Tuesday, July 26, 2022

I'm Home After a Great PSWA Writing Conference

 No, I didn't take any pictures. Many did, however, and I'll probably "borrow" some as they get posted.

One thing I learned that kind of goes along wiht Janis Patterson's last post, is one of the publishers who spoke said that for her house they would like 3 or more books from an author a year. And her specifics for the books were 80,000 words or more. This was for the Christian Imprint for Wolfpack publishing.

Never, ever could I put out three of more books a year--not even when I was much younger.

When would the author who churns out one book after another have time to live?

I need to write one more Tempe Crabtree mystery, and I've been gathering ideas, but I have so much other stuff to do that I haven't had time for much more than that. Even though I don'thave to cook dinner anymore there are still two other meals to prepare. My husband needs my help these days. And I have other jobs that make more money than writing and need to be done as they come in.

And wwhat about just living? Chores need to be done, bills have to be paid, all the little things of life that pile up if you don't tackle them right away.

Everyone needs to take the time to be with loved ones and friends, to enjoy good conversations and read other authors books. Reading is probably what got you hooked on writing in the first place. 

Taking 6 days off to attend the PSWA Conference was wonderful. I got to see many old friends and catch up with them, and I made several new friends. The food was great everyplace we ate, and most especially the conference's spectacular lunches. The speakers were great as were the panels, and I learned a lot.

I'm still not totally unpacked--have books to put away--I'll get around to them eventually.

I will get back to writing, but have a long list to complete before I can.

Happy Writing and Reading,


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Inviolate Writing Schedules and Other Fictions

by Janis Patterson

There are those who say that the success to writing lies only in following a strict schedule. So many words per day, every day, or writing X number of hours without deviation, or... whatever. On the other hand, there are an equal number of equally fervid writers who are convinced that no good writing ever comes from being forced. One should wait for the magic touch of the muse, as anything which is worked at, which happens without fiery and flowing inspiration is unnatural and bad writing.  

Give me a break. Or two.

That said, I will admit that my writing is easier when I am in the throes of inspiration, and that I do try to write a certain number of words every day. Keywords here are 'easier' and 'try.'

Like all of life writing is uncertain. You can vow that you will write a minimum of 5,000 words a day, every single day without fail. If you can, good on you. The rest of us have lives. We have families, cars, homes, jobs... all of which seem to go maniacally wonky just at the worst times. There are things in life that should come before writing - family comes to mind first.

So - you've set a schedule and stuck to it pretty well, then something overwhelming happens and until it is resolved the writing goes out the window. Then what? Your rhythm is off. You haven't kept your word, and if you're so unreliable why go on? Obviously you aren't a real writer unless you .... whatever.

Yes, there are people who actually believe that. I look at writing schedules sort of like I do at a diet. They can be wonderful things from which you can benefit greatly. Depending on your attitude, they can also make your life miserable. If you break a diet, you don't just give up and wallow in a slough of chocolate (however delightful that might seem), you admit what happened, then pick up and go on. Or at least you should. At least, I do. Most of the time. 

Being a writer is a life and career choice - it shouldn't be a sentence. Yes, we have deadlines, and yes, if we've given our word that so-and-so will be done by such-and-such a time, we should honor it, no matter what it takes. That's a sprint, though, not a way of life. 

So am I advocating heedlessness, hedonism, laziness? No. If you are a writer, you must write. But... if you are a human, you must also live. As the Facebook meme says, Eat the chocolate, drink the wine, smell the roses. 

It's all about balance. I am a firm advocate that family comes first. Yes, you owe dedication to your craft, but you also owe dedication to your Self. And your family. And your life, however you choose to live it. But you must also be disciplined and productive in the way that is right for you.

Besides, there is a extra - if rather naughty - benefit to having a writing schedule. When something comes up that you should do, but don't really want to, but can't say no gracefully, you can always say, "I'd love to, but I haven't made my word count for today." Works every time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

I'm Busy Packing Today

I'll be headed to Las Vegas and the PSWA Conference early tomorrow morning. 

This will be my only writer's conference this year, but fortunately it's my favorite. It will be like seeing family--and there are new people coming too, so I plan to make some new friends.

The first day I'll be helping with the pre-conference workshop and giving some tips on dialogue. I also critiqued three partial manuscripts and will meet with the authors to give them some ideas about what they can do to make what they've written even better.

That evening there is a get-acquainted gathering with food and drinks available. Always fun.

The conference begins Friday morning. There are some great speakers and lots of panels. I'm on three panels--more when I get home.

There is another plus to this conference, my sister lives in Vegas, so I'll get to see her too.

While I'm gone, our son will care for my husband here at home. 

I am truly hoping to get my imagination fed so I can come up with ideas for a new Tempe Crabtree mystery.

I'll give a report when I return.