my front door, where I can watch for delivery people and advertisement flyer distributors.  My family wonders how I can spend so much time in this room, and I remind them that, while my butt's in the chair, my imagination is carrying me off to faraway fantastic places.

-Favorite time to write?

Anytime, really.  My life's too chaotic to stick to any kind of schedule. Morning's probably best--but not too early.  I need to be fully awake before the creative juices start circulating.  But not too late or I burn out. 

-Drink of choice while writing? 

Hot Tea.  English Breakfast usually.  And I like it sweet.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

Oh no, I need silence when I write.  Occasionally, I might put on some classical music.  Or my husband plays jazz.  But nothing with lyrics because that's distracting.  It's too hard to write while I'm singing.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? 

DARKLING was inspired by the characters.  I wanted to write a story about a feisty, kick-ass girl, and a flawed, not-so-heroic hero, trying to make amends, and the story took off from there.

-What's your most valuable writing tip? 
Anything from Stephen King's book On Writing.  He says: Read, read, read.  If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write.   Also, I like the advice from Ann Lamott who urges us not to be afraid to write shitty first drafts. This is a good way to thwart the overbearing perfectionist in all of us.  The idea is to get started, put the words down, no matter how crude or unkempt. You can always go back and pretty them up later.


  1. Hello! *waves* So nice to meet you!

    Great advice. Especially the one on just writing. Get all the crap down and make it pretty later :)

  2. Hi! Nice to meet you!

    I love the advice about writing.

    1. Hi Diane,

      Nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

      Good luck with GUTGAA!

  3. I love that Stephen King gave me permission to ignore coworkers at lunch to sit alone and read. I get so much reading done on lunch breaks! Once a week I might eat with coworkers, but I like my reading time. It's definitely strengthened me as a writer.

    Here's my GUTGAA Meet & Greet post: A Girl and her Diary

  4. Nice to meet you! Stephen king book is an amazing source of advice.

  5. Sweetened English Breakfast tea - love it! Nice to *meet* you as part of GUTGAA.

  6. Hi Mary! Hopping along on the GUTGAA trail. I love the look of your blog, what a gorgeous forest photo. Good luck with your pitch, if you're doing that part. Come visit me.

  7. Just saying hello and good luck on the GUTGGAA. I am new to this online blog and writing, so I am just hoping to learn more about the process. Bye

  8. On Writing has been inspirational for me as well. He has a blunt but focused way of getting points across. Good luck with GUTGAA!

  9. Your day job sounds really groovy!

  10. Hello from GUTGAA! I also need silence to write and just picked up On Writing. As a HUGE Stephen King fan, I figured it was a good place to start. Great to meet you.
    A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

  11. Looks like I won't be able to join in on this awesome GUTGAA, but I hope you learn great things from it. Glad to know you!

    I gave you a Shout-Out on my blog today. :)

  12. Hi David,

    Thanks for stopping by! Too bad you're not doing GUTGAA. The contest entry day is Friday, Sept. 14 and you're not too late for that.

    Thanks for the shout out on your blog! I'm having a heck of a time keeping up with all the contests and commenting I want to do. This is turning into a full time job!

    Thanks again!