Writing Life

Writing Life #1

Welcome to Writing Life!

For nearly a year, I wrote a blog series called Writing Advice, wherein every week I would dispense pearls of wisdom/useless bons mots (YMMV) designed to help other folks learn how to improve their writing. It was rewarding for me for a lot of reasons, chief among them that it encouraged (nay, forced) me for the first time really to think about how and why I do some of the things I do in my writing.

See, when every day you do something — over and over — that is engrained in you, it’s far too easy to fall into a place where you simply keep doing it, without ever thinking about the how or the why of it. And that’s bad because the only way to grow at anything is by constantly questioning, examining, evaluating, and re-evaluating the how and the why of what it is you do. So when you teach (or try to teach) someone else the same thing, it forces you to examine your own behavior and look for ways to improve.

So, yeah, I really enjoyed Writing Advice. I got a lot out of it, and I hope that the (mostly) silent majority of you who read it got something out of it, too.

Of course, I only have so much to say about the art and the craft of writing, so it had to come to an end. But before I ended Writing Advice, I asked on Twitter if people would be  interested in a series of new posts from yours truly, this time about the Writing Life. Not so much about the nuts and bolts of assembling a story, but more about the day-to-day big picture stuff. The things I love. The things that drive me nuts. That sort of thing. Less science, more art.

The response was a resounding, “Yeah, OK, why not?” And so here I am.

Each week (or so), I’ll talk about what I’m working on, what’s going well, what isn’t going well, etc. I’ll be as honest as I can without revealing spoilers for upcoming projects. I’m going to have to be coy about a bunch of things, so I ask your forgiveness in advance. I have my own notion of what is appropriate to discuss and what isn’t, and since it’s my website, I get to decide what gets out there.

I would LOVE to get your questions. The comments form is there for a reason, folks. If you have questions, ask ‘em! If you have issues you want me to tackle, post ‘em! This is supposed to be for our mutual benefit, so let’s make it a dialogue and have some fun. (I read every single comment. I may not always respond immediately because I might save an answer for a future entry, but I read ‘em all!)

Now, for this first week, I was going to do a run-down of my current projects and schedule, so that you could see what I’ll be talking about going forward. But something happened recently that I wanted to talk about instead, so we’ll save that bit for next week, OK?

I want to talk very briefly about why writing matters to me.

Two weekends ago, I was on a creative writing panel at the inaugural Empire State Book Festival with Carolyn MacCullough and Da Chen. Our moderator had to back out at the last minute and the volunteer who stepped in to fill her shoes didn’t know anything about us or the topic of the panel, so the three of us jumped in and introduced ourselves and opened by talking a little bit about what writing meant to us.

Stephen King famously wrote that writing is telepathy — two people who have never met, thinking the same thing. One person writes it and that thought is then communicated — in utter silence — to another, often across a great distance, sometimes even across a language barrier.

I would argue, though, that writing is more than telepathy; writing is also time travel. Ten years from now or five minutes from now or fifty years now, I will be dead and gone. But my books will continue to sit on shelves and in Kindles and in stacks piled next to beds, and the people who managed to get their hands on them before they went out of print will continue to know exactly what I was thinking and feeling, as though I were right there with them, even though I am no longer alive.

I hope it’s not egoistic or arrogant to say that I think that’s incredibly cool. I don’t think it’s in