In Praise of the [hard] Working Author

Today I feel re-energized, ready to get my writing back in gear.

Lawrence Block, Author Photo

Was it because of some cosmic or religious epiphany? Was it because another person or writer snuck up behind me and provided me with the swift kick in the rear I so desperately need? Maybe, but not in the sense of an actual kick in the rear.

While all of these events would certainly be welcome, it was because, in frustration of not being able to put word on paper, I gave up and decided to read a book--read a book for pleasure, not research.

So, I perused through the ebook listings with little avail until I did a new search for Lawrence Block, one of my favorite go-to authors. Well, I guess he's the favorite, since I've had a falling out of sorts with Lee Child, ending years of infatuation over his decision to allow the diminutive Tom Cruise to be cast in the first movie made from his works. But, that's another story found here:

Anyway, I chose one of his old stories from his pulp fiction days written under the pen name of Sheldon Lord. the name of the book is: 69 Barrow Street.

original midwood title, Rader cover art

The story is a reversal of sorts on the the captive story. But in this case, the captive is a young painter living in Greenwich Village basically being a kept man to a voluptuous, sex crazed, psychotic, blond woman. He hates what he's become and dreams of killing her, only staying with her because he thinks he's in love with her. He befriends a new tenant (who happens to be a lesbian) but his keeper also has eyes for the girl. Yes, this fell into the category of lesbian fiction back in the 1950's and 1960's but, in true LB fashion, is full of suspense and mystery, psychosis, and evil-doing. Plus, you gotta love the cover art done by Paul Rader!

Enough about the particular story, as I don't want to give it away. The real reason for the new found motivation is the writer himself--Lawrence Block.

Lawrence epitomizes the working writer. He's had well over one hundred books published under his own name but never stopped writing. He continued writing even when markets changed. He's written under countless pseudonyms (I'm not even convinced he could remember them all) for publishing houses large and small. He's written everything from lesbian porn to crime fiction and stories for young readers.

What I find so interesting about him as an author though, is that through all this, he remains humble and open to new avenues in writing and publishing. He's even published some stories through smashwords--a primarily self publishing platform--with measured success. I follow his blog, and he's even responded to my comments before. How he finds the time for all this, I have no idea.

I find this work ethic motivating and know I must find time to pursue my own writing with more vigor. I currently have so many ideas floating around in my head, I can't seem to sort them out enough to choose one and write.

Using Lawrence as my motivator, I find that there is no reason I cannot pursue numerous stories at the same time. They are all under different genres including science fiction, mystery (amateur sleuth) historical fantasy, and paranormal fantasy.

I'll just have to find the time, motivation, and organization to work on all of these, more or less, at the same time.

How about you? For those other writers out there, do you juggle multiple projects at the same time? How do you do it? Or, do you just pick one and go with it?


  1. I can't tell you how exciting and moving this post was.

    On the one hand, you're such a good writer, friend, and person in general - it broke my heart to listen to you doubting yourself and not knowing how to comfort you. I'm ecstatic to hear you sounding like your wonderful self again, so pumped about writing and new ideas.

    And on the other hand, I found my own motivation surprisingly bolstered. I hadn't even realized I was so stressed over the future, and here you come along with such an uplifting message. Suddenly, I can breath again.

    So, thank you for that... and I expect to have something in my inbox to read very soon, sir! ;)

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. These words (from you, especially) mean a great deal to me and go a long way in getting myself back on track. But, I'm not out of the water yet. In truth, I haven't published anything under my real name since I started writing under a pen name. I still have a couple of projects to finish under that name (Which I'm hoping you will proof for me) before going full-bore on my own writing. Yes, for me anyway, my pen name writing is like a completely different person writing stories.


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