By Guest Blogger Victoria Thompson
Victoria Thompson is the Edgar-nominated bestselling author of 20 historical romances and the popular Gaslight Mystery Series. Her latest hardcover novel, Murder in Chinatown, was published in June 2007. She will present her popular writing workshop, "Clues and Red Herrings: Plotting the Modern Mystery," on Saturday, October 20, 2007 in Pittsburgh, an event sponsored by the Mary Roberts Rinehart Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Cost is $65 and includes a buffet lunch. Deadline to sign up is October 1. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for registration form and more information. To learn more about Victoria, visit her website at www.victoriathompson.com.
When I first got published, the question I heard most from people who were non-writers was, “Where do you get your ideas?” Like most writers, I found this question frustrating to answer. As we all know, ideas just come! You can’t stop them, even if you want to! But after a few years, I began to understand that the ideas only come to a select few of us. Most people don’t see a story idea every time they pick up the newspaper or have a dream or chat with their neighbor for a few minutes over coffee. Most people don’t hear fictional characters having conversations inside their heads. Most people are normal! So now when people ask that question, I explain that writers are born with a defective gene, and we get ideas from everywhere. We can’t help it. This seems to satisfy the normal people of the world—writers are just different.
Nowadays, however, I get an entirely different question. A little over a decade ago, when my writing career died an ignominious death, I had to get a day job, and eleven years later, I’m still working fulltime. I was lucky enough to get another writing gig a couple years later and have published regularly ever since, but my writing income has never again reached the halcyon days when Romance Was Queen and one could actually live on it. So I’ve kept my day job. And now when people find out I’m a published writer, the question they ask is, “How do you find time?” This one is even harder to answer than the question about where ideas come from. The ideas just come, but the time sure doesn’t. It just flies. Away.
So my answer to this question of how do I find time is simply that we find the time to do what we want to do. And if we don’t find time to do what we want to do, we shrivel up and die. Maybe not literally die, but die inside. Our dreams dry up, our tomorrows become just blank pages on the calendar, and life simply isn’t worth the living anymore. I can’t face blank pages on my life’s calendar. I can’t imagine life without writing. I can’t stop the voices in my head. I can’t stop writing, so I make the time, I find the time, I cheat and steal the time. I have time to write because that’s what I want to do most in the world.
How about you? Do you have time to write?