Thursday, February 11, 2016

Write the Damn Book

It's been a busy winter, and it's going to be busy spring. It feels to me (Donis) that I've been going from one event to another since my last book came out last November. If it isn't a workshop I've agreed to teach, it's a review that I promised to do, or a blog entry, or a book club, or a charity event, or an author event. Left Coast Crime, one of the major crime fiction fan and author conferences, is coming up in a couple of weeks (see Barbara's entry below for an excellent overview). I'm attending LCC, naturally. I can't miss it this year for sure since it's right here in Phoenix, a mere 30 miles from my home. Of course 30 miles is quite a commute, so I'm staying at the conference hotel in downtown Phoenix--rooming, in fact, with Type M's own Charlotte Hinger.

On Friday, Feb. 26, at 1:30 p.m., I'll get to be on a panel called Historical Mysteries: Turn of the 20th Century with, Tessa Arlen, Annamaria Alfieri, and Charles Todd. Quite a company! On Saturday, Feb. 27, from 7:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. I'm one of the host authors (along with Charlotte and Vicki Delany and 20 others) at the Discover Mystery Breakfast hosted by Poisoned Pen Press, where guests can enjoy a continental breakfast and hear about the wide variety of crime fiction published by Poisoned Pen Press. Giveaways and authors at every table.

After LCC,  I'll have another couple of book club/library events to do before the Tucson Festival of Books on March 12 and 13, where I've agreed to teach a historical novel writing workshop and appear on a panel.

LCC and TFoB and the rest are wonderfully fun (and we hope, useful) events, but they will take up days where, if my previous experience holds true, I'll get to catch up with friends I haven't seen in awhile and meet some new friends and learn a lot, but I won't get much actual writing done.

And therein lies the rub. Last Friday I had an author event in another town that took the entire day, and then I rushed home and spent the evening and all of the next day finishing a review and writing an article, both due immediately, and corresponding with people whom I had PROMISED to get back to right away, and I ended up not writing a word on my WIP for the whole time. This is not good. It's nice to be popular and in demand, but sometimes I have to pause and wonder if I'm missing the point of all this activity.

A few months ago there was a cartoon going around Facebook that showed a stick figure sitting at a desk, and another stick figure behind him holding a gun to his head and saying, "Just write the damn book!"

I want to write my stories. That's the thing I want to do and the thing I really enjoy doing. My mother taught us that in order to reach our financial goals, we should always pay ourselves first. In other words, put money aside for yourself before you even pay your bills. My mistake lately has been not doing the same thing with my writing. Do the writing first. It doesn't even have to be good, just get some words down on the page before you do anything else. That's my job, to do the writing. All the rest is gravy.

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