Friday, July 31, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
|Clockwise from upper right: Dana Kaye, John Floyd, Tara Laskowski, and Art Taylor|
Photo by Kathryn Kathryn Prater Bomey, shared by Tara Laskowski
|Dana Kaye and Charlaine Harris|
Photo by Tara Laskowski
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Monday, July 27, 2020
Sunday, July 26, 2020
|Deer spotted at Oglebay Park, Wheeling, WV|
Saturday, July 25, 2020
This blog initially appeared in Writers Who Kill on Sunday, October 12, 2014. As you read this, I’m on the road somewhere between Florida and Maine, or maybe in Maine. Hard to say what delays travel will bring in this age of COVID-19. Anxiety seems a fitting theme.
I’m on a deadline right now. I’ve said that phrase so often, it feels like a mantra. Sometimes the deadlines are self-imposed, other times, not so much. This time, it’s both. I have a new manuscript due at Henery Press by June, and I promised it for December – gulp. And I’ve taken on a lot of blogging obligations. Oh yes, there’s those pesky romance short stories that I write for the Trues. I consider the shorts to be my writer’s version of a vacation. Different genre, different style, different outcomes from my usual fare. Did I mention I have a day job too? Yep, I’m a full time paralegal who puts in eight to ten hours a day. Then there’s eight cats, three birds, and a husband. All rescues. Well, maybe not the husband, but some days it feels that way. So, you know where the time goes.
Let me say this loud and proud, “I am not a workaholic.” My writing life is fun time for me. I manage to fit it in a couple of hours before work, a couple of hours after and one day a weekend. It works for me. I don’t feel whole without a story perking along. Sounds like I have it all figured out. Not!
Whenever I get near the end of a project, I get the hebbie jebbies. My hands sweat, I fumble for words, I just know that whatever I’ve written is the worst thing known to man and no sane person will ever want to read it. It’s happening right now. I’m sure this is the worst blog post ever. Who cares what I feel? Deep Breath. Put one finger in front of the other, and soldier on with the post.
Over the years, I’ve learned writer’s anxiety is my best friend. Articles and stories I’ve written that flowed from start to finish are my albatrosses. I worry if I type ‘the end’ and feel like Stephen J. Cannell looks when he rips the page from his typewriter, My knee jerk reaction is to put those stories in a drawer and pull them out in a month. I nearly always find they need to be handled with tongs and only from a distance. The stuff I was sure was junk, well, that’s the stuff I put away for a week, then when I pull it out, I nearly always find it’s got great bones, good storyline, and well developed characters.
The heart pounding, OMG, this is awful anxiety I feel when writing tells me that I’m hitting my own nerves. I’m going deep into the story and the characters and I am putting something of myself on the line. That’s my goal as a writer, not to change the world, but to share the human experience and have my readers enjoy the experience. I always hope that some of that painful honesty bleeds through the story to the reader and he or she comes away with something new from each of my works.
Writer’s anxiety? Embrace it; it can be your best friend.
What about you? Do you feel the gut wrenching anxiety as you write? Readers, how does a well-crafted story make you feel?
Friday, July 24, 2020
Thursday, July 23, 2020
If Harry Potter was born (as J. K. Rowling revealed recently on Twitter) in a tiny flat above a sporting goods store in south London, the bespectacled orphan-wizard gained his powers in the back room of The Elephant House, a charming red-painted tea and coffee house just off Cowgate in Edinburgh's Old Town. There, at a seat by the window, Ms. Rowling famously wrote much of her first two novels. With massive Edinburgh Castle looming above and historic Holyrood Palace a short stroll away, I can't imagine a more inspiring place to court the Muse.
Fame, as Ms. Rowling has no doubt learned, comes with a price. The last time I was in Edinburgh, the queue at The Elephant snaked out the door and halfway down George IV Bridge Street. There wasn't a seat available, for setting up a laptop or sipping coffee or anything else. Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith are said to frequent The Elephant. Maybe on a cold day in January.
The owners used to repaint the toilets every year but have now given it up as a lost cause. "After it was painted once," Hessami said, "a note about who was in Dumbledore's Army had three tallies next to it. By the end of the day, it was at 83." One time someone wrote, "The service is so slow in here anyone could write a book."
They did paint over that one.
More power to J. K. Rowling. I wonder where she writes now?
Authors, do you have a favorite place to write?
Will you tell us about it?