Friday, July 22, 2011

Dangerous: Writing while Reading, by Jess Lourey

What, if anything, do you read while writing? For me, usually nothing. I’m a full-time teacher and a mother of a 12 and a 9 year-old. imageI also have a wonderful boyfriend, serve on the national board of the Mystery Writers of America, am active in Tae Kwon Do, and volunteer in my community. When I add writing a novel on top of that, reading is usually the first thing that has to go. However, the young adult novel I’m working on at the moment requires a great deal of research. I find myself writing in fits and spurts, broken up by necessary reading, and it’s driving me crazy!!! I can’t meet my 2000-word-a-day minimum, and I feel like a humongous slacker.

So maybe this post is more about asking how you all make time for writing. I get asked that question regularly, of course. Every writer does. One time, a couple years ago, I half-jokinglyimage (which=embarrassingly true) told a reporter that I have time to write novels because I don’t watch TV, have a social life, or shower on the weekends. That become the two-page, full-color headline for the article, over a photo of me with my 19-year-old cat in my arms: “I Don’t Have a Social Life and I Don’t Shower on Weekends.” This is how cat ladies are born, people. Shame combined with the realization that personal hygiene is negotiable.

Nowadays, when I teach creative writing for MWA-U and am asked how I make time for my writing, I gently correct my students. We all make time for what is important, I say, so the question is not how to make time for writing but how to make writing important to you.

That answer works great as long as you’re not under deadline, right? I need to get this YA novel done by September 1, the imageDecember book in my Murder-by-Month series by December 1, and I hope to have a magical realism novel completed by May 1, 2012. I had it all within my grasp, right up until I realized I had far more research to do for the YA novel than I had allotted time for. So I repeat: how do you make time for writing, especially when it requires researching?

On a profoundly unrelated note, last month, my publisher kindly put forth June Bug as a free ebook download. Tens of thousands of copies were downloaded, and even more exciting, the sales of the other five books skyrocketed. You know what else? The entire six-book e-series is still in the top 10,000 ranking for Amazon.com’s Kindle downloads, weeks after June Bug has returned to full price. Thank you to Midnight Ink for their brilliant support and inventiveness, and for allowing me this opportunity to reach a new group of readers.

And finally, this is my last post for Inkspot. I’m going to toot my imageown horn and say that starting this group blog was my idea a few years back, and it’s morphed into this amazing thing through the efforts of some of the best writers in the business. Thank you for your time and friendship, Inkspotters, and I’ll continue to follow your stories with great anticipation.

p.s. Breaking news!!! Thanks to an Amazon.com promotion and some more forward-thinking from my publisher, Knee High by the Fourth of July is a $1.99 Kindle download for this week only. Read on!

19 comments:

Jessie Chandler said...

Great post Jessie!!! I'm sorry you're leaving this forum, but holy crap GET TO WORK!!! you have just a little bit to do lol!!!! Just keep cracking me up:-)

Jess Lourey said...

Jessie, your enthusiasm is so contagious that I AM going to keep checking in with you for a pump of energy every now and then.

Lois Winston said...

Jess, an inordinate amount of research is the reason I don't write historical fiction or anything dealing with the sciences. The research would take 10 times as long as writing the book!

Good luck on all those deadlines. We'll miss you here.

Sebastian Stuart said...

What a charming post. Thanks for starting the blog.

Jess Lourey said...

I hear you, Lois. I think I may have discovered I'm oddly lazy.

Thank you for reading it, Sebastian. It's nice to know we're not alone out here. :)

Darrell James said...

Jess- sorry to hear you're leaving but can identify with the time-crunch. I tell unpublished writers enjoy the writing time now, because once published it starts to feel more like a job. (A really great job, by the way.)

Good luck with the deadlines.

Terri Bischoff said...

ahem... yes, good luck with those deadlines ;) LOL. Somehow, I know you'll get it done. Who needs showers, anyway?

Jess Lourey said...

Rock on, Terri! We're gonna start the Infrequent Bathers Club. IBC!!

Thanks, Darrell. :) It's a good reminder that we shouldn't complain. It IS a great job. Except for the pay.

Robin Allen said...

You write 2,000 words a day? Now I feel like a slacker. My writing commitment is two hours a day, six days a week. I often write for longer, but never for less. I don't have a lot of obligations, so I sit down whenever I feel like it and start writing.

Jess Lourey said...

Robin, that's awesome! I give myself weekends off, btw.

Beth Groundwater said...

An excellent final post, Jessie. I will really miss reading your posts here, but with your busy writing schedule (there is no way in hell I could write 3 books in a year!), I can see why some things have to go.

Kathleen Ernst said...

I can so relate! I'm working on way too many things at once. When I get overwhelmed, I remind myself how long I dreamed of being a working writer, and how lucky I am to have so many opportunities.

Thanks so much for starting Inkspot! You'll be missed here.

Keith Raffel said...

[sob] You will be missed, Jess.

Alice Loweecey said...

Great post, Jessie!

Jess Lourey said...

Keith, we'll still visit at conferences, yes? I am less interesting in person, but it's better than nothing.

Beth, that's the first time I've heard you swear. What else are you hiding from me?

Kathleen, I agree completely. The dream of being a writer is my lifelong dream, so any whining I do is temporary and should fall on deaf ears.

Thanks, Alice. :) Sorry about sending the hot weather your way.

Keith Raffel said...

Jess, do not worry. As long as you continue to refrain from showering on the weekends, you will continue to be "interesting" in person at conferences.

susankoefod.com said...

Thanks for taking the time to ready my debut Washed Up. Like you, I'm not reading much either. Gotta make pages while the summer sun shines.

G.M. Malliet said...

Gonna miss you, kiddo.

Deborah Sharp said...

Ah, Jess ... we're going to miss you here in these pages (virtual, e-pages anyway)
As for finding time ... I'm sorry to say that my writing quite often gets pushed aside by my real life. It's a good thing I'm only writing one series.