Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for October: 10/5 Carolina Crimes: Rock, Roll and Ruin 10/12 Alicia Beckman, Blind Faith 10/19 J. Woollcott, A Nice Place To Die 10/26 Carol J. Perry, High Spirits

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What Makes You Turn Cartwheels?

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I seem to be WWK's holiday blogger. I first posted on Mother's Day, and today is the day before Memorial Day.

Despite Mother's Day, I enjoyed a good response to my first post. Not only did my fellow WWK bloggers welcome me, but so did some readers. I also received a number of comments by private email.

I posted about how I'd felt like turning cartwheels when seeing my first piece of fiction published. I've been publishing in nonfiction for many years, but my short story in the SinC Guppy chapter's second anthology marked my first foray into fiction. Almost everyone who commented agreed that they'd felt the same way at seeing their first novel or short story published.

Surprisingly, a few people admitted to me privately that they never feel anything special when seeing their work published. All were fiction writers. I found that sad. Why put all the time and effort into something such as crafting a novel when it brings you no pleasure whatsoever?

While the joy I'd felt when handed the anthology containing my story was greater than the combination of what I'd felt the first time I held or saw everything else I'd ever published, everything made me at the very least smile. In fact, when I look at my old stuff now, I still smile. And I can look at it because I've saved it all. I'm proud of my scribblings.

If you're a writer who doesn't derive any pleasure from your writing, perhaps you're working in the wrong genre. Perhaps instead of mystery, you should try your hand at romance or fantasy. Instead of novels, you should try short stories. Instead of fiction, nonfiction.

Do you have a hobby you enjoy? Perhaps using that as your backdrop would increase your pleasure. For example, if you're a mystery writer who collects stamps, make your sleuth a philatelist or set your book at a philatelists' convention. WWK blogger Warrren Bull, interviewed by E. B. Davis on Wednesday, is fascinated with the Civil War era and used that as a backdrop in his adult mystery novel, Abraham Lincoln for the Defense. Mystery novelist Sasscer Hill, WWK's Salad Bowl Saturday blogger last weekend, is passionate about horses and sets her books in the world of horse racing.

What do you write about? Do you enjoy it? If not, is there something in your life you could write about instead that would make you turn cartwheels?


Jim Jackson said...

Thinking about this topic has allowed me to come to the realization that the main writing joys for me are

(1) the creation process (which includes rewriting and editing) and

(2) positive feedback from readers.

The actual publication is a step between these two thrills and for me isn’t a major high point.

And all that means is that each of us needs to make sure to find those things that bring us pleasure and celebrate those. (And after that commercial announcement, I'm heading back to the first draft I'm writing so I can feed myself some additional joy today!)

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

I'm thrilled by the acceptance of a story. It makes me feel valid as a writer and that I've hit the mark--written a piece that comes together and solves the mystery. At one anthology's book launch, a reader came up to me and said that she felt that my story resounded to the most readers--and wide spread appeal is very satisfying to most writers. It was one of the best compliments I could receive!

My passion is the beach, and I have written a novel set there, but I've also lived in the Washington D. C. area most of my life. It's the setting of my current WIP and has few boundaries for mysteries due to the Federal government.

The writing business is much too hard if you aren't receiving intrinsic rewards by writing.

Warren Bull said...

LIke Jim and EB, publication is not the highest point in my writing process. For one thing it usually happens long after I've finished that particular work. By then my head is deep into a different project. I certainly enjoy feedback from readers. The point of acceptance is another high. Writing itself feels good when the words finally come together and approximate what I meant to write. And I like royalty checks. :)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren has a great point. With novels, publication happens a long time after you've finished your book. If you're trying for a career, you're probably deep into the next book or even the book after that. It's exciting, but you need to love the writing process, or it won't be worth it to you.

Elaine Will Sparber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shari Randall said...

Cartwheels, backflip with a twist-
That's pretty much how I felt when I heard my story had been chosen in the Sisters in Crime anthology contest. Holding the actual published book was more of a warm-glow-birds-chirping thing.
Writing short stories and attempting a novel are new for me, and so are all the joys that go with it. When a complete stranger (bless you, Pamela L of Spring Hill, Florida) wrote a review on Amazon for my story, that was an unexpected thrill.
But I am in Jim and Linda's camp - when I get a scene to work, that's satisfying. Maybe a cartwheel plus a stuck landing....

Gloria Alden said...

I get excited and overjoyed when I hear a story is accepted, but I'm echoing Jim, Elaine, Warren and Linda when they say it's the writing and the positive feedback from readers later that gives the most pleasure. That doesn't mean I didn't feel quite excited about seeing my story actually in print in the first guppy anthology, FISH TALES and pleased with FISH NETS, too.