Monday, August 8, 2011

Ah, the Writing Life

Cricket McRaeiStock_000014123251XSmall

I’m writing this from the passenger seat of a Subaru Outback, speeding down I-25. We’re heading for three seventy-degree days and two thirty-seven-degree nights in the Rocky Mountains. A bed and breakfast, lake view, hiking, reading, and probably nine holes of golf.

Before I was published, I had a fantasy about the writing life. Oh, I knew it was a job, and that you had to put in the hours and effort. I knew sometimes writing is hard – after all, I was writing. I just wasn’t published yet.

But when I became a full-time writer, things were going to be different. For one thing, I’d travel a lot. You can write anywhere, so why not do it someplace fun? Plus, one of the things I like least about travel is the actual, you know, travel. Time spent in airports and on airplanes, on shuttle buses or waiting for the train. But as a writer, that time becomes downright useful. We could spend a month in Mexico or New England and keep Colorado as a home base.

And then there was the conversion van idea. Smaller than an RV, but self-sufficient. We could wander the country, exploring back roads and meeting new people. I could write just as I am right now, in the passenger seat. Or sitting at a picnic table under California redwood trees, under an umbrella with my toes in the sand.

None of that happened, of course.

Like many other writers, most of my travel involves research, or a conference or convention. Promotion takes a lot of time and organization, so it’s not just a question of hanging out with my muse and churning out the words. And we have rental properties, which we manage ourselves, so leaving for a month at a time is out of the question.

So we go on little jaunts like this, and I write in the car. I’ll put in some time on the keyboard sitting on the veranda and looking up at the lake. In another two weeks I’m heading to Seattle to promote Wined and Died, and my guy will hold down the fort at home. I’ll write on the plane and set my alarm early to get in a few pages before my hosts awaken.

It’s a good life, and I love it. I’m not giving up on the conversion van idea though.


For the month of August my first Home Crafting Mystery, Lye in Wait, is available as a free download for the Kindle and Nook.


Vicki Doudera said...

Hi Cricket,
Ah... the writing life fantasies! My husband thinks we will sell everything and live on a boat, and I'll just hole up in the berth and write my little life jacket off.

Lois Winston said...

Conversion van? Trust me, Cricket. It's awful. Been there, done that, thanks to my in-laws and their idea of retirement. It might sound like fun, but the reality is that it's cramped and uncomfortable, even for only two people, especially if you like your creature comforts -- like a real bathroom. And unless the weather is absolutely perfect, it's pure hell on four wheels. You definitely need to rent one and take a nice long trip to some remote destination without hook-up facilities before you decide to buy. At which point you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Keith Raffel said...

John Madden has retired from doing football broadcasts. Maybe his Maddencruiser is available on some used bus lot.

Jess Lourey said...

I dunno, Lois. I also like the idea of a conversion van. Maybe it's the in-laws that soured you against them?

Of course, the only mode of transportation I could afford on my current writer's wages is a slingshot, but a woman can always dream.

Cheers to your conversion van fantasy, Cricket! A vantasy!

Shannon said...

Whatever hardships you endure to write, keep doing it. I won Wined and Died at Terri's blog. She told me I couldn't read it until I turned in revisions, so I hurried up and got them in. I'm glad because I'm really loving your book.

Beth Groundwater said...

You know, Cricket, writing while sitting on the veranda and looking up at the lake is not a bad gig!

Cricket McRae said...

Vicki, I had the live-on-a-boat fantasy when I lived in Seattle. ;)

Lois, renting a conversion van is a great idea -- thanks.

I just looked up the Maddencruiser, Keith -- I could totally live in that! (Who couldn't?)

I can't actually afford a conversion van, Jess -- but thanks for supporting my vantasy!

Shannon, you are my new best friend.

Beth, we're at Twin Lakes -- rustic and lovely. I thought of you -- and Mandy -- when we went by the Arkansas Headwaters.

Deborah Sharp said...

Lucky you, to write while riding in the car -- getting something productive done while traveling. I get motion sick standing on the side of a road and WATCHING a car bounce up and down, so that or the conversion van is not my idea of heaven. But, I'm with Beth about the coolness of sitting on the veranda, writing while gazing at the lake. Lovely!

Robin Allen said...

I have a similar conversion van fantasy, except mine is a VW Westfalia.

Jess - A slingshot. Ha!

G.M. Malliet said...

I had the same fantasy. Depending on where I am in the manuscript, I find I can travel and write. In fact, it probably helps to have new scenery.

But when I'm in the last few months of writing a book, I have to be chained to my desk with the "big" computer. Just can't do it any other way.