Happy mid-week everyone! I admit to some difficulties finding my positive work attitude this week, but I’m blaming that on a long and happy weekend. Those always make it just a little more difficult to refocus. Luckily with my schedule I have Friday off so technically this is almost Friday a day early – winning! (smile)
I spent a portion of my long weekend reading the new Diana Gabaldon book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. I won’t give anything away, but so far so great (smile)! I was actually lucky enough to meet Mrs Gabaldon a few weeks ago at an author discussion/book signing. I’ve been a big fan of her Outlander series since well before I was old enough to start reading such book (oops!). [The books themselves have inspired me in so many ways they deserve their own post.] I’ve seen Gabaldon at book signings here and there while diligently working on completing a signed set of books (about halfway there – yay!). Fortunately for me she actually lives here in the Phoenix area so it’s somewhat easier to see her at events. Or at least it’s pretty much a guaranteed stop on her book tours (smile).
What made this particular experience so different was hearing her actually talk – about her life, her writing process, and a few other random topics thrown in for good fun. I’ve heard her read and I’ve seen her sign, but this was the first time I’ve just heard her speak. I always find it quite remarkable to find someone who can speak as well as they can write. The jealous part of me feels it’s somewhat unfair (grin), but the more sensible bit is simply inspired. Gabaldon possesses the same sharp sense of humor in her oral delivery as her written efforts, which I think is part of why her stories seem so realistic. A really great book requires the personality to compel the reader forward, and I feel like she does one of the best jobs of any contemporary author.
I don’t admit this very often ever, but when I was younger I wanted to be a writer. Perhaps a small part of me still does. But I feel like I’ve lost the creative drive necessary for such ventures somewhere along the way. I normally blame it on law school, but clearly there are plenty of writers who went to law school or into science (such as Gabaldon) that are best-selling authors. So I’ve stopped using that excuse in favor of the current truth – I just don’t know where to start or if I really want to right now.
Writing is a task that requires a certain level of commitment, just like any other endeavor. Listening to Gabaldon’s story of how she began writing her first novel and the time commitment she was willing to submit to in light of her everyday life was a bit daunting. It’s inspiring to know that it can be done (obviously), but also somewhat discouraging, as I have to admit I’m not sure I have that drive at this point in my life. Maybe when I’m in a different place in life I’ll try it out. For now I have my other outlets that keep me thoroughly entertained (such as this blog) and are slowly but surely bringing that dusty, moth-ball-smelling creativity cloak to the front of the closet once more. Small steps…
I will say that the most inspiring part of the discussion was hearing about Gabaldon’s writing process. I’ve read so many interviews with series authors where they say that the story came to them as a whole, waiting to be properly divided and dispersed into the world. Gabaldon’s not like that – she writes in pieces and parts then stitches them all together as they match up. A bit like life, the story is written as it comes then it somehow all aligns to make something amazing. I like that concept. I never rarely write anything in any sort of order. Even if I have an outline, I start with the fun parts first as a warm up, then find that the rest finds its way out on its own. There’s much less anxiety in this method vs. forcing the issue up front. If I did that then my writing style would be even stiffer and I’m desperately trying to loosen things up a bit so everyone can have more fun (smile). It’s just really nice to know that everyone has their own writing style, and I’m not alone in my organized chaos (big smile)!
If you’ve never heard of the Outlander series, I highly recommend checking it out. I call it “historical fiction,” but it really doesn’t fit any particular genre (which makes it that much more awesome – smile). Starz is turning the books into a series (a la Game of Thrones). I have mixed feelings on watching this (because let’s face it, the characters never quite match up with the mental image), but I’ve little doubt I’ll cave at some point. I’ll need a replacement for Tru Blood (smile).
Have you ever met/heard a favorite author speak??