Jessie: In New Hampshire where the recent storms have left a tangle of bare branches everywhere the gaze lands.
Today is the release day for my fifth Beryl and Edwina mystery, Murder in an English Glade and I must admit, such days always leave me feeling reflective. While, theoretically, a new release should be about the future, in fact it always makes me look back at the path that has led to publication day.
As I peer into the rearview mirror at my writing life so far there are five things, in no particular order, that I have learned since my first book released in 2010.
- Buy the good stationary supplies. I know I have mentioned it on the blog before, but I never tire of praising the virtues of beautifully crafted fountain pens, luscious bottled inks and thick, creamy paper. Goulet Pens and JetPens are two of my favorite places to procure such things if you want to give them a try for yourself. Even those who feel their handwriting is less than lovely will probably be pleased with how much nicer tools than a ballpoint pen and a sheet of copier paper will improve things!
- Time management is pain management. Some sort of high level planning makes life richer and much more fun. It may not sound glamorous, but since I plan my free time first and slate in work around it I end up feeling inspired by my calendar rather than subjected to its tyranny. I love using a personal kanban system along with a quarterly goal planner and a Google calendar.
- Inspiration is found in the most unlikely of places so say yes to things that are unfamiliar, possibly boring or simply interesting. I have ended up visiting Spiritualist enclaves, a maple syrup meadery, art galleries and even a pirate museum to fill my well and conduct research. Walks with my dog, books at my library and snatches of conversation overheard at the grocer have all contributed to the books I have written over the years.
- I love sharing my life with a dog. I ended up with one, quite unexpectedly, three years ago and it has proven to be one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had in years. I have raging allergies that run the gamut from foods to plants to animals and dogs happen to be on that list. But, Sam, the poodle, is from a breed that doesn’t make me ill. In our time together I have learned so much about the value of nonverbal companionship, loyalty and exciting games of tug. He faithfully keeps me company tucked up in his dog sofa beneath my desk and gently reminds me to stretch my legs by taking a walk a few times each day. What an unexpected joy!
- Writing really is about the journey, not the destination. I adore my job. Well, not during copy edits, or if there is a technology snafu that incinerates most of a manuscript, but all of the rest of the time. I love imagining circumstances, people, relationships and growth. Traveling to other places and back into the past is a constant source of delight. Researching bits of trivia like the number of times per day the post was delivered during WWII or the starter mechanism for a 1920s motorcar makes my heart sing. I delight in spending time with other writers and sharing experinces. But most of all, I am grateful for the chance to connect with readers like all of you. Thanks for making this life I love a possibility!
Readers: What word of advice or encouragement have you picked up over the years? Three lucky commenters will be sent a hardcover copy of Murder in an English Glade!