Writing Process with Naley Gonzalez!
Welcome to another Writing Process interview. This week, I have Naley Gonzalez, paranormal suspense novelist and coffee drinker!
Who Are You?
I'm Naley Gonzalez and I'm currently in the process of self-publishing my first novel. I live in Connecticut with my husband, our son, with another little one on the way, and our two cats. I fell in love with writing and story-telling at a young age, but it took me a long time to realize it was my passion. Once I made the connection of how creating and sharing stories is vital to who I am, I knew there was no turning back.
What are three things that you absolutely need in order to write?
Coffee! That's first on my list. I don't start any work until I've had it. After that, it would be my fountain pen and a notebook. If those count as one, then the third would be solitude. I close myself off from the world and write until I can’t think anymore.
Most writers have many ideas swimming around their heads competing for attention. How do you decide which idea is worth working on?
When I find myself thinking about an idea a lot, almost obsessively, that's when I know it's worth working on. I take it as a personal sign that the more I think about it, the more I want to work on it and make into something great. I recently adopted a writer's journal, so I can write down any ideas that come up when I'm in the middle of a project. This way I don't lose them and can go back to them at a later time, but the ones that stand out are the ones that always reoccur in my head.
When you decide on a writing project, how much do you plan upfront?
My dedication for planning varies. I'm a former pantser, so I still have the urge to jump right into a project the moment I decide I'm going to do it, but I learned, over the years, I'm a better plotter. For the novel I’m preparing for publication, I worked on everything from the outline and character backgrounds to the settings and any extra research or information I thought would be vital. For the novel I recently finished for NaNoWriMo, I only did the outline of events. Both methods worked great so, for me, it's either the bare minimum or the absolute max when it comes to planning.
All writers experience writer’s block from time to time. What you do to get unstuck?
Actually, I don't believe in “writer's block.” Or maybe I do? I know it's blasphemy, but I view it more as fear or self-doubt than a lack of inspiration or the muses being gone. It's the desire of the story being perfect the first time we write it. I realized this, for myself, when I was writing and the thought “what should happen next” came up. I was fixated on every idea not being good enough, which equated to my story not being good and, eventually, me not being a good writer. Once I broke that cycle of negative thought, I was able to get through my novel a lot faster and easier. I’m sure if all writers take a step back and analyze the why of their “writer’s block”, they’ll be able to kick its ass every time.
Tell me something about your writing process that is quirky and unique to you.
I have a mantra while I write. It helps to avoid fixating on being perfect the first time. Any time doubt wants to rear its ugly head about a scene not making sense or needing to do research, I'll vocally say “I'll fix it later.” It reminds me this is the first draft and it's allowed to be messy and full of errors. Usually, when I do the first read-through later, the scene works great and I know it was “Perfection Paranoia” getting the best of me.
When are you most productive? When are you least productive?
I am most productive in isolation! Which is ironic because I'm an extrovert. I usually get up early before my family wakes, so I can get some kind of work done. This way I immerse myself into the story. On occasion, I stay up late, but by that point I'm exhausted so some less than quality work gets done at night time. I’d have to say I am least productive when my husband and son are awake. Most people have the internet as a distraction, I have my family.
It’s my birthday and you want to give me a book. Which book do you get me and why?
This is tough, but it would be The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I read it my senior year of high school and was impressed by Coelho’s message throughout the book. I believe it’s applicable to any and all aspirations. His writing and story-telling puts you in the right mindset to achieve your dreams and goals alongside Santiago, the protagonist, while still appreciating what you already have and earn in life. It’s not about getting the answers to the meaning of life or how to be successful, but about how we have the power to create the meaningful lives we want for ourselves. I think many individuals could, and should, benefit from the lessons in The Alchemist.
Bonus Question from Megan Barnhard: What kind of writing / story / book have you always wanted to try your hand at but haven’t—maybe because it’s outside of your normal genre, or maybe because you feel a bit intimidated by it?
It would have to be sci-fi/fantasy. I only recently learned how much I enjoy the genre and I have an idea that I painfully want to explore and write, but I’ve never written sci-if/fantasy and I’m definitely nervous about jumping in head first. Right now, I plan to get a good understanding and read as much sci-if/fantasy as I can before giving it a go.
Now, the fun part: What is one question that you want me to ask the next interviewee, not knowing who it is?
If writing wasn’t “the one”, what other career would you see yourself in?
What are you working on and where can readers find you?
While the title is still subject to change, my New Adult Paranormal Suspense novel is in the middle of revisions. It will be available to readers mid- fall of 2019.
You can connect with me via NaleyGonzalez.comor