Monday, May 29, 2017

The awful things about a writing career

(Blogger sent my MMM post to Oak Tree Press. Why, I simply can't understand. This is a second try.  I wonder where it will go, and why!)

The need for massive internet promotion when you don't have a kid handy to figure out the ins and outs of the technology you need to at least understand if not master.  Check

The isolation for days and days while you type words on a screen, ponder their appropriateness and even their connection to proper English.  Check.

The hours awake during the night while story ideas jiggle through your head and you then write notes on a lighted pad by your bed.  Check

Times when you get up at 2:00 a.m. to actually write a scene into your computer.  Check

The worry that some this or that in your story is (pick a word) boring, silly, dumb, inappropriate, spoiling, and so on.  Check

The worry about publishing details, whatever they may be.  Check

The isolation from former friends who haven't a clue how a writer's life works, ask unsettling questions when they see you and then, quite often, don't buy or read your books when they're published.  Check.

Nope, none of that, though of course one or more of them are problems many authors are burdened with. Yes, I am familiar with all of them. But they aren't the awfullest. (I am aware I used an invented word.)

And, the awfullest is--ta da--NO TIME TO READ OTHER AUTHOR'S BOOKS!

Mom read to me as a baby. I was sent to a pre-school and began reading books before I was five. Big print words about a flying pig and a lost doll. I still have those books and am forever grateful to their authors.

There was only one public library in our town and it took a long bus ride to get there, but Mom and I visited about once a week and I went home with a stack of books supposedly age-appropriate for a single-digit age girl hooked on reading. A librarian there eventually introduced me to Nancy Drew. The die was cast.  I didn't know it but, nearly fifty years later, I would become a writer of mysteries.

Appropriate age books? My Saturday task when I was in grade school was to dust the What-not in our living room. Many homes had such pieces of furniture in those days. A What-not was where you displayed special treasures on open shelves.  My mom's What-not had a heavy book on the bottom shelf to anchor it, "Gone With the Wind."  Not material considered age-appropriate for a child in third grade. It took over a year but, reading bits secretly each Saturday, I read that book. I still remember the plot very well, and much of the dialogue. ("I don't know nothin' about birthin" babies Miz Scarlett.") Truth be told, I learned a lot from that book and some of it was of value.

I went on to read all the available Nancy Drew Books, The Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, and many more age-appropriate novels. I progressed to Agatha Christie, the "Dead British Ladies" (not all were dead at that time) and more. At my own birthday party I hid in my room for a time, reading, while my mother served cake and ice cream and entertained my friends with silly games. (Of course I read, the book's plot had reached a thrilling point.)

But now?  I was heading into our living room yesterday to spend a bit of time reading the most recent mystery novel by an author I know well when this computer called me. I had over sixty incoming message to deal with and I knew it. I turned around and headed into my office.

Sigh. So, dear writing friends, if I don't buy and read all your books and comment on line about how much I loved each one, you know why. As an author myself, I have little time to read anything but my own words.

Including these.  



Linda Thorne said...

Boy, do I get your message. I promise too many people I'll read their books and give them a review I need to slow down or stop. I can't get to my own writing if I keep it up. I'm not saying I'm going to stop right now (some of these folks may read mine and review it). I guess I'm saying it's something to consider.

Morgan Mandel said...

Dad took us to the library where my brothers and I would take piles of books out on vacation loans. I read all the kids books you mentioned, then graduated to Dick Francis when I was in high school, and went on to Gothic novels for a while. Now, I'm into cozy mysteries and sweet romances.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I too have that problem, though I try to get some reading in every day.
Promotion takes up way too much time--and what i need to be doing is working on my almost finished Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

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