Thursday, June 23, 2022

A Love Affair With Writing

 A lot has been happening in my daily life, as usual, and it's been hard to find adequate time to write. Especially considering the fact that I'm trying to write two novels at once. 

When my first mystery novel, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was published by Poisoned Pen Press in 2005, I was hardly a neophyte author. I had been writing professionally for untold years, and though I had never had any fiction published before, I expected that being a novelist was not going to hold any surprises for me.

My twelfth novel, Valentino Will Die, came out last year, and after twelve books I’m here to tell you that I was wrong. Oh, I held no illusions about the romance of the authorly life. I knew it was going to be hard, and it is. I knew there would be days when you sit and stare at the screen, unable to type a single word that isn’t crap and you know that you’ll never be able to write again.

I knew that it was going to be wonderful, that there would be days that deathless prose flows so effortlessly that it makes you believe in God and divine inspiration. 

I knew you had to have a hide like a rhinoceros and never take your reviews to heart, good or bad. I was perfectly aware that you have to know your craft. You have to practice, practice, practice, like a concert violinist, because it doesn’t matter if you have the skill of your art like Leonardo DaVinci and the genius in your field of Albert Einstein, if you don’t actually sit yourself down and put words to paper with ruthless determination, you ain’t a writer.

I was well aware that, unless the planets aligned and the gods conspired, I was not going to be able to support myself on royalty payments. Thus far, the planets have not aligned nor have the gods conspired.

I knew that you must never give up, even when you wonder why on earth you’re putting yourself through this for so little reward. I even knew how brave you have to be, to persevere, to trust the process, to write what you know you should write without wondering if it’s going to sell. (And believe me, that takes more courage than I sometimes have.)

I even knew that it was going to take over my life.

What I didn’t fully realize is how much writing is like being in love. You do things for it that you never thought you’d do. You long for it when something keeps you from it, and yet you resent how it takes over your life. You break your heart for it. You can’t give it up.

But when it loves you back, there’s nothing like it.

1 comment:

Arthur Kerns said...

How true, how true