Tag: Killer Nashville (page 1 of 5)

Even Bestselling Authors Are Uniquely Average

Janet Evanovich talks about how she became a romantic suspense writer.

Killer Nashville has come and gone, and I’m still flying high from the interaction with so many authors and friends (and two requests for a full manuscript for a new series that I’ve been concepting). I was blessed to see some people whom I haven’t seen since the SEMWA Outer Banks Retreat in April, and even more people that I haven’t seen since Killer Nashville last year. And learn. Holy cow did I learn! It’s hard to even know where to start, and since I’ve waiting so long since the end of the conference to even tell you about it, let’s just hit the highest point I can think of. Motivation.

Until I started really trying to attend more writer’s conferences a few years ago, I never would have believed how much motivation you can walk away from a conference with. Killer Nashville is the premier mystery writer’s conference, which is good for me. It means I get to hobnob with people who fully understand that daydreaming about ways to murder people doesn’t mean that I’m a homicidal maniac. I’m just a writer with a story to tell.

One of the coolest things that I’ve discovered about conference in general is the whole theory that I subscribe to, anyway. We’re all just average writers who are unique in our own way. We all struggle with our own demons and the things that life throws at us. We all spend equal amounts of time wondering if we’re failures and entranced by how brilliant we are. And we all – well, most of us – struggle to carve out the time the time to write around jobs and families and daily life. But we’re all pretty unique, too.

One of the guest speakers this year was Janet Evanovich. I didn’t have the luxury to meet her in person, but I did get to sit right up front at the lunch event where she was the featured speaker. Now, there’s an average writer who did something truly unique. Janet started as a romance writer, but she told the audience how she realized that roman has a limited future, and she wanted to write something different. So she did. And it wasn’t necessarily met with open arms.

She persisted and eventually her books – a romantic suspense mixture that gets super intense – took off.  Some might even consider her a pioneer in romantic suspense.

Even better than taking off, her first book in this new style, One for the Money, was optioned for a movie with a nice advance. She took that money, turned it inward and has since built a family business out of her writing. How cool is that?  She did her thing and it worked out for her. Janet is a unique person, and a unique writer. As we all are.

If i took nothing else away from this Killer Nashville, it would be that unique and average are terms that apply to all writers. Even the household names like Janet Evanovich, Robert Randisi, Kevin O’Brien, and Anne Perry (who is British and has an amazing accent, by the way) are all just average writers. They share the same struggles, fears, and challenges that we do.  But they’re also all unique from their working styles, to their writing voice, to their books and characters. What works for them might not work for you or me, but that’s okay, because we’re unique and average in our own right, and that works for us.

It’s a Problem of Focus

Accomplishing anything is a matter of focusing on work.

I have to admit, I’m having a terrible time trying to focus right now. I’ve had this whole day to focus on writing projects that matter to me.  And I have several of them going right now. What have I managed to get done? Not a single thing. I’m in complete distraction mode.

It started first thing this morning when I was trying to finish up a few preparations for the Killer Nashville conference that’s coming up. Yes, it’s that time again. Killer Nashville starts on August 18th. Just about 10 days from now. So, I needed to work out the schedule and fill out volunteer forms. I also spent some time on the phone with my sister, who is going with me this year, discussing what sessions we’re attending that are the same and which are different.

By the time I finished all that, I was well past lunchtime, so I thought: Self, do something productive and work on some blog posts. What a great idea! I pulled out the binder where I’ve been collecting blog post ideas, and start researching. One – count it – ONE rabbit hole later, I’m just starting to write the post, and it’s not even about what I’ve been researching all afternoon.  I spent hours in research that’s completely unrelated to any project that I am actively working on. Did I mention that it’s early evening? Yeah. Distracticated.

The good news is that I now have a fantastic idea for another little nonfiction book that I can put together which I hope will help other writers. It won’t take me long to write it, but I already have a huge list of working projects, so I’m putting it on the backburner for the moment. It’s something that I can pick up in a week or two, after Killer Nashville has passed and I’m in full-on, post-conference jazzed-mode. I know from experience the weeks after the conference will be full of productivity.  I always finish the conference excited to get back to work on a project or start a new project. It’s just the focus that I need for the remainder of the year.

Until then, looks like I’ll be working tonight on a few things. But help a girl out, what distracts you when you’re supposed to be writing? And how do you overcome those distractions? Share your comments below. I’d really love to hear your suggestions.

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