I Said Something In Milwaukee That Wasn’t True

A couple of things of note: First, I spent the weekend in Milwaukee for the every lovely Murder and Mayhem conference. It was awesome and is very much my favorite conference. Second, I started a new book last week that I am very excited about.

Now, when I was on that panel above, I said something that is sort of true but not really and I want to clarify. The moderator (Kate Malmon is one of the best moderators ever, FYI. She and Katrina Holm should moderate every panel all the time) asked me what part I hated about the writing process and I said all of it. I said I hated writing but I hated not writing even more. Glib? Yes. True?  Yes…ish. I really do hate the act of writing. I hate the frustration and the mental work it takes and I hate being distracted and feeling guilty and all of that.

So why do I do it? It’s not just because I feel worse when I’m not writing. I think a better analogy is one I heard someone give about golf. Most of golf is awful, but golfers play for that one great moment, that one great shot that makes it all worthwhile. That’s why I write. I slog through the miserable parts for those rare moments when the words come easy or I nail a piece of dialogue or turn a cool phrase or (even more rarely) solve a plot problem in an inventive way.

That’s the part of writing I like. And with the new manuscript I think there’s going to be way more opportunity for failure than normal because I’m going out of my comfort zone. I writing a bigger book with bigger ideas and a bigger canvass and bigger stakes. But I think there’s also the opportunity for more of those exciting moments. I’ve been writing first person category crime books for so long that I had become numb to most of the cool moments because they were so easy. I’m expecting as I fail more with this book I’ll also appreciate the smaller victories more. Hopefully.

But ultimately the reason I do all of this is because I want to. I want to be good and I want to get better. I want to be worthy of the effort I’ve put into it and worthy of the investment of support and time and money I’m asking of those involved in the process.