Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Writer’s Life

© Marta Stephens 2011 all rights reserved

If you can’t sit down to read a book without fighting the urge to grab a red pencil or notice the author’s excessive use of tags, or cringe at his or her POV glitches, you must be a writer.

If you still marveled at those with the ability to transport you to a different place or time, but instead of enjoying the ride, you outline the chapters to see how it’s done, you must be writer.

If your computer is turned on 24/7 on the off-change that you might get a brilliant idea, you must be a writer.

If you wake up at four in the morning thinking about the perfect plot twist, you must be a writer.

If you can’t watch a movie or television show based on your favorite genre without a having pad of paper and pencil nearby so you can take notes, you must be writer.

You get the point, right? We are an obsessive bunch.

Prior to writing, I used to think of authors as an elite group of people who lived charmed lives. I envisioned a writer lounging in a seaside bungalow, a drink in one hand, a pen in the other. There he’d gaze across the shoreline at the incoming surf while he methodically contemplated his next plot.

My plots come to me while I stand in line at the market. My character’s dialogue comes into focus while I clean out a cluttered closet and the scene of the crime takes shape while I scrub the bathroom. I don’t live anywhere near a shoreline and life is anything but charmed. It is, however, becoming increasingly interesting. And yes, I admit I’ve done each of the points I mentioned above. However, there is something to be said for discipline and leading a balanced life. So, my advice is this, on the days the writing doesn’t come on its own, don’t push it. On the days it does, give the writing its share of time, but don’t let life pass you by. Live it, because that’s the stuff great books are made of.

About the author:
Marta Stephens writes mystery/suspense.

THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (2008), Bronze Medal Finalist, 2009 IPPY Awards, Top Ten, 2008 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery).

SILENCED CRY (2007) Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival, Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery).

Her books are available in paperback and most electronic format. Find them online at , Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-a-Million. For more information about Stephens and her writing, visit


Ellie said...

I'm not a writer but I do get the red pen urge!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Amen, Marta. Today I was driving to a doc's appointment, and saw no less than SIX oldish cars parked in the U turn areas of state highways that are meant just for the cops. My brain kept thinking how weird that was... and wondered if some terrorist was going to blow up our highways. Of course, my brain took it many steps farther, and it started to get complicated and take shape. LOL.

I'm with you. Live life, and the stories will come to you...

Kim Smith said...

Well said Marta!

Ron Adams said...

Marta, I tend to write whole paragraphs and chapters while cutting the grass, for some ungodly reason. Must be something about walking the whole 3/4 acre in straight lines that lets my mind wander a bit. Well said and well written. Oh, and if you've ever watched something goofy happen in a bar and think, "I have got to get that into my story!"...You might be a writer :)

Marta Stephens said...

Thanks all. Ron, ironically, I love writing bar scenes. Do you suppose ..? :)