Writing Tip #112: ‘I wasn’t watching a lot of ball games.’

Authors Marcia Clark, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Scott Turow and George Pelecanos at BEA

Authors Marcia Clark, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Scott Turow and George Pelecanos at BEA

“”I wasn’t watching a lot of ball games.” So said crime writer George Pelecanos during the “Inside The Mystery Writers Studio” panel at Book Expo America on Friday that featured, in addition to Pelecanos, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, Scott Turow and moderator Marcia Clark. The discussion turned to how — in those early days — the authors balanced their writing with a full-time job. Pelecanos, whose new book The Double will be published this fall, said this:

“For my first eight novels I had a full time job during the day.  so I would get up early in the morning and then I would come home at night to write.  And I just considered it to be my second job…But in order to do that and sort of sacrifice, I mean, I wasn’t watching a lot of ball games on TV.  All these things that you give up.  You gotta love your other job too.”

I thought this was completely spot-on. As readers of this blog know, while working on Baby Grand, I set my alarm for the middle of the night to write or I didn’t go out as much with friends or my husband or my kids. I cut back on freelance writing. It’s all about sacrifice, yes, that’s true. But the key is this: While there’s guilt (and often lots of it) associated with sacrifice and not doing some of the things you want to do, you’re so passionate about what you ARE doing that it really doesn’t feel like sacrifice at all.

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