Category Archives: P.D. Martin

The fluidity of time

By PD Martin

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about time. Specifically, the passing of time. I remember when I was a little kid and all the grown-ups used to say things to me like “Wait until you’re older…time goes so fast then.” Of course, at that age I had no real concept of time. An hour’s drive seemed like an eternity.

Now, as the mother of two little ones (aged 6 and 2) I find myself completely blown away by how fast time is moving. It’s the little things…like I’ll catch up with someone I haven’t seen for a while and in my head it’s been a couple of months, but then I realise it’s actually been six months, or even longer. Or suddenly it’s 30 June (end of financial year here in Australia) and I think ‘How did that happen?’ (On the plus side, it also means we’ve past the shortest day of the year and I definitely prefer the longer days of sunlight.) These are some of the little things that make me wonder where the time has gone.

Then there are the big things. Like the fact that Grace is six (and a half) years old and I just can’t believe how quickly those six years have gone by. Can she really be in Grade 1 already?

I also find with time, you can imagine things if you have a reference point. In some ways, Liam going to school seems so far away (2017)…but I know how quickly the years with Grace went, from toddler to starting school, so I’m sure the next couple of years will go that quickly, too. So I CAN imagine Liam starting school. I know it will fly by and I’m prepared for it.

But when Liam starts school, Grace will be in Grade 5. And that seems impossible to me…no point of reference, I guess. I’m yet to experience a child moving from 6 to 10.

For that matter, when did I ‘jump’ from being in my thirties to my forties? Yes, I know I can pinpoint the exact day it happened, yet at times it’s hard to believe I’m now in my forties. Know what I mean?

Again, I think back to being told as a child that as you get older time goes faster. But boy, this is intense! Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m stuck in my imagination, in one of the worlds I create, so much that my sense of time passing is as warped (in the opposite direction) as a child’s.

I know that each tick of the clock is a second, each time the sun rises and sets is a day. Time is constant, fixed. Yet it doesn’t feel that way. To me, time often feels more like a moving target, something that bends and twists. It almost feels fluid. And just when I think I have a concept of it, I find out that it wasn’t three weeks ago that xyz happened…it was three months ago. Fluid.

Via: P.D. Martin

    

SEO for an author…really?

By PD Martin

A short blog today….

I rarely use my blog to voice a gripe—in fact, I think today is a first! But I’ve just hit the tipping point in terms of emails (spam) from web developers offering their SEO (search engine optimisation) services.

The email usually starts with something like: We’ve noticed your great design, but unfortunately your website isn’t optimised for key search words in your field. They try to word the email like they’ve checked out my site, yet clearly they haven’t. I mean, what good are search words for a crime fiction author? Or am I missing something?

Although you may know this already, search engine optimisation is set up so that if you type in a related key word search to Google or another search engine, your site comes up as close to the top as possible. So if you sell chilli-flavoured bubblegum, when someone types “Chilli-flavoured bubblegum” you want your website at the top of the list.

But does anyone who’s thinking of trying a new author search in Google for “crime fiction author” or “FBI thriller” or “mystery novel”? I think not! Yes, they may do this type of a search on an online bookstore (e.g. Amazon) but I certainly don’t expect to gain any new readers via a random search on a general internet search engine.

In my mind, an author’s website is more about giving existing readers information about you, your characters, other books you’ve written, etc. So really, the only search terms I need to worry about are “PD Martin” or perhaps “P.D. Martin”, and “Sophie Anderson”.

Feel free to chime in…do you ever search for a new author on Google? Or what is your current most annoying marketing/spam email?

Via: P.D. Martin

    

Can’t believe it’s my turn

By PD Martin

Can’t believe it’s my turn now. It’s really happening. This is it…my last Murderati post. What is worthy of my last ever post on Murderati? The plain truth is nothing. There’s no way I can fully commemorate this occasion. But I’ll give it a shot 🙂

Atlhough, being one of the last in line, I can just plagiarise everyone else’s ideas on what to cover! The long goodbye posts from Murderati and ex-Murderati have talked about how they came to Murderati, what it’s meant to them, why they felt it was time to say goodbye, and some of the things they had bookmarked for future posts. Great ideas, guys. Thanks! Here’s my take…

To be honest I have no idea how/why my name came up in the Murderati ranks but I was thrilled when JT asked me if I wanted to join. Thanks JT or whoever suggested little old me. I think my biggest fear in those early days was blogging once a fortnight. What would I say? How could I keep it fresh and interesting? While I had a blog on my website, before Murderati my blogging was sporadic to say the least. To my surprise, I found that for the most part it was actually pretty easy coming up with blog posts and topics. There was probably only a handful of times when I was like ‘What the hell am I going to write about this time?’

Murderati has meant so much to me (it’s hard for words to express how much). I’ve really enjoyed reading others’ posts and being part of this community. But like some of my fellow Murderati have talked about, at times it felt like blogging and Murderati was taking away from my writing time. Last Thursday one of our commenters said to Zoe: “Sorry to see you leave this blog. It’s been a pleasure reading your posts. However if it means more novels from you then I support the decision wholeheartedly.” 

And I guess that’s the aim for most of us at Murderati. I think I could blog once a month, but once a fortnight (plus being part of the Murderati community by reading and commenting on others’ posts) has become more difficult. But as Alex said in her last post, it was scrambling to find ‘replacement’ authors that seemed to be happening too often and took a lot of time, too. The logistics of running the blog and keeping it going also took time.

That being said, I am a fan of the longer blog posts (as opposed to the Facebook bites we’ve been talking about) and intend to kick off my once a month schedule at www.pdmartin.com.au/blog. I’ve been trying to work out how to do it – stay on Thursdays but once every four weeks? No, I’ve decided the most logical thing (largely to make sure I don’t forget!) is to post something on the first of every month. I will post a link to that monthly blog on my facebook page and on the Murderati facebook page or just head on over to pdmartin.com.au/blog sometime after the first of each month if you want to keep reading my blogs. We’re also talking about maybe starting up a Murderati discussion board given we know quite a few of our Murderati community members aren’t on Facebook. What do you think?

Like Zoe (words of the week) and David (juke box heroes), I had also invested in my future Murderati blogs. Whenever I thought of a potential topic, I’d open up a Word doc I’ve got called ‘Murderati schedule’ and jot down the idea. Here are some of the topics I had written in that file: 

  1. Travelling with children/toddlers (based on my recent trip!)
  2. The arch nemesis in crime fiction
  3. The US political system versus Australia’s (not getting into personal politics, just comparing the systems – e.g. here in Oz we have like six weeks of campaigning before the election and that’s it, plus voting is compulsory (you get fined if you don’t vote).
  4. Tools of the trade (e.g. Scrivener).
  5. What’s in a name? Character names and what they mean.
  6. Self-editing tips.
  7. More Aussie guest authors (previously I’ve had guests of Kathryn Fox, Lindy Cameron, Katherine Howell and Angela Savage and I was planning on asking these Aussie authors to appear on Murderati, too: Louisa (LA) Larkin, Leigh Redhead, Robin Bowles, Alison Goodman and Tara Moss to name a few. Look them up…you won’t regret it!

I’m also going to ‘borrow’ Gar’s idea from his last post — thinking about some of the posts I’ve written here and linking back my favourites.  Some of my favourite posts are:

Finally I’d like to say thanks to JT and Pari for starting this blog way back when and for including “The Aussie” in the mix. What’s amazing about my Murderati experience is that I’ve NEVER met any of my fellow Murderatis. How weird is that? It also speaks to the power of fiction (especially crime fiction) to bring people together from different parts of the world, and the power of the internet to make the world a smaller place.

So it’s goodbye from me. Although I’ve rarely posted music/videos, the song that kept playing in my head as I wrote the close of this post was the ‘Goodbye, farewell’ song from the Sound of Music. I was going to link to it here, but as unfortunate timing has it a couple of days ago I was diagnosed with pneumonia and I’m loading this post from a transient Internet connection in hospital and I’m having problems finding a decent YouTube link of it. So, you’ll just need to play the song in your heads, Rati 🙂

Goodbye, farewell…

Beginnings and endings

by PD Martin

I’ve been overseas the past three weeks and literally landed at Melbourne Airport four hours ago. I was planning on writing my blog for today while I was on holidays, but with everything that’s going on with Murderati, I found myself changing my mind constantly about subjects.  

Originally, the blog I had in my head for 11 April was going to be about my holiday. The family and I headed to Ireland for three weeks. My husband’s Irish and I lived there for a year and a half, so we spent our time catching up with friends and family. But there was also a very important purpose for this visit. You see, this was our first trip to Ireland since we picked our son up from Korea last year and this trip would celebrate his arrival into our family with his christening. In fact, we managed to get a wedding and two christenings in during our three-week holiday.

Anyway, then I thought I could blog about christenings and maybe even other non-religious birth celebrations. You know, even research the topic a bit plus talk about my personal experience. Even though I’m not a religious person, I found Liam’s christening incredibly moving.

But then I thought, no…I can’t blog about holidays or Ireland or christenings as part of my long goodbye. Can I? Maybe I can. I mean, the two subjects are tied together by the related themes of beginnings and endings. While I was in Ireland celebrating a wedding (the birth of a new marriage), two christenings (the birth of two beautiful boys), I was also in mourning. In mourning for Murderati. Births and deaths. Beginnings and endings. This is what’s been going around and around in my head the past few weeks. 

I have to confess, when I logged on briefly from a borrowed phone to read the Monday 1 April blog and the comments I DID start to wonder…are we doing the right thing?  Do we have any other options? I think I speak for all the current Murderati gang when I say it’s been a tough choice. But for me personally, since we picked up Liam my writing time has been drastically cut. I have enjoyed blogging at Murderati immensely, but with my time so limited I did have to question whether it was the best possible use of time. I need to write more books. That really is my bottom line at the moment. And I need to do it with less available time than ever before. But it’s still sad…really sad to say goodbye to Murderati.

My last blog here at Murderati will be Thursday 25 April and that will be my official goodbye.  But for today I wanted to share everything that’s been going on in head re beginnings and endings — and why. And I guess I also wanted to explain why Murderati coming to an end breaks my heart but also seems like the most sensible thing to do. At some point in time, something’s gotta give and I think it just so happens that more and more of the Murderati gang seem to be in this position right now. 🙁

What’s in a prologue?

by PD Martin

For some reason, I think every book I’ve written includes a prologue. It just seems like while I don’t want to cram clunky ‘back story’ into my books, there is some basic information that’s needed before readers start on chapter 1. Know what I mean?

Couple of examples…my first Sophie book, Body Count, includes a prologue of Sophie as a child, so it’s 30 years or so earlier. Yes, the main story is complete without this prologue, but it gives readers some important character information (namely that Sophie’s brother was abducted when she was a little girl).

Another example is from my current work in progress. This book, tentatively called The Pulsars, includes a prologue from 18 years earlier when a woman (who’s the mother of my main character) finds out she’s carrying a Pulsar fetus. Again, while the main, present-day story works without it, there is scene-setting in the prologue. Plus, the reader discovers that the scans are compulsory worldwide and that if the fetus is a Pulsar, the governments around the world have enacted the Pulsar Termination Act, which means all Pulsar fetus must be terminated. So I guess the story works without it, but the short, two-page prologue also does a lot. Yes, as the reader moves through the story they would discover that the main character is a Pulsar whose mother and father went on the run so they could keep their child. But I do like the way the prologue, as it is, launches the reader into this new world.   

As you can probably tell, I like prologues. Like writing them, like reading them. Funny thing is, after I’d written about three books I met someone who said they NEVER read prologues. That they figure it’s not necessary for the story. This shocked me. I consider a prologue to be part of the story, and as long as it’s pretty short and tight (and well-written, of course) I think they’re a great writing device. Many novice writers make the mistake of packing in back story in large chunks in the first chapter or two. A prologue (as long as it’s bare essentials!) can get rid of this more clunky ‘reveal’. It can set the scene, deliver character motivation or back story. Ideally, a prologue should also capture a reader’s attention. Make them want to read on–instantly. 

So, what do you think of prologues? Do you read them? And if you’re a writer, do you write them?

Note: I’m afraid I’m not going to have internet access when this post goes live (or for the couple of days following it). But I am very interested in everyone’s thoughts on prologues and will get back to the comments!

 

Tricky research – the ‘near’ future

by PD Martin

I’ve always loved the research that goes along with being an author, particularly a crime fiction author. I’ve posted here on some of my different research subjects, such as cults (part 1 & 2), handwriting, Kung Fu and Dim-Mak, real-life vampires and being a hitman (or woman).

I’ve also mentioned that I’m currently working in another new genre, writing a young adult (YA) novel. But this little YA novel has been giving me grief. Like, quite a lot of grief. But it’s not the writing process (which has actually been pretty easy), it’s the research. And what makes it hard, is that the book is a pre-apocalyptic novel set in the year 2030. So, it’s the near future. And I guess I’m pretty hopeless at speculating what the world will be like in 17 years’ time.

A little background…the book is set in the US and much of the action takes place in the environment of the Secret Service. In some ways, I figure the near future setting means perhaps I’ve got a bit of leeway. If I don’t get a specific Secret Service procedure right, maybe it’s just that things changed from how it’s done now to how it would be done in 17 years in the future. Right?  

But there are so many little facts and questions that are bugging me. Here are just a few:

  • Will a new power source have been discovered by then or are we still talking the current methods, including nuclear power?
  • Can my main character raise her SIG 9mm to take a shot? Surely guns will still be around and SIG SAUER will still make them. Or will they?
  • Will the US election system still be the same?  
  • Will the President still fly on ‘Air Force One’ and ‘Marine One’? And presumably planes and choppers will still be our primary method of fast transport. Won’t they?
  • Will countries have merged to make new countries or super powers?
  • What will the world look like in terms of water shortage and greenhouse gases? Surely 17 years wouldn’t have much effect…or will it?
  • Will people be reaching for their phones and tablets or something entirely different?
  • What will the internet look like in 17 years’ time?

It seems this particular area of my imagination is pretty pathetic! Problem is, when dealing with the near future I think you tread a fine line between what’s plausible and what’s short-sighted.

Have you thought much about the near future and what it might look like? If you’ve got any insights into any of the above, go for it! Help me!!!! God knows I need it.

The Segue

PD Martin introduces guest blogger – Lindy Cameron

Today I’d like to welcome fellow Aussie author Lindy Cameron to Murderati. I met Lindy through the fantastic Victorian chapter of Sisters in Crime. A great woman who’s moved from author to author/publisher I thought it would be interesting to hear her story. Why did she start her own publishing company?  Over to Lindy…

 

There are many things in the life of this author that try my patience. And the fact that I can actually do that, to myself, is somewhat ridiculous.

I am the Queen of Procrastination. And I say that like I am the only author who can say that, which is also ridiculous, because all writers mainline Avoidance like it’s a drug.

In fact, if you don’t find everything else to do but write, then you’re not really a writer.

Got a book deadline? Time to try out a new laksa recipe. Hmm, might have to wait until the zucchinis finish growing. Write another chapter while the stock is doing its thing – done. Oh look – the dog wants to go out; come back in; go out; eat the kitty litter. Finish chapter 10. Clean up the shredded six-pack of toilet paper. Start Chapter 11. Do a load of washing. Rewrite Chapter 11. Research just how that particular bullet will react with that metal after it’s gone through Bad Guy No 4.  Oh look – that Facebook meme about how to write is hilarious. No I really, really don’t want to change my power company, young man. Just because I answered the front door because, yes, I am AT home doesn’t mean I’m not working AT home. I’m a writer – damn it!

It is totally beyond me how I’ve managed to write five crime novels and co-write two true crime books, plus blah-blah-blah, in the last decade or so. And that always seems like a lot, until I realise I know some authors – like actually know them – who write one or two (egad!) crime novels a year.

And then I remember my biggest, weirdest and – as many people (including my partner and me) have suggested – craziest avoidance technique of all.

I started a publishing company.

I did this (in 2010) for a number of reasons. Mostly because I realised I had all the necessary skills to do something so utterly wackadoo – and in the middle of what everyone else was calling the GFC (whatever the hell that was).

I did it because I discovered there were two or 20 authors out there – apart from me – who were a little dissatisfied (understatement much?) with the Way of Big Publishers.

I also did it because I was lucky enough to snaffle some of those very same authors. Yes, I talked them into my fold, enticed them into my web, convinced them I wasn’t a complete loon, and welcomed them into my Clan.

I managed this, in some cases, because I wanted to publish certain books – by those established authors, I mean – that their existing Big Publisher didn’t want to touch because they might confuse the author’s existing readership.

[Ooh, can’t possibly ruin our crime writer’s rep by letting them go all paranormal, or write a historical novel, or something with a pirate in it!]

As an Independent Publisher, I also set about finding new Australian crime and thriller writers; publishing the back lists of existing thriller writers; republishing out-of-print crime and historical fiction; mentoring debut authors; and seeking out sf, f, duf, h, c, tc, and all the other fabulous letters that go with being a ‘capital G’ Genre publisher.

Crime and thrillers are my first love – they are what I write, after all; when I do write, I mean; you know, when I’m not publishing; really, you need to go out again? Get off the cat! What?…

But in the third year of my little company, Clan Destine Press, I’ve also discovered I needed to add r, rr & e (romance, rural romance & erotica) to the list. 

Why?

Because I can!

And there are also ‘trends’ which, as a publisher, one needs to be aware of.

One of the joys of being an Independent Publisher in the 21st Century is that we are not confined to paper.

Most of our books are paperbacks; but they are also eBooks.

And this year, more and more of our books will be eBooks first – to test the waters, to launch new careers, to get more voices out there sooner, to bring the world more fantasy, spec fic, science fiction, erotic adventures, historical fiction, and best of all: more crime and thrillers and thrilling crime and…

Now Chapter 12, where was I?

 

Phillipa (PD) here again…if you’ve got any questions or comments for Lindy, go for it! Lindy and I will be dropping by!

Falling short

By PD Martin

Ever feel like you’re falling short? Not quite meeting your own expectations or the expectations of others? Last week David talked about his intensive promotional schedule at the moment and, like David, I too feel stretched— but in different ways and for different reasons.

Like most people, I have several ‘roles’ or parts that make up my whole. In my case, it’s mother, wife, author, breadwinner and at the moment I’m also on a bit of a health-kick/diet. Problem is, I feel like I’m falling short in pretty much all of these areas.

Mother
Four weekdays, I’m the primary caregiver of our 21-month-old son and our six-year-old daughter. And of course, weekends and mornings/nights it’s shared duty! I’m blessed with two amazing children and I love being a mum. Yet, there are things I’d like to change. I feel so disorganised in the motherhood stakes some times. Every morning, I allow myself just over an hour to get ready and out the door. Yet somehow, I still find myself frazzled and yelling to get my daughter moving. Maybe that’s normal, but it feels so chaotic and stressful and by school drop-off time I feel like I’ve run an emotional marathon. Which is ridiculous! It shouldn’t be that hard to get two kids out the door. I’m clearing doing something wrong…falling short. And I really somehow need to find more patience so I can be a better mum.

Wife
I’m an incredibly vague and forgetful person, which is not easy to live with. I’m one of those annoying people who asks a question and then can’t remember if the person answered me or not (let alone what the answer was). Yes, I’m busy and my mind is full, but is that an excuse?

Author
Well, the actual writing process is going amazingly! Even with only having 15 hours a week (eight hours on one day and then the other seven hours are scattered all over the place) I’ve managed to write the first draft of a YA novel (58,000 words) in less than four months. I’ve now moved into the editing stage and so far I’m pretty happy with the novel.

But the problem is, I’m not bringing in enough money from my writing pursuits and my ebooks, which brings me to the next point…

Breadwinner
While I’m not the primary breadwinner, we do rely on a fairly decent part-time salary from me to make ends meet. In the past two years, I’ve taken on teaching and freelance work and if I don’t manage to get an advance for this next YA book (and/or my ebook sales remain at their current level) the reality is I’ll need to spend my 15 hours a week on paid freelance work not on MY writing. And that sucks! I’ve probably got until July to make something happen.

My health kick/diet
I’m also currently on a no wheat, no sugar (including fruit) six-week plan. The goal is to see how my body responds to getting rid of these two things in my diet and lose 6kg (13 pounds). I’ve actually been going pretty well with this one. I’ve had a few lapses, but three weeks in I am 3kg lighter. Still, I know I won’t lose this week and I have broken it. So I guess I’ve fallen short on this one this week, too!

So, Rati. Are you falling short anywhere in your life? Everywhere?  Lay it on me! And/or what are your thoughts on expectations these days? Do we expect too much of ourselves?

The writing high

By PD Martin

My last blog was on my love-hate relationship with writing. However, I did mention that at the moment I’m in the love stage of writing. In fact, I’d say I’m on a writing high. Do you know what I mean?

For published authors it’s that feeling of: “This is the one. The breakthrough novel that will get me from being a mid-list author to a best seller.”

And for unpublished authors it’s more like: “This is the one. The novel that will get me an agent and/or publishing deal.”

Sound familiar?

I guess for me at the moment, it’s kind of both of those things. Having tried the ebook route last year, I’ve decided I’d like to go back to the traditional agent and publisher option, at least for some of my projects. And this one I’m working on at the moment is one that could probably be quite successful as an ebook (young adult, pre-apocalyptic) but I also hope it would catch the attention of an agent and then a publisher.

But I’m wary. Wary of that writing high. It’s the most amazing feeling. Kind of like you’re invincible. Like you’ve got this pooled energy of positive butterflies in your stomach whenever you write or think about your novel. You want to dance around, punch the air. You want to celebrate. But then the logical part of you knows that there’s nothing to actually celebrate yet. Sure, there’s the fact that you’ve written (or are writing) a novel that you believe in, that you’re enjoying writing and that you think will keep readers turning the page long after their scheduled bed time. And don’t get me wrong, that is something to celebrate…sort of.

You see, being a pragmatist, and having been around the block a few times, I know I have to temper that feeling a little. First off, it’s naïve and egotistical to think that a book you’ve written is a guaranteed, sure-fire best seller. Partly because writing is a roller coaster. One minute you love the words on the page and think it’s the best thing ever…the next you’re wondering how you could have thought that such a pile of drivel was actually any good. Know the feeling?

It’s also partly because I know this business is also about luck. Obviously you start with a quality manuscript, yes. But that manuscript needs to land on the right person’s desk at the right time. It needs to have the ‘right’ cover art, it needs to be promoted in some way and, somehow, word of mouth needs to start. This is still the big unknown. I’ve had people in my publishing houses with 20+ years of experience tell me they (meaning the person and publishers in general) still don’t know why one book takes off and another of equal or better ‘quality’ doesn’t. That kind of sucks. But it seems it’s the truth. And we’ve all been trying to crack social media for that word of mouth surge, but if I’m honest I’m still clueless about that, too. Well, not clueless but my efforts in the ebook sphere haven’t resulted in a top 10 or even top 100 book. Sure, I do the obvious — get people to review my books, put up stuff about it on Facebook and Twitter and email my website subscribers but I’m not sure how to take it to the next level.

Anyway, I’m off topic. Back to the high. I mentioned that sometimes that high is also naivety. As a writing teacher, I see that a lot and it’s a fine balance. Someone in your class says they’ve quit their day job to finish their book and then sell it. You want to inspire them, keep them positive, but I think it’s important to counter some of that naivety. They’re on the writing high…great. But it would be negligent of me to at least not mention what the average book deal is worth in $ and how many first-time manuscripts actually get published. Of course, I also mention the writers who have had amazing success with their first novels (JK Rowling comes to mind). Like I said, I want to inspire them, too.

So, I’m about 90% through my first draft of this YA book and I already know what I have to refine in the edit. But I’m still incredibly excited. I want to live that high. Embrace it. And I know I have a tendency to be a glass-is-half-empty person so I don’t want my rational mind to bring me down too much. But I must also remember I’ve been in this place before. Last year I finished my first mainstream drama that focused on motherhood while also touching on some much more difficult issues of fertility, sexual assault and abortion. I was sure I had a winner. And despite some very positive feedback from test readers my first round of about 15 agents all passed. I stopped sending it out and paid a very experienced editor for a structural edit. I’ve yet to action those edits because I’m too caught up in my current story. And I hope that when I fix the problems I can go out to my next tier of agents and have more success. But my point is, when I was writing that I was sure it was The One.

 And now I’m sure this one is The One. So, I’m excited, I’m loving the writing and I’m enjoying that writing high. It’s inspiring me, driving me forward. But I’m also scared. What if I’m wrong?

My love-hate relationship with writing

By PD Martin

I wrote this post before I saw Gar’s post yesterday – amazing synchronicity we have here at Murderati sometimes…

I’ve realised over the past few months that I have an ‘unusual’ relationship to my writing.  Or perhaps it’s pretty normal…you tell me. In some ways how writing makes me feel and my attitude towards it are contradictory. A love-hate relationship.

On the one hand, I love writing. I don’t get much time at the computer these days as a full-time mum to a young toddler, but the time I do get I cherish. I covet. I get cranky if something stands in the way of my writing day. My basic routine now is one full writing day (my husband works four days a week) and 1 hour on the other four days of the week during Liam’s naps.

The end of last year and the start of this year saw my limited writing time crunched even more…my daughter’s birthday, school holidays (21 December to 31 January here), Christmas, New Year, and our beach holiday. Three out of the first four weeks down at the beach I didn’t have my writing day (my husband was still working and commuting). At this point I was frustrated. Cranky, even. I needed to write. Finally on 11 January I had my first full writing day. And I wrote 7,500 words. Not surprisingly, I was pretty happy with that word count, and the words themselves. It made me realise how much I’d missed writing. It literally gushed out of me. And like Gar, I’m currently writing a story I want to write. I’m loving writing it and seeing how the characters and plot unfold. And while I do hope it’s commercially viable (which, of course, is code for a best seller), it’s probably not the best story to write from a business/marketing perspective. It’s a different genre (again) for a start!

Now, we’re still on the love part of my relationship with writing…I do love writing. I do.  But sometimes I feel hypocritical because I don’t write at night. Problem is, usually I’m just too plain tired to sit at the computer. I find a day as a full-time mother much more tiring than a day at a full-time job. Plus, this is my time with my husband. Our time to sit back and have a nice dinner and perhaps a glass of wine. And maybe catch up on our favourite TV shows (Dexter, Person of Interest, Homeland and our latest discovery is the UK’s Sherlock, which Alex blogged about here quite extensively and mentioned on Tuesday!) By the way, Alex, now that I’ve watched it I totally agree 🙂 We’re loving Sherlock.

So now onto the hate part. At times, I feel like my chosen path has taken many things away from me (or at least denied me things). I look at my friends who are still in the corporate world, and I do notice the differences in our lifestyles. Bigger houses, better cars, dinners out…etc. etc. And on the one hand I feel: “No, that’s all material stuff. I’m living my dream — literally.”  Then I answer myself back: “No, your dream is to make a living from writing, or better yet be a best-selling novelist.” And I hate that my love and skill doesn’t equate to making a decent living.   

At times, I think I have to give up for my own sanity. Not to mention financial freedom.  If I went back into the corporate world (even part time) things would certainly be a lot easier financially. But if I’m this cranky when I’m only getting a few hours here and there to write, what would I be like if I didn’t write at all? Or if I wasn’t writing at all, wasn’t trying to finish a book and write that best seller, would I simply be able to let it go?

I’m thinking many of the writers out there can relate to this dilemma. There are at least a few of us at Murderati who’ve been circling or blogging directly about how hard it is to do what we love and make a living.

So, what’s the answer? Go back into the corporate world? Work harder at my writing? Maybe I need to force myself to write at night to add a couple of hours to my weekly quota.

I’m actually feeling pretty good about my current work in progress, but I usually do when I’m in the middle of the first draft. I have that writing high — which deserves a dedicated blog, so that will be in a fortnight’s time.

Safe to say, I’m in the love cycle of my relationship with writing, as long as I don’t think about the dream. The author’s dream.

So, Murderati if you’ve got answers or thoughts throw them my way. Is it normal to love writing but also resent it (almost kind of hate it) because of the financial repercussions of choosing this path? I’m thinking maybe that’s pretty normal for an author these days. And maybe there are no answers.

I’m going to try to focus on the love at the moment. You?

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