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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guest Blog: B.C. Brown: Winter of Our Disconnect

As writers we spend so much of our time banging our heads against the proverbial or literal wall trapped in our climate-controlled offices, staring at blipping cursors, and trying to figure out how to make our characters real and alive on the page. It's often, however, that, while we are distancing ourselves from the world in order to pursue our love, our art, we often forget to step back from the writing itself and step out into the real world, interacting with people - you know, the real life characters!

Writers adore talking about how "real" their writing is, how "like life" it is; we love to strut our stuff On the catwalk, oh on the catwalk...I shake my little tush on the catwalk! and talk about how our writing stems from our lives and experiences. But there does come a point in most writer's lives that we seem to retreat from those lives and experiences we've accumulated and hide inside the shell of our art, our productivity.
We all want to be productive, meet our deadlines, and come out with enough material to satisfy our hopefully ever-growing fan lists. But too often in order to meet those personal wishes as a writer, we find ourselves sacrificing the most important thing about being a writer - LIVING LIFE!

Until recently, I was one of these writers. I had become a slave to my word count, my productivity. I felt deep guilt if I missed a personal deadline or blew off a writing session for a day. I was ashamed to admit that I might be thinking about something else except for the latest project or next project. I was stuck, sinking into the deep, dark well that writing can become if it's no longer fun. Then I was thrown a lifesaver. No, I'm not talking about the candy, people.

I am fortunate enough to be blessed with an SO who has a very unique look on life. At least unique for me. This SO believes that, while art needs to be directed and worked at, the art itself can't stand in the way of life, just as life can't stand in the way of the art. I always thought that dedication to my craft meant a deprived life and long, lonesome days and nights of solitude. And, to a point, it does. No one can sit down with me and write the words; no one can be inside my mind and see the images and pictures I see, desperately trying to determine what is the best way to convey them. BUT and it's a pretty big fucking but here if all I spend are long, lonesome nights of weary, dogged solitude in front of my computer, what am I really writing about? I'm no longer writing about life. Why? Because I'm not enjoying it; I'm not living it. How can I write about something that I'm no longer experiencing?

Yes, I do write about things I've never experienced. I am not a former cop (for those of you who follow my books), nor am I a clairvoyant. I have never been orphaned (again for those who know my books), and I've never been someone's slave. Also, I've never had to experience someone else's death at my hands (again my books), nor have I been admitted to a psychiatric institute this might surprise a few lol. But the core fundamentals of each of my books - a woman abruptly changing her life and learning how to love again; a young girl who feels cut off from the world and yearns to be like everyone else; and a woman who has experienced guilt on a personal level and is struggling with her own mind - I understand and have lived. The details like those I mentioned are icing; the fundamentals are what I have experienced in life and are the real cake.

A good friend, MD/KM, invited me to Romantic Times Convention in Chicago, IL. this past weekend. My first inclination was not to attend. Yeah, it's true, MD/KM. But the nagging little voice that's taken up residence in my head recently that I'm missing out on life somehow insisted I go. I'm glad I had the opportunity. Despite the "writer" in me thinking how I could have used that time to finish edits, plug away at the ol' word count, or outline the next project, I was hobnobbing with other authors, connecting with new friends, and wandering the streets of Chicago's Wicker Park. I spent the afternoon having drinks in a pub where I'm fairly certain Greek was the official language of the neighborhood; I rode the train (something I haven't done in Chicago since I was a child); and I meandered in and out of shops and people-watched to my heart's content. And, the best thing about it all? It was exactly what I needed to revitalize my writing! A new sense of urgency is pumping through my veins to write, promote, and experience life so I can write some more. It's Grrrrrrr-eat!

I guess what this means is that while I am scraping out time to divide between actual writing, actual editing, and actual promotion, I'll also be finding time to actually live, instead of hiding behind my computer monitor pretending to do so through my characters who, unless I do it, aren't.

Oh, yes, and I learned one more thing too that also applies loosely to this article. Great advice from a newly met-in-person but longstanding online friend/author BG...Just because I'm a writer doesn't mean my regular life isn't interesting from time to time. I don't need to let my writing consume EVERYTHING I do.

Dream, but remember to live those dreams! –b

This article it was original posted on my blog April 2012.
BC Brown
Author of A Touch of Madness (Spring 2012), A Touch of Darkness (Fall 2010), Sister Light, Book One: Of Shadows (Summer 2007), and contributing author to Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction (Fall 2011)

B.C. Brown was born with six fingers on each hand endowing her with super powers, thus enabling her to fight crime. When a freak Cuisinart accident severed the additional digits and her powers, B.C. was forced to fall back on her secondary talent -writing. Now she lives between the pages of a book - whether she has written it or not. Since she has not found the surgeon to restore her fingers and powers, she has published three novels to date and contributed to one anthology. She enjoys writing mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction and fantasy but is always in the mood for a challenge to branch out. You can follow her crime fighting or writing at Facebook, Goodreads, her blog, Amazon or Twitter.
Twitter: @BCBrownBooks
Facebook: BCBrownWrites

Abbey St. Michael, former cop and psychic consultant, is trapped in a tricky situation. When her ex-husband enlists her specialized help in bringing his new fiancee's killer to justice, Abbey finds herself obligated by guilt to take a case she knows is bad news both professionally and personally. But when her former boss gives her the evidence collected to date, Abbey realizes this case may end up being worse than she thought. With the clock ticking to prove the killer's guilt, she needs to assuage herself of her ex-husband's guilt and rectify her professional life with her personal life. But when the murders take a turn, Abbey realizes this case may end up changing her life and her future forever.


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Molly Daniels said... the aforementioned 'MD/KM', You're welcome!! And I guess this was payback for dragging me out of my comfort zone and making me get up in front of 20+ people and force them to listen to my singing voice, lol!

Seriously, once you understand the way Abby's mind works, you'll enjoy both Touch of Darkness and Touch of Madness:) Try it; you'll like it. Like LIFE, lol!

Sandy said...

B.C., I totally understand getting lost in writing instead of living life. I think at some point it happens to all writers and authors.

I enjoyed your blurb. It sounds like a great story.

jean hart stewart said...

Enjoyed your column, It reminds me of my constant push to write more and that I'm right to fight it. So easy to get caught in writing...

Nicole Morgan said...

BC - So, other people get lost too? Whew... I can no longer hide that in my closet of crazy. LOL. Actually, I think our getting lost in writing is what helps us grow as both writers in people. We may be creatively quirky at times, but you'll never find a better bunch! ;)

LKF said...

My family always thought I was a little nuts, now I have something to blame it on. Like Nicole said we are creatively quirky and run in a great crowd.
Thanks for sharing , your post was great.

Bronwyn Green said...

Hey BC!!! :)

I've been totally guilty of being lost in the book during October and November, but I'm back in real life now. :)

And can I just say I'm so glad you stepped out of your comfort zone, because I absolutely loved meeting you in real life! One of these days, I'd love to go to karaoke with you and MD/KM. :)

B.C. Brown said...

Molly, you're welcome. Who needs comfort zones anyway? lol

Sandy, thank you. Abbey is always a fun story to tell! Most of the time I enjoy the "getting lost" aspect of being a writer. It's wonderful to "get lost" in your own head.

Jean, I am the same way. Only recently have I learned to fight back. :)

Nicole & LFK, quirky? My family has much - ahem - stronger words for me than that! lmao

Bron, for you, sweetheart, I'll step out of my comfort zone any time. P.S. I hope you are catching my "real life" blog posts too, since you inspired the start of them. They're all untitled 'Random Rant #'. Thank you. :)

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