So if you didn’t know, I’m an officer on the national board for Sisters in Crime, an organization for lovers of crime fiction: mystery writers, readers, and everyone in between. I’m the Library Liaison, which means I help writers get hooked up with librarians and vice versa, to the mutual benefit of all involved. This is a good role for me because I’m a librarian and a writer, so I know what it’s like from both sides. (Even when sometimes those two identities have a hard time coexisting!)
Fellow librarian/writer/board member Barbara Fister and I created this September Blog Hop. Okay, Barbara created it, and I’m just along for the ride. But this is a good idea, so I’m here to add my two cents. All this month, SinCers are posting their answers to prompts and tagging others to do the same. I choose the following questions… (dun dun dun)
What’s the best part of the writing process for you, and what’s the most challenging?
I often ask myself why I write. Sometimes I get so caught up in the drama and angst of it that I can’t even answer that question. I say to myself, I could be reading right now instead of beating myself over the head. I think about my friends who don’t have the writing bug and get jealous. I start to wonder if the grass is greener.
I started writing because in third grade, a teacher handed me a pen and a Garfield notebook and told me to. Until that blank page stared up at me from the desk, I’d never entertained the idea. But this was part of our classwork, and like a good student, I followed the rules. Then I realized I didn’t want to follow the rules: I wanted to make up my own stories, for sport. My first story was called Trapped in a Video Game, and it followed the exploits of a main character whose name I cannot recall, but was, indeed, Trapped in a Video Game – Super Mario Brothers, to be exact. Also, she had a crush on Wesley Crusher.
I keep writing for the thrill of it. I like to see text unfurl on the screen, a scarf unraveled. I like to inhabit the mind of a character, figure her out, find out why she ticks. I wait for the aha moments and the quiet revelations that appear on the page. I turn my computer off and write longhand so I can concentrate, block out the noise in my mind and go to someplace that is entirely my own.
The hardest part of writing for me is dealing with the psychological burden that comes with it. I am only one tiny voice in a chorus of millions. Why would anyone want to read my work? Why would anyone care? Lately, however, I’ve been ignoring those questions, the little internal cry of Why bother? I’ve been sending out my work and letting others read it. Sisters in Crime has helped give me the courage I need for this. For years I’ve questioned my own self-worth in a number of areas, but I’m too old for that now. I know I’m good at what I do, and it’s time to start showing myself off before I die.
What books are on your nightstand right now?
I’m a librarian and a book podcaster, so I have to answer this one. Next in my queue is The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. Alas, I’m mystery/thrillered out, having finished several good ones within the last few weeks. So, Harkness it is. That is the last book in the fantasy series about a vampire and a witch who fall in love. I also have the advanced copy of Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult waiting for me. When I do eventually get back to thrillers, I’m looking forward to Ice Shear by M.P. Cooley and The Secret Place by Tana French.