Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why I'm Not Prolific

When my first mystery, Taxed to Death, was published I was proud, but even more than that, I was relieved to have finally seen this book come to light. It had taken me years to write it and, as my mom said, “only three days to read”. My second mystery, Fatal Encryption, took almost as many years to write, although I have to say that with both books, I was also working on short stories, personal essays, and writing-related articles.

After all these years, I’m still not a prolific author. I wish I was, but I’m not. Below is the reason why. Can any of you relate?

On Friday, my day off from work, I had contractors working in our backyard, the furnace maintenance guy show up, school supply shopping, the kids’ passport photos done, chores, laundry, and a trip to the movies to see the latest Harry Potter installment. In between, I squeezed in some editing and reading.

Saturday was a Curves workout, a trip to the grocery store for last minute things for my mom’s BBQ later that day, plus dim sum with my hubby’s family mid-morning. Oh yes, there were bathrooms to clean too. Between each event, came a little more editing, social networking and about 15 minutes of reading at the end of the day before I crashed, exhausted.

Today—Sunday—I was up at 5:30 a.m. for work, where I squeezed in 10 minutes of reading before dashing out the door. I grabbed a chapter to take with me and spent a few minutes of editing on my first break. People were in the staff room on my second break, so I read for twenty minutes instead. Now I’m home and I have a little energy left. Notice that I haven’t done any cooking these past three days? That’s mainly thanks to my son who loves to cook and has plenty of time before he heads back to school.

In the last three days, I’ve spent all of three hours of editing and another two hours of networking or other writing-related activities.

I was a big fan of James Clavell, but did you know that he had a researcher and a secretary to type his work? Many other famous authors have had this kind of help too. One reason for their output and consequent fame might be that they didn’t spend their time cleaning bathrooms, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and school supply shopping with their kids. And let’s not forget the day job.

My hat’s off to any writer who’s balancing jobs, with kids, with housekeeping, and still managing to write novels. If you’re doing all that and still producing a novel every two or three years, than you deserve a medal, made of solid gold, although I’m sure you’d prefer the publishing contracts.

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nora Roberts writes the equivalent of a novel every 45 days. Eek. Even if she doesn't have as many chores as the rest of us, that's still a lot of words very quickly. The most I've ever been able to write is 1000 at a sitting. Still, I managed to complete four novels. Took me several years, but I did it.