Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Writing and Time (Release Day for RUN AWAY)


Every author has been there. You’re talking to someone about the new book you’re working on—something you’re probably incredibly excited about and love to discuss—and they sigh and say, “I’d write books too, if I had the time.”

Now, I do understand that these people are not trying to shatter your fragile writerly soul into a thousand little pieces, but here’s the thing: what you consider an innocuous comment about your own writing ambitions (or lack thereof) can often feel like a sharp dig in the ribs. Because when you say that, this is what we hear.

You say: “I’d write books too, if I had the time.”
We hear: “The main factor in your literary success is the fact you have more time than anyone else.”
To us, you’re kind of implying the main reason we’re published and you aren’t is that you don’t have time to do what we do. Otherwise, you’d totally be equally successful. Because everyone can be a good writer as long as they have a few spare hours, right? You’re kind of trivializing our talent, passion and pain-staking work, implying they’re merely minor factors in our careers. No, no, spare time is the only thing that matters. Also, news flash: authors often don’t have time either. We too have jobs and kids and other responsibilities. But we make time, because it’s important to us.

You say: “I’d write books too, if I had the time.”
We hear: “I’d write too, but it’s just not a priority.”
You’re kind of saying, “I have more important things to do than what you do all day.” And because writers tend to be sensitive souls, this kind of makes us feel weird and insecure for making it a priority. Because it’s clearly bottom of your list in terms of important things in your life, but it’s at the top of ours, and you’re sort of inadvertently condemning that.

You say: “I’d write books too, if I had the time.”
We hear: “Anyone can be good at writing if they try. Talent and hard work have nothing to do with it.”
I touched on this above, but really, sometimes I can’t help but feel that this is a widely accepted fact. And it bugs me. You’d never say to a surgeon, “I’d perform organ transplants too, if I had the time.” Because you understand that they’ve studied their craft, gained a ton of specialist knowledge, and worked extremely hard to get to where they are. Why should you view professional authors any differently? Alright, so we don’t have patients’ actual lives in our hands. However, we’ve studied, we’ve practiced for years, we’ve sweated and cried and bled over our work so that it meets the incredibly demanding standards of the publishing industry. We research our subjects intensively, we revise and edit endlessly, and we allow countless beta readers to tear our work apart in the name of improving. So it hurts when you imply that you could find a spare hour on a Saturday, pick up a pen and paper, and achieve what we have without even trying.

Don’t get me wrong—we love when people share an interest in writing, and we love to talk to you about what you’re working on (or want to be working on) too. The thing about writers is that most of us aren’t snobby. We don’t think, “I refuse to talk to anyone other than fellow professional authors about writing.” Honestly, it makes us so happy when we find people who are also interested in literature and other creative pursuits! But it can often feel a little stabby when you use that vaguely condescending expression.

“I’d write books too, if I had the time.”

Oh, really? Well I’d be an astronaut too—if I had the time.


Laura Salters is a YA/NA suspense author (represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media Inc) from Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost town in England. Her debut novel, RUN AWAY, will be published by HarperCollins (Witness Impulse) on May 19—with paperbacks to follow on June 30. When Laura isn't writing, reading or thinking about writing or reading, she's a music lover (and terrible singer), pet cuddler, beach-goer, runner (*cough* jogger), passionate foodie, caffeine addict, tennis player, lipstick wearer, Harry Potter fangirl (yes, still), housework dodger and relentless chatterbox. 

“Ignorance is bliss...until there’s blood involved”

Drenched in blood and sitting in the sweltering interview room of a Thai police station, Kayla Finch knows that Sam, the love of her life, is dead. It doesn't matter that there's no body. All that blood can only mean one thing.

It isn't the first time Kayla's had blood on her hands. After finding her brother dead by his own hand, she tried to outrun her grief by escaping to Thailand. Heart-broken, the last thing she expected was to find love on the smoggy streets of Bangkok. But everyone Kayla loves seems to wind up dead. 

Returning home to England, Kayla is left with a barely-functioning family, a string of gruesome nightmares and the niggling feeling that nothing is as it seems. And as she confronts her brother's suicide, she starts to suspect that something is very wrong.

Three months. Two tragedies. One connection: there's more to both cases than anyone is willing to admit. And Kayla’s determined to uncover the truth…no matter what the cost.

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  1. Anything we do takes time. Even posting on other's blogs ;) But writing a novel takes passion and intense purpose.

  2. Very entertaining post! See, this is why I don't readily talk about what I do to people I meet on a casual basis. It always feels awkward. And we don't have time, we make time!