Wednesday, March 7, 2012
By Deborah Sharp
I wonder if Charlaine Harris (she's pictured, left) has to chase ducks out of her writing spot? Or is she so rich and famous from her Sookie Stackhouse books she has someone to do it for her? A duck wrangler, if you will?
I'm thinking about that this morning as I've gotten up for the third time from my Florida porch and run shouting and waving my notebook at a particularly bold Muscovy drake. He prefers my backyard pool -- and its formerly white deck -- to the river only a few waddling duck steps away.
So far today, it's Duck 2; Deborah 0. Not only has he managed to distract me from writing, I also slipped in a smear of duck poo. Splat. Even though Charlaine is a known duck-lover, I bet even she would have conjured up a vampire by now to dispatch this particular duck.
What do my duck issues and Charlaine Harris have in common, you might ask? (I know I am.) She was a a guest of honor at Sleuthfest over the weekend in Orlando. I'm on the board of Mystery Writers of America/Fla. Chapter, which sponsors the annual event. It was one of our best ever. I'm so proud of the many volunteers and board members who do waaaaay more work than I do to make Sleuthfest one of the top mystery conferences in the nation.
Charlaine was incredibly kind and gracious, even sitting in the audience at panels when she wasn't scheduled to speak. As far as I know, she didn't kill a single duck while in Florida.
The point is, all writers have irritations and distractions, even Charlaine Harris. Of course, hers include things like her publisher demanding she do day-long visits to book warehouses, where she must autograph her work over and over (and over and over and over and over and over ...) This is so stores across the globe can be shipped signed copies to sell. So far, I haven't been irritated or distracted in such a way.
What about you? What distracts you from doing your job? What's most irritating about your work? If you're a writer, and not yet as successful as Charlaine Harris, here's a multiple choice answer to get you started:
A) Chasing critters (or family members) from your writing space.
B) Royalty statements that make your tax guy laugh.
C) Spending more at conferences than you make all year.
D) Stretching to make a blog post point by taking the name of Charlaine in vain.
E) All of the above.