Monday, May 29, 2017

The awful things about a writing career - - -

Awful?

The need for massive Internet promotion when you don't have a kid handy to explain the ins and outs of the technology you need to at least understand if not master.  Check.

The isolation for days and days while you type words on a screen, ponder their appropriateness and even their connection to "proper English."   Check

The hours awake during the night while story ideas jiggle through your head and you make notes on a lighted pad by your bed. Check

Times when you get up at 2:00 a.m. to actually write a scene into your computer.  Check

The worry that some this or that in your story is (pick a word) boring, silly, dumb, inappropriate, spoiling, and so on.  Check

The worry about publishing details, whatever they may be. Check

The isolation from former friends who haven't a clue how a writer's life works, ask unsettling questions when they see you, and then, quite often, don't buy or read your books when they're published.  Check

Nope, none of that, though of course one or more of them are problems many writers are burdened with.  Yes, I am familiar with all of them.  But they aren't the awfullest. (I think I used an invented word.)

The awfullest?  NO TIME TO READ OTHER AUTHOR'S BOOKS!

Mom read to me as a baby.  I was sent to a pre-school and began reading words before I was five. Big print words about a flying pig and a lost doll.  I still have those books, and am still grateful to their authors.

There was only one public library in our town and it took a long bus ride to get there, but Mom and I visited about once a week and I went home with a stack of books "appropriate" for a single-digit age girl hooked on reading. A librarian there eventually introduced me to Nancy Drew. The die was cast. I didn't know it, but, nearly fifty years later, I would become a writer of mysteries. 

Appropriate age books?  My Saturday task when I was in grade school was to dust the corner What- not in our living room. (Many homes had such a pieces of furniture back then. Special treasures were displayed on What-not shelves.)  My mom's What-not included, to anchor it, a large book on the bottom shelf. "Gone with the Wind."  Not material for a child in third grade but, each Saturday, seated on the step into our living room, I read that book. It took a year, reading bits at a time, and keeping my reading a secret from Mom. I was fascinated. Still remember the plot very well, and much of the dialogue ("Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' about birthin' babies.")  Truth be told, I learned a lot from that book, and some of it was of value.

I went on to read all the available Nancy Drew Books, The Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, and many more "age-appropriate" novels. I progressed to Agatha Christie, all the "Dead British Ladies" (not all were dead at that time) and more. At my own birthday party I hid in my room for a time, reading, while my mother served cake and ice cream and entertained my friends with silly games.  (Of course I did. The book's plot had reached a thrilling point.)

But now?  I was heading into our living room yesterday to spend a bit of time reading the most recent mystery novel by an author I know well when this computer called. I had over sixty incoming messages to deal with and I knew it. I turned around and headed into my office.

Sigh. So, dear writing friends, if I don't buy all your books and comment on line about how I loved each one, you know why.  As an author myself, I have little time to read anything but my own words.

Like these.

9 comments:

Nancy LiPetri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Gligor said...

Radine,
You made some valid points!
It is difficult to juggle writing, living and reading but here's what works for me. For the most part, I write in the mornings and I read in bed before I go to sleep. Granted, there are periods of time when "life" gets in the way of my writing but it's a rare night that I don't read.

Mar Preston said...

Ah, yes. If only I had the same enthusiasm for promoting my books that I have for sitting in my big chair reading other people's books. You nailed it, Patricia.

jrlindermuth said...

Check. Good stuff, Radine.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Able to relate to everything you said in this article. I didn't even know the blog was still active. Glad you let us know. Good job.

Radine Trees Nehring said...

I do regular book signing events in grocery stores in my area and so often people tell me they can't read in the evening because they fall asleep. Umm, I can relate to that. I sometimes sneak time to read a chapter or two in the early mornings (5:00 or so) however.

Billie Johnson said...

it's great to gave these quick pieces to hrlpmr catchup with hings. thankda

billlir johnson

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