Sunday, July 31, 2016

Life Gets in the Way of Writing

Author, Evelyn Cullet

Because of a comment Patricia made on Marja’s Mystery Blog about how life gets in the way of writing, and I agreed with her, she invited me to be a guest blogger and to write about the subject.  

There are so many things in life that can get in the way of writing. The Internet for one. By the time I’ve answered my emails, searched for a few new recipes, and visited all the websites I’m a member of, hours of writing time have passed and I’m usually late making lunch or dinner, occasionally even breakfast.

Every morning I wake up determined to get some writing done that day, but my husband has his own agenda, (He’s retired, too.) which always supersedes mine, because as he puts it, “You can write anytime.” Oh sure I can, but not when he stays on the computer for hours searching for... whatever he searches for, not really sure what that is most of the time. Or he comes into the room after I’ve been on the computer for what I think has only been a few minutes, but in reality has actually been a couple of hours, and says, “Why don’t you take a break?” just as I’m in the middle of a great idea for the climax of my novel. And then he’ll sit down and talk to me about something he considers interesting, but I couldn’t care less about. I lose my train of thought, and that’s that.

Mostly, I’m my own worst enemy, because I’m not disciplined enough to set the time aside. There are all kinds of things that need to be taken care of before I can sit down to write. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Men don’t have this problem. They write whenever they want, but when I do, I feel guilty if there are dishes in the sink or the floor needs to be washed or the laundry isn’t done.

Recently, we had our telephone number hijacked. It sounds like an odd thing to happen, but there are criminals who hijack phone numbers and sell them to companies that make burner cells. At least that’s what the fraud department at my phone company told me. To make a long story short, I spent 28 hours over a period of two weeks on my cell in contact with my phone company rep. trying to get my landline number back.  (Did I mention that my husband is a hard of hearing, so I always have to make these types of calls.) I finally did get it back, but it was a huge time waster. More writing time lost. And don’t think that hadn’t crossed my mind as I was on hold for most of that time.

And then there are a lot of minor things. Appliance break downs, the garden needs tending, the dog needs to be walked, doctors appointments, dentist appointments, grocery shopping... the list goes on. I feel like I’m racing the clock every day. It’s funny how time passes more quickly as you get older. It seems like you’ve just eaten breakfast when it’s time to make lunch, and after the lunch things have been cleared up, it’s nearly time to make dinner.

I don’t watch much television. Some days I don’t watch it at all, unless there’s a good, old mystery movie on, or a program like Bones or reruns of Castle where I might learn something new, or get a story idea. And even then, I feel guilty because I should have been writing.

When the telephone rings, I cringe and hope it’s not someone who wants to talk for the next hour, when all I want to do is write. Which reminds me of a blog post I once read about writers. It stated that we’re busy but flexible, sociable but focused. We find it difficult to be there for needy people, as our timetables don’t allow for it. But on the flip side, when you don’t call us for three weeks, that’s okay. In fact, we probably appreciate it, especially when we’ve got deadlines to meet.

I couldn’t agree more.

Thanks for letting me vent, Pat. This may start a new trend: A weekly blog about how life gets in the way of writing. Just joking, but oh, the commiseration!

I’m currently working on my next mystery, The Tarkington Treasure, the final novel in the Charlotte Ross Mystery Series. Charlotte’s ex-fiancĂ© is back in town, and it appears they may finally get back together, except for one small problem—he’s wanted for murder.

Here’s a short excerpt from the first chapter of, The Tarkington Treasure. (Coming this fall)

She picked up the flowers she’d left on the table and began arranging the colorful, assorted blooms. But footsteps in the kitchen made her stop dead still to listen.
With her heart pounding, she hesitated a moment before she slammed the door open and looked around. No one was there. 
Outside, the sky had darkened, and the rain fell in torrents. Whipped by the wind, it beat hard against the windows as the warmth drained out of her. Shivering, she abandoned the flowers and went to the library. As she crouched on the hearth to build a fire, the suspicion grew that someone, who wasn’t her cousin, was in the house with her.
Charlotte reproached herself. It’s only the wind and the rain playing tricks on my imagination. But second thoughts had her reaching for her cell phone. She searched her pockets before she remembered it was on the dining room table. Darting for the door, she froze at the threshold. What if...?
No matter how she tried, she couldn’t bring herself to leave that room. So she closed the door and went back to the fire, which somehow failed to warm her. Grabbing a fireplace poker, she scrunched deep into the leather wing chair while keeping her gaze glued to the door, in case someone tried to open it from the other side.
The wind blew harder, whistling a sinister tune through the hollow eaves, as the rain swept down in sheets against the old house. Sitting there, gripped by a paralysis of fear, she waited.

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About the Author

Evelyn Cullet has been an author since high school when she wrote short stories. She began her first novel while attending college later in life and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Now, with early retirement, she can finally write full time. As a life-long mystery buff, she was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society, and is a current member of the National Chapter of Sisters In Crime. She writes mysteries with warm romance and a little humor. When she’s not writing mysteries, reading them or reviewing them, she hosts other authors and their work on her writer’s blog. She also plays the piano, is an amateur lapidary, and an organic gardener.