Saturday, March 24, 2012

We're writers. We write -- so please don't judge how we do it . . .

by Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett

Writers can be strange ducks.  We all have our own quirks.  Someone asked another mystery writer I know of how she approached her work.  She said that she was methodical.  She researched what she needed to know, then wrote her chapter, and then edited it several times before going on to the next chapter, which seems entirely logical (and a lot more practical than the way I often approach writing). The person who asked her this question said her approach was bonkers.

What a fool.  The idiot who asked the question, not the very accomplished author.

Give me a pen and a pad of paper and I can write anywhere.  For the past three years, I've done a great deal of my writing on my laptop on my dining room table. I have NOT been able to work in my office, and perhaps that's because it's so crowded with boxes of books, bookmarks, and postcards that I can barely move.

In January I went on a three-week vacation.  For at least 6 to 8 hours of the day, I spent out of doors, sitting in the shade, writing longhand in small notebooks.  I got a tremendous amount of writing done.  I averaged between 3000-4600 words a day.  (And, oddly enough, I never got writers cramp.)  At the end of some days, I'd go back to my room and type everything up on my laptop.  It was a wonderful trip because I wrote all kinds of stuff--including 20% of the next Booktown Mystery.  I also worked on a couple of other shorter projects.  I never felt so creative in my life.  And talk about relaxed.  It was a terrific vacation.

And then I came home.  I've been struggling ever since.  Mostly because I let too much of the outside world intrude on my writing, and I'm wrestling with how to deal with that.  But the thing is ... I don't seem to be able to create on the computer ... FOR RIGHT NOW.  That will change ... it might take another month ... it might take a few years.  As long as I'm writing, I'M HAPPY.  And I'm sure the author I mentioned above is happy with how she approaches her projects.  The thing is . . . WE'RE WORKING.  WE'RE PRODUCING.  WE'RE WRITERS.

The person who criticized the awesome author?  A wannabe who has never written a book (that we know of) and certainly has never been published in novel length.

I would never presume to judge how anybody actually approaches their writing.  Everybody does it differently.  I never write a book the same way twice.  Sometimes I'll write it straight through (the best way), but more often, I write all the "fun" scenes, and then connect the dots.  Sometimes I write the ending first.  Sometimes I just write all the tough, emotional scenes to get them out of the way and out of my system.  The thing is ... one way or another, I'm going to finish that book and move on to the next writing project.  It's what I do.  I'm a writer.

And by the way, all that writing sucked up four notebooks and all the ink out of one humble Bic pen.  Now how cool is that?

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BTW, if you're heading to Malice Domestic and want to buy a trade paperback copy of The Cozy Chicks Kitchen (our delightful new cookbook), let us know NOW. We're taking advance orders but will ONLY BRING COPIES FOR THOSE WHO RESERVE THEM in advance. We'll be ordering them on Monday. You'll save a dollar off the cover price and won't have to pay for shipping! Additionally, six of the Chicks will be at the conference and would be glad to sign your copy!

Just send an email with the subject line of COOKBOOK OFFER to us at cozychicks @ gmail.com (close up those spaces, please) and we'll make sure you can pick up your copy at the conference.

Remember, we're only bringing enough copies for those who reserve in advance.

Happy cooking!