On Writing ‘n Stuff

Not my desk, or my photo.

Not my desk, or my photo. (Nancy L. Stockdale, Flickr Creative Commons)

You may recall that my cat was diagnosed with gallstones. I spent a month fearing that without surgical intervention my cat would get sick again as soon as she went off her meds. I didn’t know what to do. Then, one night, as I sat on my couch editing a book for a freelance project, I came up with an idea. I needed to write a book, get an advance, and use it to pay for the cat’s surgery.

I know that sounds like a bad plan, and it would be except that I work for a publishing company with a book wing — and the publisher had been trying to get me to write a book for years. We just hadn’t been able to come up with a subject that interested us both. But I’d recently been toying with an idea that I thought would work. So I quickly shot off an email and asked if it would be of interest.

It was. 

Then I took the cat to the surgeon for a consult and something equally as wonderful happened. The vet told me he thought the gallstones were not necessarily what was causing the cat’s issues, and that if I was able to wait a month to come see him it wasn’t likely that the underlying cause of her stones (or the larger illness) was serious. He did some blood work, which looked fine, and said he could not recommend surgery at that time.

So I pitched a book — mostly to save my cat who *knock wood* doesn’t need saving — and now I actually have to deliver, which is awesome and a bit terrifying. So I turned to Stephen King and the copy of On Writing I bought at the library book sale.

I’ve never been one to read advice about writing. Elements of Style is important, but more often than not people don’t know what they’re talking about. I prefer to read writing I enjoy, and then find ways to emulate it. But this book is different. Not only is it part memoir, but it’s down to earth advice that anyone can use. More importantly, it’s engaging. It’s not east to make a book about writing advice interesting, but King did it — which means it’s worth taking his advice.

Now it’s time to stop procrastinating and get down to work. King says I need to set a goal and close the door — literally. So if you’re wondering where I am between now and February, check my office.

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