My method of writing is to live the story. If you see me driving beside you on the road, get out of the way. You may look over and see an old woman with a purple streak in her gray hair, hands resting on the steering wheel, but I am actually on a horse riding through the Sonoran desert, Big Fifty across the saddle pummel, Colt on my hip, and Bowie snugged into a boot. I may talk on the phone, cook a meal or two, and listen to my husband. But my senses and emotions and all but the smallest part of my brain are living the story I’m creating from inside my point of view character.
Moderate success has blown that method to smithereens.
My Life with a Wounded Warrior has been released. Clueless Gringos in Paradise is set to be released on November 30th. Four additional completed novels are contracted, or in contract negotiations. If this all sounds more like running a business than a creative endeavor, well, then you’re catching the drift of this post.
It isn’t that I don’t love speaking or promoting. I’ve worked hard to polish half-a-dozen topics for writers’ groups–from How to Write in Deep Point of View to How to Choose the Right Small Press. I have another half-a-dozen presentations for civic or veteran’s groups. I can entertain while teaching about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Service Dogs for Veterans and Living with a Wounded Warrior. I’m having a ball running a contest on Facebook, and connecting with like-spirits on linked-in.
All this brings great satisfaction. I thrive on being in front of an audience, love the energy, the joy of empowering people.
And, all of this throws me off that horse in the desert, leaves me flat on my ass in front of a computer searching for conferences to wow, veterans groups to speak with and listen to, and civic groups to entertain over iceberg lettuce at the local Ramada. And, while I tell myself there is a time for everything. Do my best to believe that with four books published and five more written and on their way to press, it behooves me to spend more time promoting and less time writing
Still. . .
My characters whisper in my dreams. Days are haunted by short bursts of scenes that demand to be written. I wake in the night riding that horse, Jeremiah’s rage a burning coal in my belly. I stare at the clock in the dark and feel Adeline’s fear and hunger for safety and cannot abide to abandon her there staring out into the silvery light of an 1871 dawn in Humboldt County.
So, forgive me if I am scattered, must refer to my notebook to tell you when I’m speaking where and on what topic. I’m doing this all from the back of a moving horse. Your voice is over-shadowed by the jangle of a bridle on a bay mare. Your questions muted by an orphaned Osage child held tight to my breast. The smell of pinon and sage and creosote drown out that of autumn in the Ozarks.
I’m a writer interrupted.
Make allowances. Please.