True love and ogres don’t mix

There are weeks – and sometimes even months – when writing seems to be the tiniest part of my job. I love writing, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I’d do it just for myself if I couldn’t get published. I write all kinds of things I know I won’t ever get published. And mostly I love the things that go along with making a career as a writer. I’m a social person; I like getting out and meeting other people – writers, readers, just about anyone. If I didn’t have to work to pay the rent and buy the groceries (whether I won the lottery or got a million dollar advance), I’d probably still be tempted to work one day a week.

But, having said all that, there are weeks when writing consistently is almost impossible and, oddly, those weeks are often the ones when I have deadlines and the lack of writing time makes me crazy.

This past couple of weeks and the next two weeks make a month of complete insanity.

Let me begin by saying I’m having a great time. I’m enjoying every minute of it, I’m learning a lot, I’m meeting all kinds of wonderful people and I’m getting together with people I don’t often see.

This is what I’ve done and will do in May:

Thursday evening I began by moving bags full of books –  40 heavy bags of books – into an elevator, out of the elevator, into my car, out of my car, into an elevator, out of an elevator, and into the meeting room at the Vancouver Public Library’s main branch. Readdating – 30 some writers, 30 some librarians, 10 tables, 10 minutes each. Three hours later even I was almost all talked out. But I met some great writers – some of whom I hope to keep in touch with – some equally great librarians and I learned a lot. One of the things I learned is that I’m pretty darn sure I’m never going to try speed dating! I have an SUV. This is the back, the back seat was equally piled full of bags and boxes.

Friday night off to Richmond right after work. About a 20 minute drive on a good day, Friday night in rush hour I was pushing it to make it from downtown to the conference in time. Many old friends, lots and lots of conversation, a workshop and then home in time to fall into bed after another 16 hour day.

Saturday a full day at the conference. Had to get up early because I was moderating the industry panel – two editors (Kathleen Scheibling from Harlequin and Heather Osborn from Samhain) plus Allison Beda, a director, screenwriter and producer. Lots of information, lots of questions, lots more conversation. The rest of the day was spent with Michael Hauge and his terrific day long workshop Story Mastery. It was fun. Plenty of movie quotes (thus the title of this blog), lots of movie information, lots of writing information. Oh, yeah, and I forgot the lots of homework that we did during both coffee breaks and lunch in addition to chatting with friends and pitching a new idea to one of the editors.

Sunday I spent preparing for a workshop I’m giving on Thursday night because I have deadlines I have to meet this week, plus I’m working three of the four days. I have a pile of handouts and information about a foot and a half high to take along to the workshop. I love giving workshops but this workshop is an hour and a half away in rush hour and I won’t be home until 11. Yet another 14 hour day. Funny how I don’t mind the 14 hour writing days.

The following week an evening meeting (also an hour’s drive away) with a group of published authors and an all day workshop with Bob Mayer which I’ve been looking forward to all year plus working full time both weeks. It’s not so much about writing but about being a warrior writer. And I absolutely definitely completely want to be one. I want to learn tactics, find assets, identify threats, locate my blind spots, and, mostly, achieve more than I thought possible. I want to be a warrior writer so I’m giving up another writing day to learn these skills.

I’m not going to tell you all the work I’ve been doing in terms of promotion – it’s boring to hear about but it’s a necessary part of my day and honestly? Most days I love doing it. It entertains me, makes me feel as if I’m taking positive steps in my career. Just not this week. But if I don’t do it this week, next week will be worse.

So there’s a month in the life of a writer. Not every month is the same but every month is equally crazy. Good thing I love crazy and I hate being bored.



6 responses to “True love and ogres don’t mix

  1. Raymond Bolton

    I have never believed the act of writing always entailed putting words on paper. Sometimes it requires arming the intellect or steeling the subconscious. One cannot effectively sustain the same degree of effort day-in, day-out with the same degree of effectiveness. It is this sort of period of pent-up frustration that allows one to return to the fight with greater determination than she possessed when she had left it.

    You are already a warrior writer, Kate. I would hate to be the obstacle standing in your way when you are finally able to resume what you do best. Something great is waiting. Awesome, awesome post.

  2. Thanks, Raymond. I think – at least I hope – what Mayer will do is bring his military background to the pursuit of writing. I’m looking forward to a different perspective. But you’re right – sometimes we need to step away, or steel our loins (what does that mean, anyway?) before we can get back in the arena and begin the fight again.


    • Raymond Bolton

      “steel our loins (what does that mean, anyway?)”

      It means we must wrap steel armor around our rib cage to protect ourselves from assault, the same as to gird ourselves. A girder is a reinforcing or strengthening beam or shaft. Steeling or girding, really or figuratively, means to strengthen or protect ourselves… pretty much what you do when you take a deep breath before taking the podium to make a speech. Probably more than you really wanted to know. But you asked. : )

  3. I’m tired to begin with, Kate, but reading that exhausted me! 😀

    I also haven’t had much time to write and like you said, it’s driving me nutso.

  4. Raymond Bolton

    I hate to admit it, Kate, but when I first glanced at the title, I read it as, “True love and orgies don’t mix”—another of life’s many truths.

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