Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Losing Touch

Way back in 2002, when I was a newbie writer, things seemed a lot more important.

Getting interviewed was a big deal. I always made sure I updated my website the moment I scheduled an appearance somewhere. I prepared several days in advance for booksignings. I kept careful track of where my work was published. Getting an email from a fan would put a smile on my face for hours.

And I saved stuff. Lots of stuff. Newspaper articles about my work, reviews, convention programs, fan mail, flyers from appearances, and so on.

A lot has changed since then. I've done a lot of interviews, and lost track of most. I forget to update my appearance schedule on my website for weeks at a time. I know I have stories in upcoming anthologies and magazines, but can't remember them all, or even some of the titles. Answering fan mail has become work. And I've given up trying to save every piece of paper with my name printed on it.

Being a writer has lost much of its luster. Writing is no longer a dream. It's a job.

Mostly, this is good. I no longer obsessively Google myself or check my Amazon ranking. I trust that folks will find my interviews online without me having to link to them. I've given the same speeches and talks so often that I don't have to meticulously prepare beforehand. Instead of seeking out venues for my short stories, many venues seek me out.

But I sometimes miss that naive enthusiasm. I miss being excited by every little good thing that happens. I even miss obsessing over things I thought were really important but turned out not to be.

Wide-eyed wonder can't hold up against hard won experience.

But then Fed-Ex dropped off a box of my new paperbacks (Rusty Nail, the third Jack Daniels book) and I set one on my desk and glanced at it while I worked. Every time I saw it, I smiled. And I kept smiling for the rest of the day.

Things may not be new or fresh anymore, but they're still pretty damn cool. I just needed a reminder. Why plant roses if you don't stop to smell them every so often?

And on that note, here are three recent interviews:

I'll also be in the upcoming anthologies:

Tales From the Red Lion

Until Someone Loses an Eye

Chicago Blues

Perfectly Plum


Buy them all, along with the paperback of Rusty Nail if you were too cheap to spring for the hardcover...


Tom Schreck said...

I'm still one of those newbies waiting for his debut to come out (Sept 07 to avid book buyers.)

So when I read an interview with a big deal successful writer like Joe Konrath and he mentions makes me giddy.

"On the Ropes"

Mark Terry said...

I'm with you Joe. It's a great job, by the way, but a job and I sometimes miss that enthusiasm that used to come with every byline and every sale. I still love the sales, etc., but sometimes, when I get a call from my agent or editor, I can just tell a part of my brain is going, "Oh jeez, what now?"

Must need an attitude adjustment (again).

Anonymous said...

Loved the interviews, Joe. They're almost like reading one of your short stories - very funny. Plus, they have great info for struggling writers.

Like many of the frequent commenters here, I can't thank you enough for all the good stuff you've shared with us.

Anonymous said...

My humble opinion of Whiskey Sour is my Blog Review for this month. Here

Jeremy James said...

Joe: although I still haven't had the privilege of meeting you in person, I still think a lot of you based on what you've done for writers with this blog / web site.

So I just wanted to say "congrats" on that enviable state of "relaxed confidence" you now seem to be enjoying. Gives me something to shoot for.

In the meantime, I still get giddy, when, say, I read my referrer logs and notice that someone clicked over to my new serialized podiobook from the comments on your site. So please, feel free to make me giddy: THE VEINGEL, a free serialized dark fantasy / thriller. (hell, you might even be entertained).

Keep up the good work, Joe!

Spy Scribbler said...

My first little bit of an essay that's going to actually be on the shelf in Borders? Totally psyched! (Okay, honestly, terrified.)

My stories and novellas? I don't even know when they're released anymore.

But I still treasure, treasure, treasure my reader mail. They awe me. That they seem inspired to share such vulnerable tidbits about themselves, just because they read my book ... that is so special to me. I never know what to say. I always feel so inadequate in my responses.

Have you ever thought about doing a post on how to respond to reader mail?

Anonymous said...

Yes, my fellow participant in PERFECTLY PLUM, everyone better hurry up and buy it! ;)

Yes, it's a job and there are days when it's more of a slog than others. And then there are the days where we take a moment to breathe, and realize it's still the best job in the world (for us, anyway)!

s.w. vaughn said...

Dude, writing is like the Army. It's not just a job, it's an adventure!

It's just that sometimes you're on K.P. detail. :-)

Anonymous said...

There's something to be said for the ability to retain a "beginner's mind", in the Zen sense -- where everything is always possible, and fresh -- and to avoid hubris, not matter how big one gets.

Once you lose that, no matter the pursuit, you've lost the magic, methinks.

Congrats on the new box of new books, Joe. May the smile last awhile :)

JA Konrath said...

I was just spammed for the third time by someone selling prepaid cell phones, so I'm turning off anonymous posts for awhile.

If you don't have a blogger account and want to leave a comment, it only takes a minute to join, and it's free.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

See, this is why I registered. I can still post. Your interviews were great Joe and I take this entire post to heart. I have a vision of you smiling at a paperback copy of Rusty Nail, and that shows the excitement never goes away entirely. I am just starting out and will hold on to the excitement for as long as I can. I promise. Terrie

Eileen Key said...

Joe, found a virtual assistant who works at reasonable rates and takes a load off. Think about it. Worth my investment! Best of luck.
E. Key

Scott A. Rolsen said...

I just read EPITAPH in THRILLER. What a great well-rounded story. Nice snippets of whit from Phin and excellent full-circle plot leaving just enough "ah-ha" for the end.

Cool story Joe.