When I wrote my first novel, Shooting Dr. Jack, I was working about sixty hours a week at a job that I had come to hate, and my dream was that the book would get published and that it would deliver me out of that life and into the writer’s life. Well, it did that. The issue was that I didn’t really know what the writer’s life looked like. I think what I had in mind was something like Hemingway, sitting at the end of the bar in La Floridita drinking coffee (rum does evil things to me), working on my next opus whilst ignoring calls from my agent.
(Pause here for incredulous laughter.)
What I try to do in this blog is talk about the writer’s life, or more specifically, this writer’s life. I have written six novels, all currently published by HarperCollins. I have a seventh one floating around in limbo, and my eighth one, working title ‘Shadow of a Thief,’ is under contract. I am deep into the process of writing numbers nine and ten. However, the writer’s life into which my first novel delivered me bears a pretty good resemblance to the one I already had. I still have a day job, because I like to eat. It takes me into some of NYC’s more interesting neighborhoods on a regular basis, and the people I meet and the things I see provide me with all kinds of inspiration. I don’t hate this job much, most of the time I actually love it, but it still uses up a lot of my time and energy and finding the juice to write can be an issue. And there are other issues, as well:
What’s your metric for success? Here’s a hint, Justin Beiber could photocopy his butt and sell more copies, at a higher price, than anything you and I could produce, put together.
Writer’s block: Why, God, why?
Working with agents and editors.
People who used to like you but hate you now that you got all uppity and shit, and you ain’t all that anyhow…
Why do we keep doing this? I’ve got my reasons, but I’m not sure they make any sense.
Reviews, good, bad and indifferent, as well as the (expletive deleted) people who post stuff about you on the internet.
What are you reading, and what do you think of it? How does the work of other writers teach you?
What if you have Something To Say? If your story has a moral or if you have some hard-won bit of wisdom to impart, how do you do it without sounding like a moron?
And, those singular moments, whatever they may be, that make it all worth it.
These are just some of the things I’m trying to deal with in this blog, and it ain’t because I have all the answers, either. If you are writing, you are going to have to deal with at least some of the same stuff, and you might find my struggles useful. And if you figure it out, let me know, and I’ll meet you at the end of the bar in La Floridita for coffee. Con Leche, por favor.
Also: I find it ironic that my laptop keeps trying to change Floridita to floridity…