It’s a mystery

By January 25, 2010Black Hour, Life, The Day I Died, Ursa, Writing

Um, hi. How many weeks am I going to slink back in and apologize for not being a better blog-writer? Prepare yourselves: it might be a lot.

In this case, it’s not just work keeping me from here. It’s work, don’t get me wrong. I do go there every a.m. and leave there, limp and zombie-fied, every p.m. And last week I had one major Work Deal to get ready for, help manage, and come down from. It went very well, thanks for asking. But Deals are a lot of work.

I also got a lot of arranging done last week: I arranged for a doctor’s appointment, for a dentist’s appointment, for returns leftover from Christmas to be taken back to their motherships, for prescriptions to be called in, and for gas to be put into my tank. OK, I just did that last one. No arrangements made.

The other thing taking up my time right now? Writing. Oh, YEAH.

I went through a bit of a funk a few weeks back. I had finished a good third draft of the novel and sent it off to a couple of friends to read and give feedback. But I’m still waiting on the feedback part. I’ve gotten a couple of brief in-progress-thumbs-up from my friend Chris, but he’s still reading. The only person who’s finished reading it—other than me—is my friend Laurie, who gave me lots of reassuring exclamation points after she was done. She read it like a CHAMP, in and out in about two days. That’s the way I like to read, too.

But the funk? It came from not wanting to work on the book while it was out and being read. I’m not saying it’s done now that people are reading it. It so isn’t done. But I want to hear what a few people say before I start revisions. I need to stop picking at the draft so that when I do get feedback, I’ll be able to go to the draft with pretty fresh eyes.

Leaving the draft alone, though, was lonely. I wanted to work on it. I missed it. I didn’t want to work on anything else.

I guess that’s a good thing, since there will be plenty of time for the novel and me to spend together some day soon.

In the mean time, I was driving myself crazy.

Sometime last week I was blow-drying my hair, a process that takes wuuuu-hhhhhaay too long for my tastes—and I had an idea. A drop the hairdryer-in-the-sink good idea for the next novel. I thought I already had my next idea, but I didn’t. THIS was the one.

I stopped thinking about the idea and put black on white (words on paper, for those of you who aren’t writers) this week. So! Fun!

It’s simultaneously incredibly freeing to be starting something new and crazy-inducing to be this early into a long project. I’m about 3000 words in. You’ve read books, right? They are much MUCH longer than that. But for now I’m trying not to think how far from “book” I am and just have fun working on it.

Today I went out to see my friend Mary Anne. Ursa went with me to play with Ellie, Mary Anne’s little loaf of a beagle dog. MA’s partner watched the dogs and their two children (and probably his sanity seeping away) while we went to the Centuries and Sleuths bookstore in Forest Park. A very cool place in which I could do all sorts of damage to my credit rating. I found some yummy things, a new series to try, and spent some time thinking about the kind of mysteries I like. (Another time, when I’m not ready to fall over asleep, I’ll parse out the kind of mysteries there are.)

While we were there, two writers stopped by separately to talk to the owner and I eavesdropped on their kind of awkward conversation attempts. Mary Anne and I talked to one of them a bit while we checked out, but I got a little shy. Not because she was super duper famous or anything (she assured us that she didn’t sell that many books. I checked, and they are not self-published). I guess I have a way to go before I feel entitled to sit at the author table. I’m a writer, but not yet an “author.” Especially when it comes to mysteries. I love them, but I’m not as well-read as I should be. Lots of the biggie contemporary mystery writers I’ve never read. And maybe I’m not really writing mysteries; I don’t know.

The writer invited us to come to a Sisters In Crime meeting happening soon at that same bookstore. I might go. Got to sit at the table sometime, don’t I?

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Chitownmez says:

    These are all good things to hear. Been thinking about ya. *hugs*

  • Greg Carsten says:

    I'm going to be that Voice of Hard Encouragement. Quit being such a whining pansy and WRITE. If you're going to keep a blog, then blog, damnit. Every time you feel the need to apologize, don't — just blog something so awesome, profound, amusing, or heartwrenching that the reader completely dismisses that it's been XX days since your last posting and is just overjoyed to read something new. When a student stands up in class to read their paper but apologizes before he/she even starts, I make them shut the hell up and just read it. If you're tired, get up earlier. If you're unmotivated, write something sad. If you're lazy, then I offer you a challenge — blog once every week, consistently. Make something like Sunday evenings your night to blog and then just frigging do it (always) at that time. No more excuses. No more apologies.There, I said it. Now call me an asshole and keep writing.

  • Lori says:

    Well, you're an asshole, clearly.The thing is, I'm writing elsewhere—pages and pages of stuff I can sell someday. The blog is what it is. I'll write when I have something to say, OK? It might be once a week, or it might be less. If I keep doing the writing that matters (elsewhere), I might have more good news to share here, and we all win.I wish more profound things happened to me.

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