So many clients want to be writers, and I’m always happy to help them launch their endeavor – for laughs, part-time, or jump-off-the-boat full-time.
I’m at a mystery writers conference. At each panel discussion, I’m struck by the writers and how they’ve crafted writing careers. A few are like Charlaine Harris (creator of True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse character and author of two dozen mysteries), a doyenne of this conference, who has spent 30 years writing in her upstairs office.
Many of the authors in attendance have kept their day jobs. Gianrico Carofiglio is a member of the Italian senate and till he was 40 prosecuted Mafia crimes. He writes crime novels (Involuntary Witness, among others). Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief) is an industrial salesman who crafts novels in his head while on long drives between customers, captures his thoughts at night. The other published authors here are also professors, writing teachers at senior centers, bartenders, nuclear engineers, parole officers, television producers, union organizers, dancers, retired journalists, Episcopalian priests, ex-cons and carnival workers. Quite a group, eh?
Some, like Gianrico reached a time in their lives when they said, “If not now, when?” and picked up the pen. They’ve disciplined themselves to pursue this love by making the time to write and then doing it. Like Michael Kahn (eight books about attorney Rachel Gold), an intellectual property attorney by day, mystery writer by night. He writes after dinner. A client who writes non-fiction sets a goal of a page a day when she’s working on a book. Another sold his company so he’d have the time to put out his business book.
At the conference are hordes of wannabees, admirers of the genre who reallyreally want to write, but don’t because they fear the blank page, they claim to have no time, they decry the tectonic shifts within the publishing business.
The unifying truths for all of us at this conference are the shared fears, blank pages, time demands, publishing challenges. What separates the authors from the wannabees, though, is the push through the fear, the time in the writing chair, the march forward despite the fact that everyone knows you can’t do this.
So, dust off your writing quill, crawl to your garret and write that first word. You could be the next Charlaine.