Multi-talented Author Gay Yellen Talks About Her ‘Organized Chaos’
It’s a pleasure to welcome the multi-talented Gay Yellen, author of The Body Business, a 2015 RONE Award Finalist.
Today, she’s sharing more about her approach to writing, which she cheerfully describes as ‘organized chaos’, and more about her book, The Body Business.
Gay, please tell us more about your ‘organized chaos.’
You’ve probably heard of the Infinite Monkey Theory, which posits that a monkey hitting random letters on a keyboard for an infinite amount of time could produce a real work of literature, like Shakespeare. That pretty much sums up my approach to organizing when I write.
Prioritize? I make lists. I have a stack of them on my desk right now. Well, it began as a stack; now it’s more of a blanket, spread eight or nine lists thick over all the available desk space not occupied by bills to pay, events to add to my calendar, invitations to accept, and to-do lists for the non-writing part of my life.
Outline? I was the kind of student who, when required to turn in an outline with a written report, wrote the report first, then backfilled the outline. I never knew what I was going to write until I wrote it. Outlines weren’t guides for me; they were synopses after the writing was finished.
I’ve thrived on what I’d call organized chaos since my magazine days. I worked for monthlies as managing editor, which included, among other duties, chief deadline wrangler. Writers, photographers, illustrators of varying aptitudes for turning in their work on time were the cats I herded. I also had to do my own writing each month, and often produced last minute fill-ins for writers who didn’t make deadline.
In short, I learned to write in quick spurts of creative energy. That technique worked at the magazines, but novel writing uses different muscles that, alas, I’m still developing.
Here’s what I do know about how to get work done, whether you write from detailed outlines or tiny scraps of paper strewn all over the place:
- Make writing a priority. Set your goal for tomorrow’s work the night before.
- Make it the last thing you think about before you fall asleep, so your brain can work on it overnight. Write every day, even if it’s only a sentence, or a rewrite you’re making stronger.
- When you can’t work on it, think on it.
- Read helpful blogs. Make lists, character boards, outlines or whatever works for you. Learn what other authors do to get better at it.
I’m planning to be better at organizing, as soon as I finish the book I’m writing now. Until then, I’m still that monkey, typing away.
Here’s a little bit about Book #1 in The Samantha Newman Series. Enjoy!
With a great job and a fantastic boyfriend, Samantha Newman thinks she has it all.
But when her best friend vanishes, doubt creeps in.
Is there some ugly reality behind her firm’s success?
When she asks the FBI for help, they send a man with secrets of his own.
How can she find her friend without getting caught in the web of deceit?
Carter Chapman is on a mission.
But it wasn’t supposed to include a beautiful corporate executive with her own set of problems, until a terrible event puts them on the same path to discovery, and they each have to decide if some secrets are worth the price.
MORE ABOUT GAY
Gay Yellen began her working life as an actress in theatre, film and television commercials, then moved behind the camera to become the Assistant to the Director of Production at The American Film Institute. She is a former magazine editor and national journalism award winner, and was the contributing book editor for Five Minutes to Midnight(Delacorte Press), an international thriller.
The Body Business is Book #1 in her Samantha Newman Series, and is a 2015 RONE Award finalist. Watch for Book #2, The Body Next Door, later this year.
CONNECT WITH GAY
Facebook: Gay Yellen, Author
Amazon Author page: Amazon.com/author/gayyellen