Friday, March 4, 2011


I typically take a peek at the upcoming topic the weekend before. I like to try and stay ahead, but also to allow my thoughts to begin collecting, thus making it easier to write the post. In doing so, the theme of the post reveals itself, sentences begin to form and each paragraph tends to begin lining up, jockeying for position.

This week’s topic was easy and, although I am only beginning to write it, I daresay that it will write itself. (Editor’s note: it did.)

For those of you who have come to know me, I hope you will not find this post to be repetitive. I have spoken about some of this before. For those of you who don’t know me very well, allow me to set it up.

I started writing late in life. That’s not exactly true. What I mean is I started writing when I was a kid, of course. However, it wasn’t until I had approached my forties that I began attempting to resurrect the novel writing that I had been doing before life, family and career began pushing it to the back-burner, as they say. I completed my novel about vampires unleashed in my hometown and then was blessed to find a publisher willing to climb out on a limb with me. Although it took essentially twenty years to write the first novel, I managed to write the first two drafts of the sequel in a mere eight months.

Since then, it has been a blur. A guest post in these hallowed pages soon became an invite to join as a regular. A review in a local magazine soon got me a job writing for another magazine. Add to this the posting I need to do for my own blog, as well as the help I give to another, and suddenly I’m juggling deadlines. Then, for everything that you are doing, you need to keep the gears of the PR machine greased. I do all of that on top of the eleven hours that I do at my day-job. Notice I have yet to say anything about my family or house and yard work.

So, why do I do it? Why do any of us do it? It’s two reasons, isn’t it?
We write because we have it in us. We were born with a talent to put words together in such a way that it compels others to want to read more. We tell stories with words, and not just any words, but grand ones. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way, am I? I would love to hear how others feel about it.

Another reason that we write is the potential. Stephen King used to write stories that no one but his immediate circle read. I heard that John Grisham gave his first novel away. That would have been A Time to Kill. Have you read it? It might be his best; certainly one of them. How about J.K. Rowling? Or Stephanie Meyer? Enter any author that you want onto this list. Heck, you can even add the names of newspaper columnists, play-writes, screenwriters and songwriters to that list of people who are now being paid to do what they do. Each and every one of them came from a place where no one was reading them. Who says that you and I are not next to that list?

Having (written) said all of this, one might say that the answer is simple, but it isn’t. I’m approaching forty-two years old now. Before you begin to tell me that I’m not old or anything, and that I have plenty of time yet to make a second career out of writing (and I love you for it, by the way), I have a couple of other numbers for you: 21, 17 and 13. This June will be my 21st wedding anniversary. I married my wife, not my laptop and iPhone. She has gotten scant attention from me these past few years while I attempt to juggle a schedule that is far too demanding. Next is how old my firstborn will be this coming July. He’s driving now and is as accomplished as hell. He performs in plays, sings honor choir and plays in honor band. He was one of only sixteen to make the California All-State Jazz Choir. He’s starting to get a ton of mail from colleges far and wide. The last number is the age of my youngest son. He’s the sports kid. He’s my all-star in baseball and is now doing track, too. If I keep up this pace for another five years, I could potentially look up to find that both of them are grown men.

I’m going to take a hard look at this year and see what I can glean from it. I love to write and have tons more stories that I would like to see in print, even if I’m the only one reading them. People who have read my novel so far come up to me and tell me that they liked it. Just getting more people to hear of the novel is the difficult part, not to mention getting them to buy.

Unfortunately, I fear that I am going to have to schedule down soon. This year the second novel will see publication, but when am I going to find the time to begin writing the third one? As it is now, the only writing I’m doing is for PR – not fiction at all.

What keeps you guys motivated? I really want to know. Perhaps reading your comments will help me more clearly decide what I want to do. Or need to do.

Oh, and one more thing. You’ll notice that I didn’t post any photos this time. I just felt that the words should provide the pictures today.

It’s what we do. Right?


  1. Hello, everyone and happy Friday. Forgive me for being rather absent this week. Trusty laptop caught a nasty little virus which took parts of three afternoons to get rid of. Then I had a magazine deadline which I finally met. All of this was disconcerting because this California family is following our oldest son and his High School Wind Ensemble to Carnegie Hall this weekend. NYC!! Perhaps Facebook will have updates. We'll see. ;)

  2. James, beautiful post. I feel guilty just neglecting my boyfriend. He and I agree that living together would make the relationship easier because then at least we'd pass each other in the halls, LOL. I thank gods every day that I don't have children. I have no idea how you, or any other author with children, manage it. If I had a baby today, I'm certain the writing part of my life would be over.

    Like I said in my post, there is NOTHING easy about being a writer. Only you can make the choice to write or not. Either way, I hope we'll always continue being friends. :)

  3. Thank you so much, J.D. I reached my goal of having my name in print. I didn't realize how many wonderful friends I was going to make in the process. No matter what happens in the future, even many years down the road when there are 9-10 other writers on these hallowed pages and our faces are presented in some WW Hall of Fame, I hope we'll all still be chatting away with one another.
    Have a great weekend.


  4. Yup. It ain't easy. But then, nobody is guaranteed anything in this life. I do feel your pain - writing PR instead of actually writing is such a pain in the ass. I wish you the best.

  5. James,
    You are doing the right thing, going with your family to NYC. Those are the legendary things families talk about for years. I remember taking soccer players all over the west coast and having about 8 of them (all boys because no one else wanted to go or could) in my motel room for weekend tournaments. Smelly socks and bad music, mostly in Spanish. One night I arched out of bed in a full on extension save, landing on the floor, catching the lamp. I'd been dreaming about my son in the goalkeeper box....Scared the BJs out of the boys, tho'.

  6. Thank you, Julia. I appreciate your note. About PR, I couldn't have said it better myself!! Not all is bad though, is it? It's what gives me opportunities to meet people like you.
    Have a great weekend!

  7. I can sympathize with your dilemmas, James. I wonder how I can do all the stuff I need to do in a day and still get writing done.

    Lately, my writing has taken a back seat, but, then again, I'm not juggling PR and trying to get to Carnegie Hall, so I should be thankful.

    My motivation, I guess, I that I love to write. I may be foiled for a day or two, but I will find the time to write. Even when I'm not at a computer, like I haven't been in the last week due to be on another movie set, I scribble notes down on paper (yes, handwriting still exists) to flesh out my ideas and what I'm going to write in the next chapter.

    J.D., you might have to tell your boyfriend that he might be like that movie title "I Am Number Four." Of course, that might not lead to 21 years of wedded bliss like James has enjoyed, so take my words with a grain of sea salt (it's healthier).

  8. New York City greetings to you, Greg. Thanks for your note. I rush around, trying to keep up with the PR machine. Soon, edits on book 2 will arrive in my e-mail and the urge to begin writing book 3 will force something to give. We'll see how it goes.
    Thanks again.

  9. You're juggling a lot of balls right now, James. Something will have to give and it should never be you're family. I'm hoping you all had a great time this weekend in NYC and I'm eager for the update when you get back.

    Now -- to answer your question... what motivates me? My desire to succeed in spite of my draining health. I want to reach people with my stories and entertain them, I want to sell books like the natural born salesperson I've been my whole life.

    I want something that is solely mine while my body is wracked by disease and I struggle day to day to rise from bed and continue treatment. Having something to focus on outside of myself, but within my physical limitations, is HUGE for me.

    I'm not sure if I write because I'm drawn to it, or I write because it saves me from focusing on the things I can't change.