Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Writer’s Life with Children’s Author Nancy I. Sanders

Featured Book:
D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet
Author: Nancy I. Sanders
Illustrator: E. B. Lewis
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Book’s Website: www.DrinkingGourdAlphabet.wordpress.com



Mini Interview

Q. What is a typical writing day like for you?
A. Over the years, my writing schedule has reflected the seasons in my life. When I first started writing, I had a newborn and a two-year old. When I was busy caring for the boys during the day, I was constantly brainstorming ideas. When I put them down for their naps, I’d sit down to write.

Now I have the luxury of writing from the moment I get up until my husband, Jeff, comes home from teaching fourth grade in a public elementary school. Both our sons are grown and gone and live nearby. So I can be found writing some days from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. It’s a writer’s dream come true! I keep pinching myself to make sure it’s real, but know as new phases and stages of life come by, new writing schedules will appear.

Every other week or so I have writing groups that meet in my home, so I’m usually writing four full days a week. Before breakfast, I work on little projects such as submitting my current book for state reading lists and awards. After breakfast, I work all morning on my current major project, which over the years has usually been a book deadline. After lunch, I work on short writing projects such as magazine articles, social networking, marketing, new book proposals, and writing for my church.

Q. Where do you write?
A. Now that our sons are grown, I have the luxury of writing all over the house! I remember those early years of writing on a card table on our porch or on a desk squeezed in the corner of our bedroom. I guess those memories help me appreciate all the space I can write in today!

In our office, there are three desks. Two of them are my writing desks. One desk is where my desktop is. The other desk is where my laptop is. Each desk has research books, file folders, and notes on a major writing project I’m currently working on.

I split half my computer time between my desktop and my laptop. Alternating between the two helps keep my eyestrain and wrist strain to a minimum. Also, I carry my laptop out to my couch/recliner where I can type with our two writing buddies, our kittens Sandman and Pitterpat, napping next to me. And when I want a change of scenery I write in our living room looking out the window at our birdfeeders.

Depending on my writing projects, I also spread out my research and notes and manuscript files either on our dining room table or on a 6-foot folding table in the former-boys-bedroom-turned-library. I find I work best if I can keep a project spread out on a single large table and not have to put it away every night. It keeps the flow going smoothly from one day to the next and one chapter to the next. 


Be sure to follow Nancy's virtual book tour! A complete schedule can be found HERE

www.tips-fb.com

22 comments:

Mayra Calvani said...

Dear Nancy,

It's a pleasure having you on my blog today. From from post, I can tell you're living the writer's dream! :-)

Question: you say you work on your desktop and also on your laptop. Do you carry an ISB stick with you where all of your work is contained or--?? I always find working in alternating computers a little confusing because I may not remember later where my 'latest' version of something is located. How do you deal with this?

Wow, from 6am to 6pm! I assume you take short breaks to stretch or do other stuff? Do you have any secrets to keep your eyes from getting too tired? Mine hurt so much at the end of the day.

Thanks, Nancy!

Griefcase said...

What a delightful interview. Reading how your writing day works is like opening a window--it's a breath of fresh air!

Thanks for sharing.

Linda Della Donna
www.bookorbust.blogspot.com
www.griefcase.net

Magdalena Ball said...

That writing table with the big project spread out on it sounds great, as do your long writing hours. Thanks for sharing your work environment.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Nancy, this looks like a beautiful book. It would fit perfectly in my homeschool.

Thank-you so much for sharing a bit of your world!

Kathy
http://kathleenmoulton.com

Angela said...

Nancy,
I'm not an envious person, but I do envy you having all that time to write. Not that I could ever write from 6.00a.m to 6.00 p.m., but it would be nice to have that much time available. All the best with your tour and other projects.

Donna M. McDine said...

Hi Nancy:

Your writing schedule obviously works well for you. Glad you have various spots you work in. Once I finally got into gear and started writing first thing my day flowed much smoother.

I always enjoy learning more about you. Great pics!

Best regards,
Donna
The Golden Pathway Story book Blog

Karen Cioffi said...

Nancy, you're my writing idol! :) My daughter is a 4th grade public school teacher also!

nancyisanders said...

It's such a joy to be here on your blog today, Mayra! Thanks for waiting for me to hop in (I'm on late California time compared to all you early birds across the states and around the world :o)

And yes, Mayra, it can get confusing working on 2 different computers. I used to carry an ISB or flash drive stick back and forth. But now we have wi-fi so I just e-mail my projects back and forth. I always number or date my manuscripts so I can keep track of which is the most current. But even easier than that is that I try to keep each project on its own computer. So if I'm working on the actual manuscript, say it's on my desktop. But the research is on my laptop. And shorter projects like magazine articles and picture books tend to be on the laptop. I e-mail everything to an online e-mail account every day as backup so I can also retrieve any project from anywhere.

nancyisanders said...

It's such a joy to be here on your blog today, Mayra! Thanks for waiting for me to hop in (I'm on late California time compared to all you early birds across the states and around the world :o)

And yes, Mayra, it can get confusing working on 2 different computers. I used to carry an ISB or flash drive stick back and forth. But now we have wi-fi so I just e-mail my projects back and forth. I always number or date my manuscripts so I can keep track of which is the most current. But even easier than that is that I try to keep each project on its own computer. So if I'm working on the actual manuscript, say it's on my desktop. But the research is on my laptop. And shorter projects like magazine articles and picture books tend to be on the laptop. I e-mail everything to an online e-mail account every day as backup so I can also retrieve any project from anywhere.

nancyisanders said...

And yes, Mayra, the eyes are an issue, too! I definitely take short breaks every hour or so when I do something physical like the dishes or ironing or gardening or play with the cats. (That's their first choice of course!) And when my eyes start to bug me I avoid both computers entirely for an hour or so and sit and brainstorm or outline or research the old fashioned way...with pen and paper.

nancyisanders said...

And thanks for all your kudos everyone! If you want to join in a contest, just hop on over to my blog and follow the steps to get your name in the hat. The winner gets a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble! My blog is at www.nancyisanders.wordpress.com

And may all your writing dreams come true!

Mayra Calvani said...

That makes sense, Nancy, to keep specific projects on either your laptop or desktop. Thanks for sharing that.

Best of luck with the rest of your tour! Your book looks awesome!

Karen Cioffi said...

I have a laptop and computer also. I use the laptop when I'm babysitting at my daughter's. I use Dropbox to keep my files synced on both. This way no matter which one I'm using the file is updated.

I also have a zip drive, but with Dropbox I don't use it as much.

T. Forehand said...

This is a great post with tips that I can use for organizing my work. Love learning from the professionals and Nancy is such a help. Thanks for sharing this.

NancyCL said...

Thanks for this great interview and letting us get to know Nancy better. What an awesome author!

Marge said...

Thank you for all the interesting insights. It was a great interview.I'm hoping to retire soon and have all that time to write, too.

I am wondering what a drop box is. That's a term I haven't heard before.

Marge

Annie said...

A lovely post which revived my determination to be (at least slightly) better organized. Thank you for sharing all your tips, Nancy, and thanks too to Mayra for this inspirational blog.

Marge, Drop Box is a website to which you can upload files for safekeeping, share them, encrypt them for transfer or keep them private. Someone else may well have a better explanation. I am with Box.net which is also cloud computing, and I back up my important files there weekly. People use these instead of Google docs as some say Google may index the docs on its search engines.

Monti said...

You certainly have a wonderful writing situation now, and you sound very organized. Thank for sharing your writing story!

Monti
Mary Montague Sikes

Cheryl said...

I love Nancy's books. How neat that she has writing groups in her home. I would love to do that one day too.

nancyisanders said...

It's good to hear about box.net, too, Annie! Thanks for sharing. And Cheryl...hopefully you can invite some writer friends over. Right now the 2 groups that meet are small...5 of us who are mentoring each other writing picture books and 5 different gals who are mentoring each other trying to break into writing for the big magazines. You can even invite just 1 for starters! I look forward to these so much and they're so motivating and inspirational.

nancyisanders said...

Mayra, thanks for hosting my VBT today. You've got a fantastic site and lots of enthusiastic readers. Hip hip hooray! Hugs, Nancy

Morgan Mandel said...

Alternating between the desktop computer and laptop sounds like a good idea. I haven't used my laptop one as much since I've been at home over the past year and a third. I think I'll try that.

I used to have a nice couch similar to the one in the picture, but the dog before the latest ruined it. Now I have a plain blue one, and Rascal, whom we've had for about 6 years now, doesn't get to sleep on it.

Morgan Mandel
http://facebook.com/morgan.mandel