Friday, January 27, 2012

So You Wanna Be a Novelist...Well Read This

"No one ever called Picasso an asshole..."

So you wanna be a...yeah, yeah. yeah, you read the headline.
But it's true. You wanna write books and have them published by an awesome major or cool indie or DIY or whatever and however you wanna do it. The point here is, you wanna live the life, right? Come on, am I right?

Maybe you model your life after Papa Hemingway who would write in the mornings and fish and drink in the afternoons. Or perhaps Norman Mailer who was more famous than many movie stars and had the ear of most presidents, including JFK. Or perhaps Truman Capote suits your temperament and you can be the Prince of New York, Black Tie Party and all. Or maybe you fancy yourself more like Anais Nin who wrote by hand in her diaries and made love with men and women in Paris like it was an anthropological study. And in a way it was.

So, then there's me.

Little old humble me (Ok, maybe not so humble...). Admittedly I live a great life, even if I have f'd up most of my relationships (Ok, all of them...but who's counting). I get to travel, eat and drink where I want, when I want. If I want to sleep late I can, and if I want to work in my boxer shorts I can do that too (My daughter bought me a pair with cute little skunks on them...perhaps there's a message behind it). In any case, it is a great life and it beats punching a card at the steel mill. But believe it or not, the life ...this writer's not all peaches and heavy creme.

Take a typical day for me...A recent day.

Get up in frigid apartment. Early (I'm too busy to sleep late.)
Write a small building design piece for one of the few trade pubs I still work for (I refuse to give up journalism entirely. I did that once before and regretted it.) From there I'll put in a few hours writing new fiction, perhaps for my new book Precious. Then it's maybe a three mile run in the cemetery (...again, there's probably some sort of meaning behind this) and a visit to the gym for some weight lifting. Then it's eat-lunch-not-in-some-fancy-nancy-eatery-or-bistro, but at my desk (and it's probably canned soup), while I hit a content edit for one of the new books being published in the Spring. Moonlight Rises or Concrete Pearl.  Oh, also there might be some cover design consultation with the publisher, plus I'm required to go over an entire copy edit, comment for comment, and have it back by Monday or so. They need a new photo too. Oh, and the third round of Blue Moonlight edits is about to arrive and I have to go through that and get it back ASAP. I can't forget the virtual tour for "Love at First Sight" and my Twitter, FB, and other social networking obligations. And did I mention blogging twice a week?

What did I forget???

Probably several things, but I always seem to make time for my shrink, who has described my life, not as a poet/artist who spends his days creating in the studio and his nights making love to the women of his choice while the wine and food seems never ending. This ain't Picasso baby. It's more like, toss the Lean Cuisine into the microwave, down it with a cold beer, and then get into bed to read. Alone. In which case I'll be asleep before I get through two pages. But then I'll be up at three in the morning, heart pumping, pulse pounding, because I forgot to blurb the five books I've committed to. Oh, did I mention that? Blurbing books???

Hey, I'm not complaining. I'm living the life and loving it. I'm just trying to tell you guys, it ain't all roses, full bellies, boozed brains, and orgasms galore. It's a lot of hard work and sacrifice (Did I mention the relationship thing? Oh, yah, I did...).

I don't know, maybe I'll sleep in tomorrow. It's Saturday.

Crap, I have a deadline on Tuesday. And one on Friday, and two more in  between...

Think I'll stop writing this blog and go to the bar...Me and my vision of Picasso.




  1. I hd a guy propose to me one, on the assumption that, because my father was a writer, he must be rich. I have no idea what this guy was thinking, but I later beat his ass at fencing, so I guess we're square and hopefully he learned something.

  2. I've still got to do the office job 2 days a week. The people are nice, the pay essential; I don't know what I resent more, the time I lose or the flourescent lights.

    Your schedule sounds perfect to me. Apart, of course, from the Lean Cuisine. That junk's an office job in a box. Life's short. Eat pesto.

  3. Oh Man eat some real food and get a good bottle of red to wash it down with, no make that two. The message here is that a hangover can be a way to break up your cycles of work and guilt, if for no other reason than hangover quilt really does hurt

  4. I agree... get off the Lean cuisine and cook something (or at least con some poor woman into cooking for you) lol

    As for me, I do a lot of writing during the day while the hubby has a regular job. And then I make sure he has something hot to eat when he comes home. Plus I make sure he has some clothes to wear for work. And then, I make sure that I take my meds and go to my doctor's appointments. The only reason I have time to write is because my doctor had a long discussion with me about how working every day with people would kill me faster than if I stayed home.

    Who thinks a writer's life is glamorous? Not me.


  5. **"Anybody who writes a book is an optimist. First of all, they think they're going to finish it. Second, they think somebody's going to publish it. Third, they think somebody's going to read it. Fourth, they think somebody's going to like it. How optimistic is that?" (Margaret Atwood)
    At 68 I still write 40 hours plus a week: usually ten at night until six in the morning (FB and blogs are on my "free" time.)

  6. Sounds like heaven to me, Vincent. So far, all my deadlines are self-inflicted.

  7. I'm scared, but I still want the life. In fact, I'm living it. Just with less success, less financial reward, less wearing of boxers and even less success in relationships with women. Ha.

  8. I can take alone and I can take lean cuisine and utilitarian meals like a soldier on the field. Does it make me one step closer? I see your point though. The profession has been romanticized and most writers who live entirely from their craft work like dogs in complete isolation.

    I'm not looking to make the "I'm-special-we-understand-each-other" type of comment, but once again, this suits me. In fact, never before have I thought I could find a lifestyle that would suit my temper like this. Austere and yet free spirited.