Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author talks about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.
It is my great pleasure to launch the fall season of Writerhead Wednesday with none other than the spectacular Erika Robuck, author of the soon-to-be-released historical fiction novel Hemingway’s Girl (Sept. 4).
I first met Erika on Twitter some years ago, and we’ve maintained a conversation ever since. She’s smart, funny, and passionate about writing, history, and her kiddos.
Let’s proceed…with caution. This is, after all, writerhead.
1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).
For me, writerhead is a state of near euphoria, removed from time and space, almost as I’d imagine my soul hovering outside of my physical self. When the characters seem to inhabit my body, my fingers can’t keep up with the words, and I have no awareness of basic needs, I am in writerhead. It’s wonderfully exhausting.
2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)
I work from home and I’m a mother to three boys under the age of ten, so interruption is a constant part of my process. I try to wait until my boys are asleep to write, when I’m less likely to be interrupted, because when they do interrupt writerhead, I’m terribly irritable.
Writing, for me, is achieved by near hypnosis, or at least a Pavlovian response to classical music and coffee. It’s easy for me to step into the writerhead zone because I crave it and I’ve trained myself to tap into it. When I’m pulled out of it by external factors, I have a very hard separating myself from the work. It’s almost violent for me. It’s like trying to stuff the floating soul back into the body, and as a writer of historical fiction, trying to travel back to the present from some place in the past.
3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.
The creative trance of writerhead is like the high experienced by a drug addict or a runner, though I’ve never done drugs and certainly don’t run enough to experience anything but misery while doing it. Like an addict, I’m always chasing the writerhead high, and when I get it, it makes me hungry for more.
BIO: Erika Robuck self-published her first novel Receive Me Falling. Her second novel, Hemingway’s Girl, will be released by NAL/Penguin on September 4, 2012. Erika is a contributor to popular fiction blog, Writer Unboxed, and maintains her own blog called Muse. She is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, The Hemingway Society, and The Historical Novel Society. She spends her time on the East Coast with her husband and three sons.