Friday, November 27, 2015

Getting Down to Writing

Writing distraction in my front yard
I live in a writer’s retreat. Really, I do. I rent a house located on a 200 acre farm with woods on two sides, a cow pasture in front and a little field and a pond out back. Every window has a pretty view. My writing desk faces a wall of windows overlooking the pasture and woodlands. Deer, fox, coyote, ground hogs, squirrels and an occasional raccoon parade through my front yard on a regular basis.

I should be a lot more prolific a writer than I am with a set up like this. I just finished reading Nancy Peacock’s A Broom of One’s Own and have some satisfaction in reading I am not alone. She says it is not the exterior writing place that has to be just right, but the interior place. That is the truth. I lack of self-discipline and my mind is all over the place most of the time. I tried, and succeeded for about two weeks, to force myself to write 2,000 words a day. Then I went back and read those words and realized they were drivel.

When writing non-fiction I can outline and plan and I have never missed a deadline. Fiction is another story – it can take me years to finish a novel, even the ones for children. Pale as the Moon took about five years. Of course, I wasn’t writing those five years. I kept pushing it to the back burner while I took up other projects. I was running my own business, divorced and raising a grandchild, so writing was part time. That was my excuse to myself.

Now, I live alone, and quite happily. I have a part-time job that I love. A quiet, beautiful environment where my distractions are few, except for watching wild life in my front yard and the calves playing in the pasture. 

So, it is my interior that is cluttered and messy, not my exterior. I really have a hard time settling down to write, even though I love writing. It was the same way with horseback riding when I ran the stable. I loved riding, but just had a hard time breaking away from the distractions and getting ready to ride. 

Now I am sixty-nine and have this feeling of the sands of time running way too fast through the hour glass. I don’t know if I have time to take my time writing a novel. Nancy talked about dying before finishing a book means the characters die, too. That probably doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. But, still, I think about it.

That whole thing of time running out is why I am drawn to self-publishing. It seems a lot of time can be wasted on querying and waiting for rejections over and over in an attempt to finding a traditional publisher. My latest release, In the Garden with the Pruning Shears, is self-published for that reason. That, and not wanting to be held to a contract saying I have to write more cozy mysteries in a certain frame of time. I didn’t think I’d want to write a series, although after declaring that to my writers group I am about one third into a second Olivia and Gail caper.

Writing is how I’d like to make my living. So, far, it is a small supplement to my part-time job and my social security check. This year has been a good one. I sold and wrote the fourth in my series of equine books, The Book of Donkeys. It will be released in April. And I released my first cozy mystery, In the Garden with the Pruning Shears.
Now I am feeling the “what’s next” pressure. If I can pull some things off their back burners I’ll be fine. Soon as that deer is out of sight. I have to take time to watch the critters.