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?


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 @ (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!


Ann Philipp said...

There’s probably as many ways to write as there are writers. I keep thinking I’ll find a pattern or a formula, but I don’t. Must be my left brain wanting that. It is what it is.

‘As long as I’m writing, I’m happy.’ Man, isn’t that the truth.

And you burned through a Bic pen. Very impressive. Sounds like a heavenly vacation.

Thanks for your post.

Aurian said...

Lol, it sounds like you need more vacations, just to write. I don't think it matters how you plot and plan your book, just that you write it at all, and that your readers enjoy it.

Jill said...

Grabbing a notebook & a pen and sitting outside to write! Sounds like heaven! And kudos to you for being so productive!

Linda Randig said...

Lorna, Will any of the Chicks have the cookbook at the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont right after this year's Malice? I can't make it to Malice but do intend to be at the festival and would love to get a copy signed by as many Chicks as will be there. Would it be possible to reserve a copy and pick it up at the festival rather than Malice?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Linda--yes! You can pick up a copy of the book at the Festival of Mystery. Only Leann and I will be there, but I can have the other Chicks signs it while at the conference. Meanwhile, you still need to send us an email to reserve your copy.

See you at the festival!

lynneandco said...

There are always people who presume to know how to do things that they have never successfully done. I pity those unhappy souls, as they are obviously searching to be "the best" at something and the only thing they know how to do is criticize unjustly. But I also pity those who have to put up with your writer friend. I am not a writer and have no great desire to be. I am a reader extraordinaire and love the writers that make me happy with their books. That includes you! I can't wait for the next Booktown mystery! I don't care how you write them, just as long as they keep coming. You, and the other writers of wonderful books, are my heroes!!!