Writing feels like driving on a country road

Countryside in FranceWhen I was young my parents had little money to spare so we often went on country drives for our weekend entertainment. My father loved driving and my mother found narrow roads for him to explore. As far as my brothers and I were concerned, the best parts of the journey were our picnic lunches with wonderful treats like devilled eggs, sandwiches without the crusts, fudge brownies, and a late afternoon stop for ice cream.

My writing career has that country road feel with twists, turns, dust, gravel, t-junctions and the clang of a railway-crossing bell. I’ve felt lost on occasion and have had to change course from time to time. I’ve been mired in the mud of rejection and experienced the fog of a dead-end story. Perhaps these words sound negative, or at least less than positive, but in reality each corner and dip has taught me something and the views have been spectacular. Wide-open spaces in which to think, hills where the far side is unknown, clouds pregnant with imagination, a refreshing jolt of chocolate ice cream.

Are we there yet?

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Writing is like no other career

My messy deskWalking from the kitchen where I had just had breakfast to my office (OK, it’s a bedroom with an alcove for a desk), a thought struck me: writing is like no other job I’ve ever had.

A quick explanation of my past: 5 years developing software at a telecom research company, 10 years at IBM in both technology and sales roles, 14 years in consulting (so now you’re getting the idea of how old experienced I am). And now, 6 plus years writing. So here’s my list of why writing is such a different occupation:

  • NO ONE GIVES YOU A JOB DESCRIPTION – except all the writers who’ve written books on writing and the professors who teach writing, everyone of them with something different to say
  • NO ONE REVIEWS YOUR JOB PERFORMANCE – except thousands (wouldn’t that be nice) of readers, none of whom have met you
  • NO ONE MONITORS YOUR WORK – except that little voice in your head or occasionally, if you are lucky enough to get a publisher, an editor who sets deadlines for each of an incredible number of revisions
  • YOU HAVE NO COLLEAGUES – no one to bitch to, no one to go for coffee with, no one to discuss difficult problems with
  • YOU HAVE NO BOSS – many would say this is a good thing but in my experience bosses can help set direction, clarify priorities, help you see the big picture or negotiate the politics
  • YOU HAVE NO SUBORDINATES – which means no one who seeks your guidance or to whom you can delegate
  • YOU RECEIVE NO REGULAR INCOME – in fact you can work for years and earn nothing, zip, zero, nada
  • YOU HAVE NO BENEFITS – forget pension, there isn’t even a medical plan
  • YOU REGULARLY DISCARD YOUR WORK PRODUCT – who else would put hours and hours into a small paragraph and later delete it?
  • YOU AGONIZE OVER COMMAS, ADVERBS, WORDS IN GENERAL – writing in many other careers only has to be ‘good enough’
  • IT NEVER MATTERS WHAT YOU WEAR TO WORK – even pyjamas are acceptable

That’s my list, what’s on yours?

Oh, and by the way, I LOVE WRITING!

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.