Saturday, November 19, 2016

Confessions of a Writer

My former high school English students have nothing on me. I’ve sunk to levels of procrastination they could only dream about.

          I finished my second book well over a year ago. Months passed. Then I tweaked some of the language and it sat another month. A family wedding was a good excuse not to get back to my book, then summer, then a trip.

Finally I inserted another scene, and re-wrote the beginning twice. But it still was not doing what it should. And if I had any doubt, the pile of rejections I’ve gathered is proof there are plenty of people more than willing to point that out.

 Some past readers and prospective agents decided my main character needed to be softened, others said she wasn’t snarky enough. They said her history should be presented immediately and they also said it shouldn’t show up till later in the book. And apparently today’s reader has to have a dead body no later than page five.

The problem is that I’m faced with a long line of plot devices and clues locked together as inextricably as a row of dominoes joined by crazy glue.

Should I manage to solve all this, I then get to begin the tedious and time-consuming round of agent submissions all over again. I’ve just returned from two different writers’ conferences, and yes, I listened to all those published authors with green-eyed jealousy, but I also heard the word deadline over and over again.

Yesterday I had a liberating realization. I could just finish up this book, put it on Amazon with the other, and move on to book #3.

Sure, like every other writer, I have the same fantasy of being on the New York Times bestseller list, but I’m not willing to turn that writing into a job. I’m retired. There are beaches waiting to be strolled on, a bike waiting to be ridden, and a silly dog waiting to be spoiled.

Oddly, now that I know I’m going to self-publish, I’ve willingly returned to my keyboard. At this point in life, it looks like the only person I’m happy working for is me.



  1. What a wonderful resolution to the problem. Life's too short at this stage of life to spend it anxious and fretful. Good for you.

  2. I hear ya! after being a commission artist for 40 years I am more than ready to let that go. after trying for a decade to break into the collector circle in galleries and nearly succeeding, I no longer want to do all the BS that goes along with just making the work. I still make sculptures but I do it on my time, when I feel like it. as you say...beaches to walk on, dogs to walk, gardens to tend.

  3. I hope you continue to be happy as a self-employed person. Sadly I am often harder (and more vicious) on myself than anyone else is.

  4. I am absolutely impressed that you've already written two books! I honestly think that writing a book and putting it out there is an act of bravery. Hey, I'm even impressed that you know how to self-publish! -Jenn

  5. Be sure and let me know when you've done it and where to get ahold of it! :-)

  6. You know better than I do the work it takes to write a story in the first place . Then you have to go through all the work of revising and then submit yourself to publishers. It's hard work and I applaud you for sticking with your story.

  7. I do believe you have reached a sound decision that gives you action and direction yet also lets you enjoy life almost angst free. Way to go.

  8. Writing a complete book is an accomplishment. Editing it and re=writing based on the advice of those you respect is also an accomplishment. Sometimes moving on is the only way ahead. I admire you.

  9. I like the dead bodies and mayhem on page one, it kind of drags me right on in there, but page five is also fine as long as the story doesn't peter out. BUT, I also don't mind reading stories that have no dead bodies at all. What I don't read is 500 pages of a story where I keep waiting for something to happen.
    But walking on beaches sounds like much more fun.

  10. It's so freeing, isn't it, to say "I'm retired" and move on. It's kind of like realizing somewhere in dream that it's just a dream and you don't have to finish it, what a relief! I hope you enjoy getting back to your book, finishing it up, and moving on to the next one. Because probably that one is your New York Times bestseller for sure!

    1. One of the speakers at my last writers' conference was B.A.Shapiro - author of the hit "The Art Forger." She shared the fact that it was her 10th book and the previous 9 has sold poorly or not at all.

  11. Good for you! I want to buy and read your next book too. I enjoyed reading Earthly Needs.


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