“Someone hasn’t updated her blog in a week.”
This is what my friend Mary Anne just said. We’re in her kitchen, “writing,” after a visit to the local mystery bookstore, Centuries and Sleuths, and the monthly Sisters in Crime Chicagoland chapter meeting.
You take a girl to a crime writers’ meeting, you think you get a little slack, but no.
“Writing” is in quotes because I don’t have a project right now. I’ve written, for real, no air quotes, and now the book is done (for now) and I am proceeding with the next step of the process.
I don’t want to talk about that process publicly here, until it is resolved one way or the other. Suffice to say that I did a lot of research, put together all the pieces one is supposed to put together, and emails have been sent to people who may or may not want to read my book. Some of them have. Some of them have not. The process may go on for quite some time. I’m trying to be patient with the process. I was patient with myself until I had the book ready, and now this part requires more patience. Do they tell people in MFA programs that patience is a muscle you need to build? I don’t remember. We talked about perseverance a lot, but it’s not the same thing.
What I need now is a new project. Yes, I’ve mentioned that I have ideas for books that I might like to write, but that doesn’t mean that the ideas I’ve had have legs, or are what I want to spend all of my free time with right now. A writing project, at least a novel-length project, at least for someone like me who works a regular job and doesn’t have time to waste, is kind of a big undertaking. I need to be in love with it. I need to want to take it to lunch every day, and spend weekends and vacations with it. Two years. That’s what it took to finalize The Black Hour. I need another idea that I can carry around for two years.
[Mary Anne’s daughter just said, from the next room, “Mommy, is our guest
still here?” She’s four. I don’t think she wants me to be. Her little brother is a bigger fan of mine—I marched in his marching band for a while today—but he’s taking a nap.]
Until that next story-idea cupid’s arrow hits, I’m going about my business. Like: crime writer meetings.
Today’s Sisters in Crime meeting featured two retired Chicago police officers, both women. They were bad-ass. I don’t write police procedural, but the talk was interesting generally, and Mary Anne got some help with some questions she had for her work. Tomorrow it’s Mystery Writers, and blood spatter.
Just in case you were skimming.
Now, instead of “writing,” with quotes, I’ve written—no quotes—this blog post.