Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Round and Round

Cricket McRae

The high temperature last Thursday was 58 degrees in my Colorado town in the foothills. For nearly a month before that temps were in the high 90’s every day, and then suddenly there was snow along I-70. My vegetables are ripening in the garden, but there could be a hard freeze in a month and everything green will turn brown again. And then white.

Transition. Anticipation.

When I worked at the software mother ship, my job changed every six months. There were always new challenges, some of them stressful. The only constant was change. But, like seasons, products had their cycles, from concept through execution to market. Going through that cycle sometimes had the feel of trying to stay on my feet on a surface of rolling logs. Risks were encouraged, demands made and success rewarded. It could be a little scary, but was also energizing.

At least for a while. Then the product cycles gave way to a homogenized lump of constant upgrades and daily updates available on the Web. The big sign on the wall that said “that’s how we’ve always done it,” in a circle with a line through it came down. Innovation slowed. It got to be a grind.

I left and started a soap making business. What a blast: researching, developing new formulas, making and updating the Web site, learning about online marketing and selling, creating packaging, experimenting with production methods and efficiency, and finally achieving a certain level of success.

But once the creative side was more or less done, my little toiletry business became like a factory job, pretty much the same every day. Kind of made me itch.

Writing is my perfect occupation. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am. Creating a book has a cycle, and so does promoting. I’ve just finished the third in my Home Crafting mystery series, Spin a Wicked Web, and am hitting the promotion for Heaven Preserve Us hard. I’m beginning to write the fourth in the series, and developing the backbone for a whole new series.

As writers, we get to wear so many hats. Every day is different. Every page is different. Our characters alter and grow, and new characters come along. We learn new things as we research, and meet new people all the time.

As long as I'm willing to push myself, it will always be a challenge. Who could ask for more than that?


Keith Raffel said...

Cricket. Everything you said. And if only one didn't need money, too.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I agree with you. Writing is like getting a fresh new look every day. I'll stop writing when it feels like "work."

Joe Moore said...

Well said, Cricket. When I was a kid, it was called "playing make believe". Now I get to do it everyday. Being a writer is the best job on the planet.