Crime of Passion

Writers, especially snooty ones, often thump their chest and testify to all who will listen their all-consuming passion for the written word. Specifically, their written words. But I never quite believe them because, in case you haven’t heard me whine about it before, writing is HARD.

However, if given the choice between writing and a root canal, I will always choose writing. I will also choose writing over a visit to the DMV, weeding my garden, or putting gas in my car.

I prefer saving my passion for uncomplicated and undemanding activities: Netflix binges, wine tastings, Zooming with my far-flung children, Zooming with my far-flung children while wine tasting, asking Nala the WonderDog ridiculous questions and Nala cocking her headwatching her head cock as she considers each one carefully.

(“Do you want to go to the moon?” … “Is that squirrel your boyfriend?” … “Will you go to the grocery store for me?”)

I can do that all freakin’ day.


Unfortunately, sometimes one must succumb to the dentist, the DMV, the weeds, and the gas station. And like it or not, writers must write. Every day, for most of us, so that word-thingy muscle doesn’t get … you know, that thing that happens when you don’t lift those weights … ah, yes, flabby.

But you might be asking, and rightly so, why then do you write novels, Becky?

Because — and please don’t tell or everyone will start doing it — writing novels is also fun. After the eyeball bleeding, the garment rending, the teeth gnashing, and the complete destruction of my self-esteem, that is.

I kid. Kinda.

When it’s over, there is great satisfaction from having written the perfect sentence, scene, book, or series. That perfection, unfortunately, is the sticking point.

My husband and I both took piano lessons as kids, but like much of humanity, didn’t stick with it. We realized we wanted to play the piano, not learn to play the piano. A fine distinction, but an important one. We even bought a piano when our kids were young, and would stare at it wistfully, wishing we could bang out a rousing Bumblebee Rag, rather than simply plink and plunk at Heart and Soul.

Passion for writing for me comes in the having written. I haven’t yet figured out any other way to get to that point other than using my mantra, FOMTHOK [feet on mini-trampoline, hands on keyboard].

(Some people use the mantra BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard), but they don’t use a standing desk.)

FOMTHOK is the only thing that works for me. Believe me, I’ve tried so many other things that simply don’t work. Not procrastination. Not avoidance. Not paralyzing fear. Only doing the work works.

Alas, that is the true crime of passion.

How hard do you work at your passion? How do you unstick yourself when you can’t/won’t/don’t wanna do the work? Did you give up on the piano too?

Oh, and before I forget some brazen hussy marketing … have you read books 1 and 2 in my Mystery Writer’s mysteries before I release book #3? If not, get on it! Also, I’m compiling my Review Crew which will get you free reads before release dates, so if you want details on that, be sure to subscribe to my emails over at my website! I’ll have all the information on that in a week or two, so don’t miss the boat!



50 thoughts on “Crime of Passion

  1. There are times I enjoy the actual writing (I enjoyed the scene I wrote yesterday). But I completely understand the sentiment of enjoying the finished work even more.

    And I always enjoy any time with Koda!

    I took piano from age five until I was 17 and left for college. Sometimes I wish I’d kept up lessons even after I left home.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I write in hour-long chunks of time, so I can enjoy myself for 5 or 10 minutes between hours. I guess when I’m actually doing it, I’m not really thinking about it … I’m just writing. But sometimes when I’m thinking about my day and how many hours of writing stretch before me, it can be overwhelming. Thank goodness for our puppers, eh?

      My daughter was the piano player at our house. I always knew when she had a bad day because she’d drop her backpack and head straight for it. She mostly played violin (and fiddled) and I was so happy when several years after college she picked it up again. Maybe you can take up piano again? Do you still have one?

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Oh cool! Actually, when the kids were older and out of the house more, I bought a big Fake Book of Broadway songs, just chords for the left hand and melody for the right. I got pretty good at some of them. One thing I loved about my daughter playing violin was when she took fiddle lessons from a neighbor. It was great fun to hear that happy music.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. After having completed and published five novels and several more short stories, I am much less frantic about word counts or writing every day. Somedays, life interferes and I don’t have time to write. Other days, inspiration is lacking. No biggie-the project will get done-the others did. Sometimes you just have to leave the pan in the oven and wait for it to turn into a cake. Just make sure the oven’s on…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. LOL, Tom! Yes, it’s true, the older I get and the more words under my belt, the more I’m able to let go of some of the stress. But I never want to screw up the timetable my publisher has, especially since I don’t understand it one bit. For instance, my first Crossword mystery won’t even be out until Nov 3, but I’m putting the final touches on #3 because it’s due Sept 1st. And long ago NaNoWriMo taught me that I don’t need inspiration to write, just FOMTHOK.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with writing. It’s so haaaaard! (said in my whiny voice) But when I’m not working on a project, something is always missing from my life. (Oh, yeah–it’s writing!) And as you say, there’s truly nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you’ve perfected that sentence, paragraph, chapter, or—dare I say it—book.

    And yes, I too took piano lessons as a youngster and dearly wish I’d started earlier and kept it up. Sigh…

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Agreed. There are times I’m so frustrated with my writing and with the business of publishing I threaten to quit. But then about 30 seconds later I think, “What in the world ELSE would I do??”

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Cleaning is so overrated. That’s why we got a dog. Our house will never be clean again.

      And Jennifer, I can always tell when I’m worried about my manuscript because I will have the best-flossed teeth in the universe!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. What a great discussion! Thanks for bringing up this topic, Becky! (Also, having an adorable pic of Nala is a boost to my day.)

    I’m still in awe of your feet-on-mini-trampoline routine. I think I’d fall over before getting to write very much!

    The hard parts for me are launching into a manuscript (fear of the blank page) and also that soggy middle portion. I marvel at actually having a finished product in the end!

    As for piano, I bought a used keyboard in my younger years and tinkered with it but never became proficient. Thankfully, everybody else in my immediate family does have musical talent and can play!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Jen. And Nala does have a way of keeping us all grounded. I don’t actually jump around on the trampoline, btw. Just shifting weight from foot to foot, maybe with more vigor if I’m thinking rather than typing. Like you, I’m constantly amazed I’ve written one manuscript, much less thirteen! (And yes, I had to go count … unbelievable!) But that amazement is also the thing that helps me. When all seems lost/hopeless/overwhelming I take a deep breath and say, “I’ve done it before, I can do it again.” And then I hope like heck it’s true!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I gave up on piano and even guitar (which I was always more interested in). But I’ve found ways to talk about the stories I’m ingesting (written and watched) with people who actually care about them. So that’s one passion I’ve stuck with.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. And we’re so glad, Mark! It is true that we outgrow certain passions, or circumstances change and don’t include them. I mean, otherwise I’d still be swooning over David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman!

      Liked by 3 people

  6. The piano analogy is brilliant! I’m definitely the loving-have-written camp. The process can be so excruciating, but it’s nice to be on the other side and say, “Hey, I wrote that!”

    I usually unstick myself by doing a sprint or a mini-sprint. I tell myself I can do pretty much anything for 20 minutes, a half-hour, etc.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh absolutely! That’s a great strategy, and how I get on the treadmill some days. “You just have to run 5 minutes, Bec. That’s it.” But once I’m on there—I mean, my shoes are already laced and everything—it’s so easy to keep going.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Passions?
    I have many. It’s how I forget about the real world.
    I cook like a mad woman, whenever I happen to have ingredients and time. And baking is so stress reducing!
    Writing? Right now it’s just for me. Maybe someday I will be published. My goal is to have one total stranger buy my book. That’s it. I love the planning of writing. Doing the outline, the research, that stuff. The actual writing is so much harder. But I’m learning. In spurts. I have trouble finding time every day to write, because my family doesn’t get I need the time, and there’s no where in the house to lock myself away.
    Piano? I love it with the passion of all passions. I took lessons for many years. I was on the track for the Philharmonic (yes, I was that good as a kid). But I had an accident when I was a teen and lost the nerves in my right pinkie finger. And that pinkie is key to playing well! So now I play just for me, when no one is home.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Oh no! It’s totally different to have your passion stolen from you. Stupid nerves. (I blame my surgery for not being able to tap dance on Broadway, but maybe there were other things at play. Let’s not think about that, though.) I like the pre-writing too. So much delicious possibility! I just read an article about Rachel Howzell Hall who sat in her car every day to write. Maybe you could try that! You’ll figure it out.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. You can do it, Hestia! We’re all rooting for you! Write that book, because we all want to buy it. And if space at your house is a problem, I’ve recently seen the coolest offices created from closets: “Cloffices.” Literally. Just google for photos/ideas (there are a bunch on Pinterest). Best of all? You and Vickie could turn your linen closets into offices and no more towel-rolling ever again, yay!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post, Becky! When the writing is going well, I lose all track of time. When it’s going badly, I’ve gone as far as reorganizing the linen closet to avoid writing (including rolling the towels instead of folding flat)! B, I took six years of piano lessons as a kid. I doubt I could even plunk out Heart and Soul now!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks, Vickie! It’s so cool being in the Zone. It would be nice if everyone experienced that at some point for themselves. Maybe then people would understand why we do this crazy-making thing called writing. I had a scary piano teacher in about 5th grade. I’d love to go back and be a fly on that wall and see if she really was or if my memory is fuzzy. My parents claimed no knowledge of it. And my dad knew scary teachers … he had a nun chuck a book at his head! (But then I suppose nothing I could say would come close to his scare teacher!)

      Liked by 2 people

  9. When I read your list of things you like less than writing, my reaction was “maybe Becky should move to Oregon.” I just renewed my car registration on line and our gas station attendants fill the tank . Oh, yes, and we’ve been successfully voting by mail for more than two decades!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. LOL! I love Oregon. My daughter and her hubs live there and I go visit as often as I can. I could really get used to that gas pumping thing, although the problem with that, we found out the hard way, is that there aren’t nearly as many gas stations as we’re used to so once we came dangerously close to an emergency in our rental car. And the vote by mail thing is fantastic! We do that in Colorado too. So convenient! And I really shouldn’t have taken a swipe at the DMV, but it’s one of those “broad paintbrushes” we writers love. I’ve probably only been in one once in the last 10 years and that was to pick up my new license plates, a very painless procedure, if I’m being honest. But I’d still rather write than go there.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Gosh, I may be the only one who didn’t take piano. I inherited my sister’s clarinet, so guess what I had to play at school? All my friends played flute, so I’m adraid I wasn’t terribly gracious about it. Loved this post, Becky! Inspired to try BOBKOL tomorrow. (Butt on bed, keyboard on lap.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL! I was never interested in music, but my kids had a great music program in elementary school. Between them all they’ve played piano (x3), violin, clarinet, saxophone, tuba (x2), trumpet, and guitar!


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