Monday, April 6, 2015

To Write, or Not To write...

Well, that's the question posed by a few writers. I've been down that road a few times. Early on, when I was in my twenties, and later in my forties, I got away from writing, for whatever the reason. Sometimes it was frustration. Back in the day your only hope was to get a publisher or agent to take you on. Now, we have people writing books so damned fast, they put out maybe as many as twenty or thirty in a year. I'm thinking they must have a set formula, or maybe a fancy writing disk, pop in names and boom, they have a book. I don't know. But Amazon is chock full of ebooks, and some are free. (I have a problem with giving away my writing, unless it's a short story, because my time and talent as a writer I consider worth something!)

I've been writing since the beginning of time (for me that was high school in 1971). Those times I told you I quit writing, well, guess what? I went back to it. Tried a different book, like a mystery or something. I would have to say, I was practicing writing. I was learning how to write, all those years. And you still learn even after you've published.

I don't write fast, unless a book hits me, and I can write it straight through. I did that on one book, and that was the fourth of the Sabrina Strong series, Caprice. I wrote that in just over three months. Yeah, that's probably the quickest book I've ever written, but also, that was a first draft. I go over my books to edit several times, I think it took me two years before I had it ready to be published. I don't hand them to an editor--I don't have that sort of money to invest. And until I got on with my new publisher, Creativia, I was having to depend upon people to read it through for me and find mistakes I would have missed. And after that I read it through two more times to make sure I haven't missed anything.

Up until last year, I wrote whenever I had free time. Then, I had some time off in the summer. I had a lot of energy, and wanted to do some major gardening things, and do some long walks to keep my energy up. I realized I wasn't enjoying life itself. I felt that turning 60, I needed to stop and smell the roses. I needed to just enjoy other things. One of my other passions became crocheting. I also enjoy reading a book. I like to hold a book in my hand--I'm finding a lot of people who would rather read a book, not an ebook, so I'm happy to have gone with a new publisher who can deliver a paperback version of my book to anyone in the world. I simply didn't have the savvy, patience, or the $$ to do it.

When it comes down to writing, I write because I CAN'T NOT WRITE. For those who simply write thinking they can make money, well phooey on them. I'm not saying I don't have dreams beyond all reason that I could make money, but after so many decades of not really doing that, I'm at the point where I'm just writing, and if I make a little money (even only $100/year), it's at least something I can take to the bank.

When I get an idea/ideas for a book, I keep notes on it, either in a document on the computer or on paper. I like a paper trail myself. At the moment, I'm trying to work on a mystery. It's a bit different writing. Everyone I've ever heard about how to write one says you come up with the murder, and write backwards. I don't know how to do that, but I understand the concept. You have to know who/how/what and come up with your suspects, but you alone know who murdered the victim, and with what, and then you plant all these clues, throw in a Red Herring, and you've got your story.

Well, I'm writing it the way I always write. I'll know who/what/how/when, when I get to it. Once I get to that point, I'll be able to throw in all those other things. I write assbackwards, anyway.

So, I guess for me, it's impossible to not write, but I'm doing less time in the old chair, and trying to do other things, too. Sort of like semi-retired, but never retired.

How about you? Do you ever need a break? Are life's crazy events keeping you from writing, and you're wondering if you'll ever be able to continue writing? Wonder if you should just take a long break from it, but worry if you do, you'll never be able to pick up the pen again?

Here is Shelly Arkon's take on this subject at her vlog. I love her vlogs, and Hair Ball, her dog is so sweet.

Hope you have a good week!

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