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On a gorgeous Pacific Northwest day, I came out of my writing cave, and met up with Lily Santana and Jessa Slade. 

Lunch with my fab writing friends, Jessa Slade and Lily Santana!

Our meeting place: The mother ship, that beacon of brick and mortar that draws writers and readers into it, sucking hours of life away in continuous bliss – Powell’s Books.  At least, that’s where we were the first three hours.

Over coffee, lunch, and drinking chocolates, we shared our writing process, what makes us excited about writing, and the importance of chocolate.

And so I give you our nuggets of wisdom:

–  Chocolate, we all agreed, stimulates creativity, so for writers, this is a must.  (That one was easy!)  Which was why Jessa and Lily later decided we deserved lots of it for each chapter we completed.  Lily suggested 160 ozs. per book (8 ozs. per chapter x 20 chapters).  Personally, I go through waaay more than that!  (Life’s short.  Books take a long time to produce.  Why have limits?)

Chocolate bliss!

–  Writing is hard.  You know that saying we writers have heard over and over?  About how splitting a vein open is easier than writing?  Personally, I think that’s true.  Yet we pound away at the computer, we agonize over sentence structure, we give up sleep, and we help our process along with a lot of chocolate (see the first nugget above).  And in spite of the relatively low return (unless you happen to like rejection), we do it over and over again.

Jessa said, “If you can be happy doing something else, do that. . ..  Then again, happy is overrated.”

Lily said, “What I like and don’t like about writing is the the same thing: it requires a level of focus I don’t find anywhere else.”

–  Why do we write?  Lily admitted, “I love the feeling of falling in love.”

Jessa was blatantly honest.  (Would you expect anything else?)  “I like hot guys.”

I write because I can’t seem to quit.  It’s an addiction, this driving need to commit words to paper in some form that makes a reader smile.  Besides, in this crazy world, where life sometimes spirals out of control, I’m a sucker for a happily-ever-after.

–  In choosing story structure, Lily builds around a scene that comes to her.  She has to know the hero first (like I do!), what makes him tick, and why.  The heroine comes next because, as she stated with a grin, “I’m always the heroine.”

Chocolate-induced happiness!

For Jessa, she starts with an idea.  “But that’s a bad thing.  Why?  Starting with an idea can lead to preaching, whereas starting with a character or situation has story implicit in it and gives you a stronger start.”

–  Bestseller lists.  What author doesn’t dream of hitting the bestseller lists?  When she does, Lily said, “I’m buying a waterfront home for my family to enjoy.”

After careful thought, Jessa piped in with “a lake front home, a mountain home, a beach home.  All with housekeepers!”

Me?  I’ll take a custom-made pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.  Oh, and what Jessa said.  But I’d like a cook and a gardener, too!  😉

After wandering through Powell’s Books, eating lunch al fresco, and consuming the perfect drinking chocolate at Cacao Drink Chocolate, I felt refreshed, reconnected, and strangely validated as a writer.  Then again, books, food, chocolate, and the company of fabulously supportive writer friends will do it every time!

-Melia

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