Deep Breath

Keep Calm and Cozy OnI’m finding it tough to keep up with everything these days. Some things are terrible, like the terror attacks across the globe that are doing their job–making us all afraid. Some things are wonderful–finishing and submitting Clock and Dagger, the release of Just Killing Time, co-chairing the New England Crime Bake, StageSource nights, and the impending arrival of my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Combined with the rest of life, it is just a lot. Time for a deep breath, and for thinking about what I do. Am I adding to the chaos, or contributing to the peace? How can I tip my life from one to the other?

Being a cozy writer is a balancing act that has similar challenges. We all write murder mysteries. Chaos. But we write cozies, where order is restored, characters drive the story, and readers can take a vacation of sorts. As I plot book #3, I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and writing during this time in our shared history. So I’ve been taking a deep breath, and trying to add more balance to this book–more order, less chaos. More puzzle, less death. More solutions, less uncertainty. By the time I get to edits I may reconsider, but right now I am weary, and need a tonic. Going back to Orchard, and restoring order, is filling that need.

I wanted to share this video with all of you. As writers, empathy for our characters is also a required skill. Being empathetic is exhausting, but needed now more than ever.

Keep calm and cozy on my friends.

25 Thoughts

  1. I was just thinking about order out of chaos this morning, Julie – as I look around my chaotic office, my sacred writing space. Time to put some things in order at home here!

    You (and Liz) handle more than anybody I know, and do it with such grace and good cheer. I love the thought of adding more order to your book as a way of calming yourself. Have a warm and cozy Thanksgiving! (Also my fave holiday.)

  2. Dear Wicked Friends
    I’m feeling that too, with less on my plate than you have- – -chasing a deadline on Book 4 in the Witch City series, picking up a couple of granddaughters every day after school and keeping them entertained until parent(s) get home from work, and maintaining some sort of order at home. Yesterday I took part in the Great American Teach-in, talking about writing to one third grade and one fourth. In the third grade session, trying to explain what a cozy is, one of the kids said “Oh, you write Goosebumps for grown-ups.” Bingo! That’s exactly what I do! On to the fourth grade, where I mentioned that I’d once thought of writing a book for kids about a haunted school. Asked what they thought about it and within minutes they had a plot, red herrings, a ghost (Teddy Roosevelt) who likes baseball and they didn’t kill any teachers. A kid-cozy? I’m going to do a first chapter for them then go back and see what happens in their plot next. This was an exciting, busy day for me, and one that put things into such a lovely perspective. All I do is write Goosebumps for grown-ups and a few nine-year olds kids can outline a book in about six minutes. Piece of cake!

    1. I heard author Bob Mayer speak once and he thought plotting weekends were more helpful to authors than critique groups. This may just prove his point. Good luck with everything and keep us posted on those nine-year olds!

  3. Balancing is always challenging, we’re pulled in so many directions. We can only do what we can, the rest? Probably not really all that important. Love “cozy on”, definitely should be on a t-shirt. Have a great day!

  4. Balance. It’s important for writers and readers alike. I keep thinking I need to find it in my life again, but I’m not quite sure how to go about doing that.

  5. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and depressed when we look around at all the terrible things happening in the world. Right after some awful things were on the news, I sat next to a gentleman at a dinner my husband and I attended. When we discussed the recent events and my feelings of depression, he helped put things into perspective: “Think about all the wonderful people in this world who are doing good things.” That helped.

  6. I really liked what Grace Topping said about her conversation with the gentleman, I will keep reminding myself about the wonderful people in the world doing good things. The news is so negative and seems to like they don’t like good positive news. Thanks to all the authors that write the books that help me find a little peace in my life.

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