Today I’m delighted to welcome Sunny Frazier as my first guest blogger. Sunny and I have been getting acquainted on the CrimeSpace site, and she answered my open invitation by sending me the post below. I liked it immediately, and I also liked the way we bypassed the round of e-mails discussing what I might want her to blog about. I’ve read an excerpt from her mystery on her website, www.sunnyfrazier.com, and I was instantly intrigued.
I’ll be featuring guest bloggers on Fridays. In next Monday’s post, I’ll discuss what I’m looking for and how you too can become a guest on Musings Mysterioso.
Sunny Frazier has been publishing both fiction and nonfiction since 1972. She is a Navy veteran, earned a BA in Journalism, and wrote for a newspaper before joining the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department. During her 17 year career in law enforcement, she spent 11 years working with an undercover narcotics team.
Frazier is also an amateur astrologer. She has been involved in astrology for 35 years. Her short mystery fiction has won over 30 awards and trophies, as well as publication in mystery magazines and law enforcement magazines. Her first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, FOOLS RUSH IN, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association. WHERE ANGELS FEAR came out in April, 2009. Frazier is a member of the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime, as well as the Public Safety Writers Association. She currently resides in Lemoore, CA.
Sunny is offering free horoscopes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
AM I A WRITER?
By Sunny Frazier
Last week at my writing group, one of the aspiring authors had a bit of a breakdown. She suffered from what all writers eventually go through. Her faith in her abilities was shaken, the struggle to get her story on paper seemed overwhelming, and the awful question loomed: Am I really a writer?
This rite of passage is crucial. Writing a book initially seems like fun. The potential novelist thinks, “Oh, I have stories to tell, I have a great imagination, I got an ‘A’ in English class in high school/college. My mother and friends say my emails are quippy, they delight in my ability to tell a good story. I’m a natural.”The reality is the plain white sheet of paper waiting for words. The cursor on the computer becomes a throbbing curse. Minutes tick by as phrases refuse to come. The story percolating in the brain falls short in print.
Wanting to be a writer and being a writer are two distinctively different animals. The wannabe sees the fun, the fulfillment, the praise, the bucks. They have passion and a story to tell and probably some talent.
Real writers expect to get saddle sores from sitting in front of the computer. Their eyes go bad from staring at the screen. Coffee, a shot of brandy and dark chocolate will only keep them functioning for so long. The only exercise they get is in their fingers—if they don’t get carpal tunnel first. They crave distractions, any reason to leave the ball and chain of the chair. They don’t want to talk to anyone who can’t empathize with their suffering.
And that, folks, is the crux of the problem. Does the world care if there is one more writer or one more book on the shelf? Not really. Is writing worth sacrificing the real people in our lives in favor of the fictional people we create? Are the rewards worth the effort? Am I really up to the task?
Writing is a choice. Nobody is standing behind us with a gun to our heads telling us to publish or perish. Writing is more than just imagination and plot. Good writing includes craft, strong word choices, constant editing, the illusive element called “voice,” and a thick skin. Writing is a gamble. Even the best novels often don’t see publication. Writing is about going the distance, not running a sprint. Writing is not graded, except by sales. Writing demands sacrifices, and each aspiring novelist has to ask, “What am I willing to give up to reach my goal?”
My writing group gave the aspiring author empathy and a tissue to wipe away tears and years of frustration. Her life is full of overwhelming obstacles, yet I know she’ll show up next Friday night ready for more criticism. Last week she had a breakdown–next week, perhaps a breakthrough.