I remember vividly the first time I attended a Sisters In Crime/Los Angeles meeting. Diane Bouchard was the president, and my first mystery novel, Too Big To Miss, was a bunch of gobblygook stored on a computer. The guest speaker was the Ventura County Coroner who brought along a very graphic slide presentation, and I had just had lunch. No matter, by the time the meeting was over I knew I had found my own kind, and that has made all the difference in the world to my writing.
Writers write, plain and simple. If you distill all of the platitudes about writing and writers, the how-tos, the whys, and the wheres, it all comes back to these two very simple words – writers write. It’s a solitary business. Even writers who collaborate must spend much time alone to produce their contribution to the partnership. For me a day without writing might as well be a day without food, water, and air. I must write. I must create. It’s a passion, a disease, a terrible master I loathe and love at the same time.
But writers must also hobnob with other writers. Whether a writer is naturally social, as I am, or shy and quiet, he or she must interact with fellow writers to be a healthy writer. Such interactions keep you grounded and provide relief from the fear that you might be nuts – or at least nuts on your own. Let’s face it, writers are crazy, but we’re crazier together. Just ask anyone who has ever attended a Bouchercon (which my friend and fellow Midnight Ink author, Keith Raffel, refers to as a summer camp for adults). Or better yet, ask anyone who knows Brian Wiprud.
Friday night I attended a dinner for writers and today I’ll attend the monthly meeting of SinC/Los Angeles. At the dinner I saw a lot of old friends, met a lot of writers I hadn’t met before, and reacquainted myself with writers I only get to see from time to time at conferences. I even had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Anne Perry. It was a fabulous evening and the exchange of ideas at each and every table was electric. Instead of coming home grumpy because I felt I had wasted several hours socializing when I should have been home writing, I returned to my computer refreshed and revitalized, and, more importantly, productive
57 Days and Counting