by Janis Patterson
I love writing. I love the excitement of creating my own world, my own people, and my own story. Writing is perhaps the most wonderful fun anyone can have.
Unfortunately there is a lot more to being a writer than writing, and therein lies danger, for me at least.
I admit I’m somewhat slapdash. I will write three, maybe even four novels before I even think about publishing them. That’s one of the many, many reasons I am now self-publishing almost exclusively. I don’t like bending my schedules to the dicta of others. Never have, which accounts for my erratic and somewhat colorful employment history. However – if one is going to sell books, one must have them out there, which means doing a certain amount of non-writing work.
And that’s my problem. Currently I have two novels to put out this month (a gothic romance, THE HOUSE IN THE PINES) and a traditional mystery (MURDER IN DEATH’S WAITING ROOM), another traditional mystery which is fully edited and needs only to be laid out the way I want so it can go to the formatter (MURDER AND MISS WRIGHT), and another gothic romance needing a little rewriting and polishing before entering the publishing pipeline (THE MASTER OF MORECAMBE HALL).
I am also a couple of weeks late starting the new novel, a Western romance that is as yet untitled. And I do want to start writing so very badly – but I’ve made a rule that I don’t start a new book while in the midst of editing, etc. I’ll have four books going at once in the writing stage, but the publishing takes too much concentration and I do them one at a time. Oh, and totally aside from writing/publishing I have a family and a life that also take time.
So that’s where it begins. I hate having to do things I don’t feel like doing (yes, I am spoiled – always have been) and it’s amazing how many non-writing things simply HAVE to be done. The car needs servicing. There’s a Matterhorn of laundry accumulating. The dog has a vet appointment. I have a doctor’s appointment. The Husband wants my special pot roast for supper. There’s the yard, and the dusting constantly lies in wait, though it’s not true I could bring in a fair crop on top of the bookcases in the parlor…
See what I mean? Entropy. Once I start side-stepping, it gets easier to side-step, more and more doesn’t get done and it gets harder and harder to catch up.
So I have discovered a solution. Cheat. Last night while The Husband watched TV I sat at my desk and stared back at the basilisk glare of my computer, accomplishing nothing. I didn’t want to accomplish anything except go sit by The Husband and split a bag of popcorn while watching some mindless cop show. Instead I could not restrain myself and started on my Western romance. The words just spilled from my fingers in a joyous flood and my spirits began to lift. All of a sudden sitting at the computer seemed fun once more. I was working again.
And my decision was made. I am going to spend part of each day writing, no matter what other publisher-related chores need to be done. The hard part will be stopping, but I’m sure I can do that and go on to the other stuff. At least, I think I can. Discipline has never been easy for me. But we’ll see. I’ll let you know how it turns out.