Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guest post from Robin Brande

Please forgive the cross-post, but I wanted to share with you this guest post from Robin Brande, author of Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature.

Writing rituals: It’s all about the dog walk and the oatmeal and the Starbucks. Until I have all of those handled, I can’t write a word. And then even though I might start writing in the morning and not finish until ten at night, I plan plenty of breaks in between to exercise, watch Top Chef, and do other important stuff. I also tend to bake a lot when I’m feeling anxious or stuck in the plot. A loaf of chocolate zucchini bread, and I’m back on track.

What I wish an interviewer would ask me: What one thing did a teacher do for you when you were young that made you believe you could be a writer? My fifth grade teacher Mr. George not only gave me plenty of opportunities to write stories that I then read to the class, he also at the end of the year gave me the book “The Writer’s Market” with listings of every magazine and book publisher that bought stories. His faith in me was really, really essential in making me believe I could grow up to be an actual, real-life writer. I tracked him down about a year ago and told him so! Big, teary phone call–it was so excellent.

What inspired me to write when I was a kid: Movies. I was a total Disney junkie. I’d watch “The Wonderful World of Disney” every Sunday night, and then go to any and all of the Disney live-action movies that came out: Kurt Russell movies like “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes” and “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t,” animal movies like “Incredible Journey” and “The Biscuit Eater,” action and fantasy flicks like “Escape to Witch Mountain”–the list goes on and on. Those movies got me psyched about storytelling. I still re-rent them sometimes to get re-inspired–and they always work!
Many thanks to Robin for her answers. I agree that baking is a great way to give your brain a rest if you’re feeling stuck. And it’s delicious. I have a few other guest blogs on my blog: http://alisamlibby.wordpress.com/category/guest-bloggers/.


  1. I too was a Disney Junkie as a kid, to this day Incredible Journey makes me sob. (the remake with Micheal J Fox doing the voice) When ALL the animals come over the hill... heaving sobs of joy.

    I love that you tracked down your teacher... as I teacher I know exactly how awesome that feels.

    Your post is excellent and I feel all warm and gooey inside.

  2. Your rituals have confirmed my own status as a writer. I feel now like I've officially joined the club though I still am unpublished. You see, I cannot start my writing without a cup of Starbucks and an English muffin with extra melted peanut butter. Although, I prefer to sit at Starbucks. Less distractions=more writing. AND, I'm a baking freak. Just did 3 pies this morning.

  3. Erinn and J., this is why it's so much fun to share this stuff--because we somehow always find our people this way! Yay for Starbucks, yay for Disney (yes to sobbing when the animals come over the hill! Totally!), and yay for baking! (Three pies this morning? Yow!)

    Alisa, thanks for featuring me here and on your blog. You're so very kind!

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  5. What a cool post. I'm all about ritual too, but the rituals seem to change with the books, somehow. When I wrote my sci fi, I had to go to this one coffee shop that had this particular pasta salad. Now that I'm done drafting it, I'm so over that pasta salad.