I am a writing fiend; I write everything. Journals. Journalism. Poetry. Book reviews. Masters Thesis. Blog. Short stories. Novels. Even a movie treatment for HBO. The fascinating history of all this is in my creative writing memoir (disguised as a textbook) for my college freshman creative writing students. I tell my writing story, with examples, and give homework exercises to get the creative juices flowing.
One bored summer, feeling sorry for myself because I was teaching not writing, I took my thick folder of class notes and turned it into my first book. YOUR WORDS, YOUR STORY sold out as a print edition. It continues to sell as an e-book second edition on Amazon.
I also have nine works of published fiction in several genres. Currently I’m working on a psychological thriller set in Detroit–another new form for me. Several of my novels have been published by The Wild Rose Press, including a series with a new novel, LOVE AND DEATH IN BLUE LAKE, coming out very soon. Like in a month.
I also have an indie fantasy series, totally unlike the mainstream contemporary fiction my publisher contracts. I wrote the first indie just as I was offered a contract for another book from TWRP. So I continue to do both. And other things. Like my blog. I’m on #MondayBlogs at Twitter (@CynthiaHarriso1) unless desperately hung over. Kidding. I don’t drink that much anymore. I like my Chardonnay, just a glass or two on the weekend and maybe a martini on special occassions. Blue cheese olives please.
I actually do have just one glass of wine on many occasions and that has convinced me I am not your stereotypical heavy drinking old-school writer type. Now if I could just get off the pain pills. Kidding!
Because I must. No other reason, as Rilke told the young poet. Write only if you absolutely have to do it. For me, my head fills up with words, characters, and plots. They start to get louder, they want to explode, so I write them down finally just to shut them up. But they come baaaack. Ha.
Really I wouldn’t recommend writing unless you love it, love it, love it. It’s too hard and it takes all your time. But if you love it, it will be fun and the difficult becomes an intriguing challenge and the purest joy in my life. Well, maybe except for my grandbabies. I am a big fan of these two new people on the planet.
I make it up. Most of it. Except for “My Memoirs” on the blog. And of course the first book, which also has some of my short fiction and poetry in it, so even there, it’s not all true. I like to say that none of it happened, but the emotions are mine. Yes, so that gets tricky when murder enters the scene, as has happened in the about-to-arrive novel.
How did that happen?
As a young woman I was sexually assaulted by several different men. So that murder in the upcoming release was kind of a revenge fantasy. I hope I cannot be jailed for saying that. Of course it’s on the blog, so there is that. Just go to www.cynthiaharrison.com and type “sex” in the search box.
As an aside, although my last release from The Wild Rose Press, LUKE’S #1 RULE, features a shirtless man on the cover, it is not a romance. I do write about love between adults, so there’s some sexual content, but we’re not talking FIFTY SHADES.
Another how is finding time, right? I recently retired from a very flexible teaching job, and I write every day, sometimes two or three times a day. As you might guess, I’ve been writing all my life and it’s been a fairly long one. So far. I plan to live a lot longer. I have a few more books to write.
I’ve never had writers’ block but there’s a series on the blog in the Media Page drop down menu “For Writers” section about it. I’ve been told it’s helpful to get to the “how” of writing instead of languishing on the sofa with a martini and suffering the dreaded writer’s block. I have my martini after the days’ writing is done.
If I feel sort of flat, not like writing that day, don’t know how to get on with the story, or which one to tell next, I remind myself of Nora Roberts’ words: “You can’t fix a blank page.” I also tell myself nobody has to see it but me. And nobody does see the personal journals except me. That’s why they’re personal. In fact, they are so personal I throw them away periodically. I do not want my children to read them when I’m gone. Not that they read my work. They do read my emails, sometimes. Well, they scan them.