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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG - The Working Writer

Here we are into October already and it's time again for the The Insecure Writer's Support Group.

 



October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!
 
My idea of a working writer is a lot different than it used to be. I used to imagine the kind of life James Michener had. Not only was he wealthy thanks to his writing, he was wealthy enough to hire assistants (assistants!!!) to help him do research. He was wealthy enough to travel to the places he was writing about. And he was wealthy enough that writing was his only job. Lucky guy.
 
On the flip side, a lot of big name writers have to travel, make public appearances, and (gasp!) might actually be required to  speak at said event, a task I'd just as soon avoid.
 
Today, few working writers live that life and most supplement their income with a 'regular job.' Thinking of what my life would look like if I was a working writer (which I am, just not getting those nice royalty checks), I imagine having a part time regular job, not only for financial reasons but to get out of the damn house for a few days. Having spent as much time at home as I have these last six months, staying home isn't as attractive as I thought it would be. But. I sure would like to be able to travel to some of the places I have written about and the places I do want to write about.
 
Meanwhile, in other news, I've read four more books, aided in large part by a power outage and the fact that I was almost done with one, and two were short (under 300 pages).
 
Find Layla by Meg Ellison is about a girl who lives with her abusive mother and little brother in an apartment that should be condemned. It was a good story, and I liked Layla, the girl who's trying to hide her real life from everyone, including teachers, friends, and eventually the authorities.
 
Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergei Dyachenko is...hard to describe. The story centers on Sasha who is contacted by a strange man who demands she perform certain tasks. If she doesn't something bad will happen. The man says he will never ask her to do anything impossible. Eventually, the man demands she go to a particular school and the story gets more interesting. There, Sasha finds a very different and demanding type of learning environment and classes that do ask the impossible. Only it isn't impossible for Sasha and the other students because they're special, though not exactly the way you might think.
 
Anyway. I kept waiting for Sahsha to become whatever she was supposed to become and then do something with her changed self, you know, like save the world. I also felt like the authors had written an allegory for the changes adolescents go through (they dedicated the book to their daughter) rather than a story that was complete. Basically I thought it was super interesting but was let down a bit by the ending.
 
Every heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is an orphanage story and at first I thought the head of the place was evil and planning something horrible for her charges. Rest assured, this was not the case. Instead, Miss West cares very much for her charges, all of who have entered other worlds (think Narnia, except all the worlds aren't so nice) and are dying to get back. I really liked this book a lot and will probably read the next in the series.
 
My favorite out of the four was The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal. This story revolves four women: Lillian, who's old and showing alarming signs of it, her granddaughter Zoe who has come home to Devon to help and hopefully heal her daughter (Isabel) who has deleted all her media accounts and refuses to return to school. Lastly there's Zoe's mom (poppy) who left her in the care of her grandmother when she was seven and never came back.
 
Ordinarily I don't read much family drama, but this book took hold and pulled me in, making me want to know would happen next. Could Poppy and Zoe ever find their way to back to a relationship or did the hurt run too deep? What happened to Isabel that she can't tell anyone about? Is Lillian imagining the things she sees or are her suspicions valid? And why did Poppy leave and never come back until it was too late?
 
The Lost Girls moved me, and, as much as don't like to admit it, made me tear up a bit (okay. A lot), so I highly recommend it to anyone who likes stories about families healing. Plus the descriptions...Now I need to add Devon to the list of places I want to go...when I'm rich and famous.
 
What does the writer's life look like for you? Read any books? Seen Enola Holmes?
 
 
 

33 comments:

  1. If I had to stay at home and write I'd be in trouble. Too slow and I wouldn't want the pressure.

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    1. The pressure I can take (sometimes I actually work better under pressure), but staying at home ALL THE TIME - no.

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  2. I wouldn't want the pressure of having to write all the time or traveling for book appearances. Thanks for all the book recommendations too. Glad you're reading a lot. Me too.

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    1. Yeah, traveling for book appearances doesn't sound like fun, unless you're going to Hawaii or London or Greece, lol.

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  3. Love the header photo!!!
    I'm not big on traveling and speaking to crowds either! I like sitting in my little corner of the world making up my stories!!

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    1. I agree, As for the header photo, that is courtesy of my son the birder :)

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  4. Years and years ago, my friend and I used to joke that when I became a rich & famous writer, I would hire her as my assistant & we'd have so much fun, just traveling the globe and talking about stories. Now I don't think I'd enjoy being rich & famous, having an assistant, or traveling the globe. But the talking about stories part would probably be okay.

    Power outages are good for something, aren't they?

    I haven't read anything, really, but I watched Enola Holmes over the weekend. It was a lot of fun.

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    1. I liked Enola, too. And yes, talking about stories would be okay, the rest...not so much.

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  5. To me, a "working writer" means someone who must write in their spare time after working at a job to make a living. That must be hard on the creative process and on having any time left over for family/friends. I haven't seen "Enola Holmes" yet but plan to soon!

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    1. Working full time and trying to write and make time for friends and family is very difficult. I always feel pulled in all directions. Enola is lots of fun :)

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  6. I like books where you think one thing (horrible) and it turns out to be something else (amazing). I just read/saw a story like that, too, and now I can't remember what it was. . .

    There is something about having a job that gets you out of the house. I remember that every summer when subbing work gets scarce.

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    1. Yeah, I can always find stuff to do (books, art, tv, write, clean if I must)but there's something to be said for a nice dinner out with a friend or a movie at the theater or just going shopping. Ah, the good old days.

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  7. The blogosphere has educated me about the 'other' work that authors are faced with. And just the thought of the marketing fills me with horror. They strike me as such different skill sets...

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    1. Very different skill sets. I'd be fine talking to a couple of people, maybe a small group but a whole crowd? That doesn't sound fun at all!

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  8. I think Michener would HAVE to have assists, considering the length of the books he wrote!Thanks for the book reviews. Good to look up the Lost Girls of Devon. Right up my alley!

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    1. Yes, he did write some fat ones. I think you'll like The Lost Girls of Devon :)

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  9. I'm happy to have time to write. I work two part-time jobs and I write, but I think each experiences highlights the others. (I have to look at it that way.)
    I would love to have assistants. :)
    I have been writing little bits while prepping for a book launch. And my reading has been off the charts because I was sick for a few weeks (not CoVID).
    Thanks for the reviews!
    I've been reading fairy tale retellings like Reversed Retellings, and superhero short stories in an anthology called Masked. Just fun reading.

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    1. I love fairy tale retellings. The Lunar Chronicles come to mind, which I loved. I'm happy to have time to write just sometimes the words aren't there. Glad you're getting stuff done!

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  10. I would love to travel for book appearances! I would even wear a billboard of my book cover if it was bizarrely necessary! (Theoretical Future Publishers: this is a joke! Haha!)

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    1. The travel might not be horrible (hotels are fun) but the appearances...

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  11. I write a lot professionally, but don't see myself as a working writer. It would be nice to travel to promote books and to drink top shelf bourbon.

    my new blog: www.fromarockyhillside.com

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    1. I don't think I've ever had bourbon so I wouldn't know top shelf from bottom, lol.

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  12. Enola Holmes was fantastic in my opinion. It made me want to go live in an abandoned old castle and play tricks on my kids :) I am now questioning the methods we use to prepare children for life these days.

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    1. I agree! I would've loved to have that education! Waldorf schools are much more hands on in that fashion. I wish I could have gone to one!

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  13. I have a fantasy that, some day, I'll have made just enough from writing to live in a shack on the beach somewhere, or in the mountains. :) Either way, money comes in with my ongoing works to keep me and any pets well fed. Of course I have been reticent to seek publishing, so the whole scenario is seriously flawed. Heh...Happy Writing!

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    1. Ah, the beach. I'd love to have a shack on the beach.

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  14. Barbara O'Neal is excellent at family stories. I'd love to travel and to be so well read that I went to tons of cons each year (well, during non-pandemic times), but for now I'm happy writing.

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    1. I'd like to go to conference, just not be on a panel or on stage speaking. Definitely rather be writing!

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  15. I'd like to watch Enola, as Henrylicious and Sam Claflin are my absolute faves, but I cannot stand that talentless little lass, so it is a pass for me, sadly :(

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    1. I thought she was wonderful and the film was very fun overall, lighthearted, though we never did find out where her mother went...

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  16. First off, I love your son's header pic. Is he thinking about pursuing photography as a career?

    It's been a long time since I've worked on my half-finished manuscript, so I reckon I'm a non-working writer these days. Not much of a reader, either. I used to read 3-5 books a week. Not any more. Since Mike died, I can't seem to focus. But I'm getting there.

    Take care.

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  17. Power outages have a way to get one to read more!

    Ronel visiting on IWSG day Revamp Your Backlist

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  18. Yes I watched Enola Holmes! Loved it. I totally understand the part you mentioned about being obligated to do personal appearances and talks, etc... I'm nowhere near famous, and definitely not swimming in the dough, but I had a span of two years after my first two books published where I did lots of author panels and events; even at NCTE, which was a huge deal - way bigger than I understood when I agreed to be part of a panel - and super, super intimidating. There really was real famous authors there; totally crazy. I love to write, but would rather keep all that other stuff to a minimum. :)

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