If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of June!

June 6 Maggie Toussaint, Confound It

June 13 Nicole J. Burton, Swimming Up the Sun

June 20 Julie Mulhern, Shadow Dancing

June 27 Abby L. Vandiver, Debut author, Secrets, Lies, & Crawfish Pies

Our June Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 6/2--Joanne Guidoccio, 6/9 Julie Mulhern, 6/16--Margaret S. Hamilton, 6/23--Kait Carson, and 6/30--Edith Maxwell.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Visualizing Success as a Writer

by Linda Rodriguez

One of the best books on actually living a writer’s life is Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See. I often give it as a gift to serious aspiring writers I know. Carolyn is herself an award-winning novelist, and her advice is pretty solid. (I have come to feel as if she is my friend from reading her novels and this book again and again, but though I’m on first-name basis with her here, I never actually met Carolyn See while she was alive.)

First, she tells us to write 1,000 words a day every day. Blam! Just like that! Right at the beginning! But she says they don’t have to be finished words—they don’t even have to be good words. We just have to put down 1,000 words every day. And of course, it works—because no one will be able to keep slapping random words on the page. We start to make sense, and then we start to make story. So, her rule number one is write 1,000 words each and every day.

Carolyn’s next rule will prompt groans from everyone. She talks about the need to build a writing community and to get involved in the writing community that already exists. So she wants us all to write a charming note each day to a different writer or editor or agent or reading series administrator, expressing our genuine appreciation for something they’ve done or written. I suspect this will be the biggest stumbling block among her rules for living the writing life, even though I’ve come to see the sense of it. (I must admit I don’t follow this rule very often, though, being no better than any of the rest of us.)

The rules continue throughout this informal and witty book, and they are all good rules. When I abide by them, I am in better shape than when I don’t. This I know. However, it’s another part of the book that I want to talk about here.

Carolyn makes a great case for visualizing the career and life we want to live as writers. She talks about well-known writers who have entourages, chauffeurs, phalanxes of attractive bodyguards, or dramatic capes and trench coats. She makes a persuasive case that each of these successful writers had at some time in the past decided, consciously or unconsciously, that when they were successful they would have—entourages/ chauffeurs/ bodyguards/ trench coats.

Carolyn encourages us to consciously visualize the successful writer’s life we want to have in the future in detail, including what we’ll wear, if that’s important to us, what friends we’ll have, where we’ll live, and more. That kind of visualization is important, I think. If we don’t put some thought into what we want, how will we know when we’ve achieved it? She encourages us to go into detail because some of the details are easier to achieve than others. It’s very tough to make the New York Times bestseller list, but it’s not so hard to save up for a splashy cape or dramatic trench coat.

So my question to all of you today, as well as to myself, is what would your life look like if you achieved the kind of writer’s success that you long to have?

I’m not into splashy capes or trench coats or matched pairs of bodyguards, but I think a chauffeur might be a nice achievement, especially on regular professional visits to New York City (which are very much a part of my visualization). Actually, I think I’ve already achieved this.

On my last trip to NYC to meet with my editor and attend a poetry award ceremony, I found a livery car service that took us all over the city at all hours and for less than a cab would have cost. After the post-award-ceremony bash, native New Yorkers in our party were futilely trying to gain the attention of cabs outside the restaurant while one phone call brought our driver to pick us up in front and take us across town to our B&B.

What would you visualize for your life as a successful writer? Inquiring minds want to know!


Kait said...

I've not encountered this book before, it sounds wonderful. The note writing rule sounds charming, but anyone I wrote a note might at the hieroglyphics! Love the idea, though. Visualization techniques can be amazingly effective. When used properly it is almost as if they create a roadmap in the mind. And as for the power of suggestion...I'm off to Amazon to arrange for a closer connection with the See book. It sounds exactly like what I'm looking for right now.

Margaret Turkevich said...

maybe my very own printer? I'm a Bird by Bird writer.

E. B. Davis said...

I tried to read Carolyn's book because everyone raved about it. I thought it was the most unrealistic book that I've read on the subject of being a writer. Writing the thousand words a day--yes--but sending love notes to agents/editors/publishers? I'd feel like a teenager writing to Mick Jagger (assuming this was the 60s/70s!). Visualizing the writing life--designer clothing, photo ops, fame, and fortune--please. My ultimate fantasy would be having so much demand for my books no PR would be necessary. I'll take the fortune, but I doubt fame is all it's cracked up to be. Without privacy how can a writer observe? Fame would turn this writer into a hermit.

Shari Randall said...

I love that See is upfront about the 1,000 words a day. Every time I get antsy sitting in my chair, wearing my old terry cloth robe and fuzzy slippers, pounding out words with a deadline looming, I think "This is the writer's life!" Not my Dynasty-era fantasy of cocktail parties, a Joan Collins wardrobe, and a handsome assistant named Charlton....
In a real life visualization I'd like a Charlton who would do all the social media and marketing that seems to be expected of authors. A livery driver, that would be nice too ;)

Grace Topping said...

Oh, wonderful blog, Linda. I'm sitting here visualizing myself sitting in my living room watching an episode of Hallmark TV movies and mysteries that features my mystery!! I can see my characters on the screen--they look terrific and even better than I imagined them.

I recently ordered and read your book, "Plotting the Character-driven Novel." It's the mystery you help me create that will be on TV. Watch for it.

Now if only this visualization thing will work.

Warren Bull said...

It is an excellent book. I want a computer guru on call for the many times I mess up and, of course, a financial professional to help me deal with the taxes that my success engenders.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kait, it's a marvelous little book written by a woman who made a successful living as a writer while living far from NYC and the center of literary coteries. Practical and funny. I think you'll love it.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Margaret, see, that's the great virtue of this kind of visualization. It wouldn't be difficult to get your own dedicated printer, and then imagine how much smoother your writing life would be.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Well, Elaine, you're the first person I've run into who disliked the book, but no book can appeal to everyone. Somewhere, I'm sure, someone has written the book on writing that you will love and recommend to everyone.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Shari, I'm visualizing an assistant for social media, promo, and other stuff like that now--and I know writers who have them, either in person or as virtual assistants. I've looked into it, and a virtual assistant is surprisingly affordable. I probably never would have even considered it or looked into it without visualizing it.

Linda Rodriguez said...

LOL, Grace. The thing is that the 1,000 words a day rule comes before the visualization rule.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, yes. I hear you on those. Much more practical than a dramatic cape.

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, I'm more with E.B. I write more from the love of it than wanting fame and fortune. It's one of the reason I decided to self-publish. I'm just happy to have people tell me how much they like my books, and I do have a following. Do I want wealth and fame? Not really. I like my quiet life on my little farm. Yes, I connect with other writers through my SinC chapter and the long time local writers group I've belonged to in which I'm the only mystery writer. Also there's the two Guppy critique partners I've had for over six years. We have become very close. I'm quite content with my 2007 Ford Focus, and dressing casually. I'm not big on shopping. Do I write at least 1000 words a day? I do when I'm on a roll and the weather keeps me inside more. Does my view mean I think others should feel this way, too? Not at all. Maybe it's my age, that makes me satisfied and content with who I am.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, that's great. This book can be very helpful for those who are trying to have a career as professional writer, though, especially if they don't live in NYC.

KM Rockwood said...

I envision a writer's life as one in which I make writing more of a priority. It seems that things get in the way--making a living, my husband's health issues, my health issues, renovations being done on the house, etc.

I realize my difficulties are not unusual, and successful writers manage to figure out how to write in spite of what ever else is going on in their lives, but that is where I get stuck.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Oh, KM, I do hear you on that. Visualization is one of the ways I deal with that and if I don't visualize getting my writing done first, I often don't get it done, at all.