Cannot Write Without: Alethea Kontis

The question in the lagoon this month: What’s the one thing you cannot write without?

Today’s answer comes from Waterworld Mermaids’ very own Alethea Kontis.


Princess AletheaThis is one of those months where I’m always thrilled that my name starts with A…because it means I GET TO BLOG FIRST. (April, not so much.)

I’m excited because it’s November…which means MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF WRITING AND WORD WARS.

My first foray into National Novel Writing Month was 2004 — I finished the first draft of a novel. Unfortunately, it clocked in at a measly 36,000 words. That’s right, to date, I have never successfully “won” NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping this year, that will all change.

I often get asked about my writing schedule, or what my writing area looks like. My answer is always: HA! I have yet to establish the Perfect Workplace, or the Perfect Daily Schedule.

However, it did get me thinking: What do I need in order to write? What’s the one thing I literally cannot write without? And, for that matter, how would all my writing friends answer this same question?

Thus I bring you this month’s Theme Question — be sure to check back in every day (or Like us on Facebook) to enjoy a plethora of incredibly inspired answers from writers all over the globe.

But first, here’s my answer. Are you ready?

Hey Alethea, what’s the one thing you cannot write without?

My answer: LOVE.

You know the old cliche about tormented artists and how they find all their inspiration from the horrible events that happen in their lives? Well…not so this optimist. I know this because it was pointed out to me by someone in my inner circle…one of my very first beta readers, copyeditors, and harshest critics: My Mother.

I don’t remember which story — it was either “Blood & Water” or “Sunday” (I think it was the former). But after Mom read it, the first thing she said to me was, “You should always write when you’re in love.”

It’s true…I had a crazy-huge crush on a boy at the time. (Who ended up being a horrible specimen of a person…but I digress.) Being in love made me all lofty and poetic. The words flowed. I wanted to write (instead of just making up stories in my head and calling my friends to tell them about it).

When I am sad, I do not write. It is a horrible thing. The stories end up all trapped in my head, banging at the walls to come out. It creates this incredible powder keg of anxiety that at one point even forced me to seek medical attention (not even kidding). The misery compounds in one horrid downward spiral.

Last year, I broke up with a guy and moved to Florida. I wrote in strange fits and spurts, but it was incredibly difficult. It was less about finding my Muse and more about finding MYSELF.

When I did, I remembered what my mother had said.

I had a nervous breakdown at the age of 23. From that point on, I began surrounding myself with things that made me smile. Rainbows. Fairies. Stickers on my window. Quotes on my wall. Things that I loved.

It’s been kind of wonderful, moving into this house and starting that collection all over again. I have a prism in my kitchen window that scatters rainbows all over the house all winter. What walls aren’t lined with bookshelves are covered in artwork by artists who inspire me. And I have my friends — the Mermaids, my Brute Squad, my peeps on social media — whom I need to remember most, because these are the people I write for.

Princess AletheaThese are the people I love.

So…thanks, you guys. xox


Connect with Alethea on Facebook

Get Alethea’s books signed & personalized from Storenvy

Alethea’s Profile on NaNoWriMo


10 thoughts on “Cannot Write Without: Alethea Kontis

  1. What an awesome response. I was thinking you were going to say something like “speech-to-text” technology…because I picture your ideas tumbling over one another to get out….far too fast and too many for fingers to form. But your response doesn’t address the FLOW of ideas….just the SOURCE. Nicely done.

  2. Alethea,
    I LOVE YOU. Seriously. I really do. This was such a wonderful way to start off this topic. Now, my answer of “coffee” looks lame by comparison. I better step up my game. haha.
    Just know that love surrounds you all the time–even when you forget that. 🙂
    And let’s get that WINNER ribbon on your NaNo profile this year. We are so doing this!

    1. I love you right back!
      I got to a pretty low place after I left DC — leaving the Mermaids was part of that. It just took me so long to recognize this and figure out how to deal with it…and then I was suddenly forcing myself to sit down & write again. I wanted to surround myself with happy things, like post-its with all my friends names on them….and then I realized I had to write this post and make it a monthly theme!
      I know, I’m an instigator. I CANNOT HELP MYSELF. 🙂

  3. *looks at my post* Oh dear… Well, at least mine will be VERY disappointing! I suppose I should turn my novel into a horror story, eh? HAH!


    1. The fact that you answered the question AT ALL is a wonderful thing!
      Trust me, not everyone wants to read my wordy nonsense. (Crazy, I know, but it’s true…)

  4. Lee. As always, you start off with a sparkle loaded bang. I hear you, my friend. Love is definitely needed to write.. or other strong feelings gathered while meandering along this pockmarked road we call life. Miss you!

    1. Masha, Poet Laureate of the Mermaids, if anyone knows how much feelings can affect writing, it’s YOU!
      I miss you right back with extra sparkles! xox

  5. Uh-lee-thee-uh! You and sad just don’t go together, my friend. Although I appreciate you being the open and honest person you are and sharing that even the sparkliest, most joyous of princesses sometimes have their darker times. I love you! I’m so glad that you WRITE.

Comments are closed.