24 January 2012

Garret Tour Tuesday: Sarah Eutsler

Sarah Eutsler has come a long way since we worked together at Mill Stream, the student-run paper at Noblesville High School. She is currently a small business owner (On A Good Note Designs) and is working on screenplay and nonfiction writing.

Sarah is a solo writer. She says that writing around other people has not worked out well for her, in terms of productivity.
"One of my friends and I tried to write together for NaNoWriMo one year, but we ended up just talking a lot more than writing. Obviously it wasn’t a big deal, but if I want to get serious writing done then having another person can be a distraction."
She does like background noise, however. 
"I’m not a huge fan of silence, though there have been instances when I’ve been in such a crazy focused mood I’ll go a couple of hours and realize I have no music or noise going. Those don’t happen very often, though. I’m usually playing music or have the TV on in the background."

Today's tour guide, Sarah Eutsler.

Sarah has a couple different writing spaces.

In the afternoons, she likes to blog from the home office, which has very dark blue walls.
"During the afternoon the lighting comes in just right and it feels very calm, almost beachy. That’s when I pretend I’m really in Diane Keaton’s Hamptons home in Something’s Gotta Give, because what writer wouldn’t want THAT house to write in?"
At our first stop, Sarah metaphorically waves an arm and announces,
"The super dark home office."
But after the sun sets, Sarah reports that the lighting in the home office becomes yellowy and awful. So at that point (or during any long-term project) she prefers to move to her bedroom in order to cozy up under her covers and work by the light of the bedside lamp.
"Maybe it’s the four years of working by dim, lamp-like lighting in a library or my sorority room during college, but I kind of hate working with the overhead light shining down on me. Or it could just be the fact that I really love my clearance lamp I picked up at Target about a year and a half ago."
At our second stop, Sarah says, "My bedroom, complete with super cool Target lamp and
my sometimes writing companion, Snickers, who is very confused about my picture taking."
Like many writers, Sarah seems to prefer physically writing things down -- at least for ideas and such. This is completely unsurprising a preference to hear from a woman who designs notecards and admits to having kept practically every letter or card she ever received. At any rate, she keeps two notebooks handy.
"One is small and green and my idea book. I started out writing down the ideas for things I wanted to talk about on my blogs, but it just morphed into a place to put all of my writing ideas. My other notebook was given to me by a friend who gave it to me when she returned from studying about in Barcelona. I use it more as a journal and to write down inspiring quotes."
These are the two bedside notebooks, if you really couldn't figure
this one out. I'm sure you could, though. You're smart.
Right now, in addition to her business, Sarah is working on two screenwriting projects that she intially worked on while studying at DePauw University. Sarah has found that her creative process is well-suited for screenwriting.
"Screenwriting really clicked with me because most of the time when I create characters I'm constantly thinking about their dialogue exchanges in my mind. Right now I’m working on turning those two pieces into more polished products. This involves turning the shorter screenplay, a romantic comedy, into a full-length screenplay."
Still, Sarah says she's a journalist at heart and has several ideas she is interested in pursuing for a nonfiction book. Sarah met Rebecca Skloot (author of nonfiction bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) at a book signing.
"I told her that I had interest in writing a non-fiction book and she laughed and told me that The Immortal Life was just supposed to be an article. Then she wished me luck on my own projects. That moment, though small, was encouraging and I’d love to accomplish that goal. Just finding the time to get it ALL done is difficult!"
Best of luck with your nonfiction novel ideas and with your screenplays, Sarah! I look forward to seeing the Sarah Eutsler Romantic Comedy.

You can visit Sarah to say hello at her blog The Hoosier Confessionist or see her design work at On A Good Note Designs (Ed -- I'm famous on the bottom of her page!) or check out some of her writing I have found on the interwebs:
Now you!
The amount of things Sarah is juggling shocks me! I knew about her business, but I didn't realize how committed she still was to pursuing writing. She's become more active on her blog because she has an instant audience there -- but all of you writer-bloggers out there know how difficult it can be to balance the online blogging community and the need to dedicate time and resources to long-term projects. How do you balance maintaining a support network with investing time necessary to achieve your long-term goals?