Thursday, September 20, 2012

90 Minutes

When someone joins the ranks of published or pre-published mystery writers – and decides to become a member of that odd collection of humans who devote large portions of their lives to thinking up unique ways to kill people or who lay awake wondering if a plot that confuses them is not only solvable but possibly interesting to a reader – they discover they have also joined a wonderfully supportive community.

There are times when you need this support more than others. Last fall, I had a 30-minute Connecticut-to-Los Angeles phone conversation with Hannah Dennison, just shooting the breeze about our work, our publishing situations, and where each of us was headed. It was great to step away from my day job and talk to someone in the same proverbial boat, and it meant more to me than she probably knows. I have had similar conversations with writers at Sleuth Fest in Orlando and via email. These are I've-been-there-pal conversations. And I'm not sure writers in other genres are so supportive. (A friend who is a poet claims her "colleagues" would push her down a flight of stairs to land a reading.)

I am always astonished that Rick Blechta keeps so many balls in the air at once. He says he has three jobs--and that's not counting steering the Type M for Murder ship. The fact is, most of us have day jobs. Sanity depends upon balancing one's job with one's passion. I'm in a rut this fall where I'm struggling to carve out even 90 minutes a day to write. And it's killing me. I'm not pleasant to be around when I'm not writing. It's a character flaw, but one I don't necessarily wish to change. Lately, there have been the usual distractions – papers to grade, dorm issues (I am a dorm parent to 14 teenage boys), administrative duties – but lately it seems the writing gods have turned on me. I've been besieged by power outages, late-night can't-wait phone calls, and even the passing of a nine-year-old guinea pig, an event Monday night that called for Dad duties to trump Writer duties.

I'm hoping to find a few hours of tranquility to finish a chapter. Just 90 minutes...      

6 comments:

Aline Templeton said...

I do sympathise. Having spent some years living on the job in a boarding school I know just how hard it can be to carve out writing time and finding the energy to deal with the stressof working on a book.

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