Who the H*** is Jacqui Murray and Why’s She in my Inbox?
If you became a writer—what E. L. Doctorow calls ‘a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia’—late in life, we are kindred spirits.
In fact, most of my life, I spent not writing. Not because I didn’t want to but because the world was too darn busy. I graduated from college with a BA, then got another, then an MBA, followed by a high-flying job and a husband. We bought a house in Southern California, and a car, and another car, followed by two rollicking kids, two rambunctious dogs and a devious cat. I had to keep that corporate job to pay all those bills.
Sound familiar? When the kids finally grew up, I dumped the job, kept the husband and dogs and took up writing. Why? Because—and I’ll paraphrase Toni Morrison—there were books out there that needed to be written. The task fell to me. You understand—because we’re kindred spirits.
What flowed first from my keyboard was non-fiction. I started as editor of a tech book series for kids, then wrote two of my own, as well as a how-to book for college-bound high schoolers. That cracked the shell of my creativity and the fiction started. First, I wrote historic fiction out of a need to understand what made us what we are. Then, I moved to thrillers, both military and political, still trying to understand the world but through the people with a bias for action.
But novels take a year to write. Or more. A long time to wait for the good feeling that comes with completing a project, so I spiced things up by writing columns for blogs, then added five of my own. Now, I get a weekly sense of accomplishment by finishing ten to twenty 400-word postings while I slog through the next five chapters of my novel.
Along the way, I’ve committed every error possible as it applies to writing. Here, on Write Anything, I’m going to share them with you. I’ll definitely chat about how to write, the secrets of thrillers, the joy of writing a blog, but for those of you who want—or need—to pay a few bills with your writing, I’ll share my experiences on publishing, ebooks, marketing your work and that sort of topic. I’ve learned it the hard way (as Jack Reacher says). Maybe I can save you a few bumps and bruises.
Well, I might as well tell you a secret I don’t share with many people since we’re opening up to each other. Umm. I’m a geek at heart. Sigh. I organize my novels on an Excel spreadsheet before transferring them to Word. Find-and-replace is second nature. There. It’s out. You might even know my alter ego, Ask a Tech Teacher. Every week, I answer reader questions about tech in their lives. On Write Anything, I’ll share tech tips for writers that go beyond plot and character, things like how to use social media, how to succeed at blogging, how to promote the business end of your writing obsession without going broke. This stuff, I know. And now you will, too.
So, where would you like me to begin? Post a comment. Let me know.