Today we’re talking to author Helen Yeomans about her book Return to Kaitlin and what it is like to be a writer in an average day in her life…
Oil rig jobs are dirty, dangerous—and highly paid, which is why 19-year-old Tyler Hogan heads for the oil fields rather than work for minimum wage at home.
Ty’s ego has taken a bruising in the past few months. His world fell apart when his girlfriend left him. He nearly hit someone while driving drunk, and at the end of his first semester he flunked out of university. Now he’s determined to make good, to earn the money for his education, to return home a hero.
Ty’s odyssey takes him through northern Canada, home to the ten percent of the population that doesn’t live along the Canada-US border. “Things are different here,” someone tells him. Ty learns just how different—and how different he, too, becomes in adversity.
About the Author Helen Yeomans has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. She worked in the publishing industry in Toronto and London before founding her own company in Vancouver, providing editing and writing services to business clients worldwide.
She has written four novels, including The Money Tree (2013) and Return to Kaitlin, about a university student seeking work in northern Canada.
Born in England and raised in Canada, Yeomans is a libertarian with a lifelong interest in the relationship between people and their governments. She is an avid golfer who generally succeeds in playing well approximately once a year, loves movies and music and reading.
Guest Post: A Day in My Life as an Indie Writer
My day is significantly different if I’m immersed in writing. Right now, I’m not. I’m immersed in publishing and promoting my fourth book, so my day starts with copious amounts of coffee to compensate for a sleepless night spent grizzling over production or promotional details.
For Return to Kaitlin I decided to print through CreateSpace as well as LightningSource, and it’s been a headache dealing with both, although they each have their good points.
Now that production is nearly complete, I’m able to focus on promotional aspects. During the morning I update my site, tweet (not much lately because it’s too time-consuming), update Facebook, write a blog post or try to find more reviewers.
Finding reviewers is an endless job, as writers know. I spend far too much time listening to promoters offering a rock-solid method to generate more reviews. These methods usually involve money or a significant amount of time on my part, so after an anguished pause I move on.
After lunch, I generally play golf (in the good weather). It gets me out, gives me company and conversation and something to think about other than work, plus exercise and fresh air, so I regard it as a Good Thing. In the winter, I’ll go for an hour’s walk, or do some sort of exercise—unless I can find something better to do.
That’s my non-writing day. My writing day is simpler and starts with copious amounts of coffee to compensate for a sleepless night spent planning the next scene or thinking ahead to the climax, or jotting notes on dialogue (which comes in a constant stream and generally doesn’t have to be written down, but I’m always afraid I’ll forget a really good one-liner, so picture me at three in the morning, jotting).
I write for four or five hours a day during the first draft stage, and always by hand. I sit on the sofa downstairs with a notebook, writing as fast as I can push out the words. I stop when I reach two thousand words or thereabouts, and go upstairs to the office. Here, I transcribe the writing, editing as I go. I used to be an editor in real life, and this method works well for me.
I don’t print a first draft until it’s complete, which provides an incentive to finish. I don’t look back beyond the last paragraph or page. I’m always in pushing-ahead mode during this stage.
I found that my last first-draft was actually pretty good: I had the story, the major turning points, the character’s development, climax and conclusion more or less as they are today. The story needed some fleshing out, more detail here and there. And because it is partly set on an oil rig, there were technical matters to attend to. But I was pleased to find that after four books I now have a much better grasp of what a story needs.
After a morning spent writing, I play golf, or take a walk. Evenings are spent trying to hold sensible conversations with relatives or friends when my head is teeming with tomorrow’s scenes.
Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Helen!
Where can we find you and your books?
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Amazon.com ebook (Kindle only) paperback
Thanks for sharing your two types of days with us. Golf? Really? That is about as interesting as watching paint dry, to me! Glad you like it, though; the conversations and the fresh air are the best parts, right? I don’t get much conversation via swimming and only get fresh air in summer when it’s not thunderstorming… which is to say, not much.
I can’t believe you still write your first draft in longhand first. That is incredibly time-consuming and hand-cramping! Plus, if you edit as you transcribe, you never actually see the first draft as you wrote it. AND, you’re writing it all twice! Whew!
It took me a few months to switch my creative process over to the keyboard from the pen back in the early 1990s, but since then, I haven’t regretted it. I strongly encourage you to consider that switch for three reasons: 1) your productivity will go up four-fold, at least; 2) your first draft will be intact; and, 3) your leisure time (read: marketing) will open up!
Best to you,
Sally, thank you for your observations. I write longhand because even though I’m a fast typist, writing is by far the quickest method and on net, produces much higher quality once the copy has been transcribed. That translates into quicker brain-to-book results, which are important at my age. Everyone has a preferred method, and that’s mine.