We are delighted to welcome back author David Burnsworth to Omnimystery News.
David's second mystery set in Charleston (SC) and featuring Afghanistan War veteran Brack Pelton is Burning Heat (Five Star; January 2016 hardcover and ebook formats) and we asked him how he balances writing with a full-time job.
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Photo provided courtesy of
I love to write, but I don't write every day. I think it is important to write every day, it's just that sometimes life gets in the way.
See, I also have a full time job that keeps me busy for a large part of the week. If paying the bills weren't as high on the priority list as they are, I could make a change and free up some time for some serious writing. Or loafing. But, I like my home and my car and being able to take my wife out to eat on the weekends. So I don't mind working.
There are times when either I am working against a deadline or am just so into the scene that I forget about the rest of my life. My wife is an early bird. She gets up at five and is out the door before six every weekday, while I don't have to be at work until eight. I tried to sleep in but found myself awake about the same time as her anyway so I adjusted my schedule. This gives me forty-five minutes to an hour of writing time every morning before work. And on more than one occasion, I have pulled myself out of a scene I was working on only to find that I had no time left and would be pushing the clock to get to my job. Five more minutes would have been nice.
One time, on my wedding anniversary no less, I was pushing a deadline on edits, engrossed in my manuscript, and nearly pushed myself right into the doghouse. The doghouse in my case being a cheap hotel room alongside other absent-minded husbands who picked the wrong time to be passionate about something other than their normally very supportive spouses. And my spouse is very supportive of my writing. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't have written anything else since college. But wedding anniversaries only happen once a year while I can usually write on the other three-hundred-and-sixty-four days so it was definitely a bad call on my part. I'd say five more minutes would have been nice, but with traffic that day I was fifteen minutes late in meeting her and she was not happy.
Why is it that my muse likes to torment me most when I don't have the ability to sit down and open my laptop? In the middle of church service. When I'm riding in the car with my wife. While I'm at work. All inopportune times to write, yet there she is tapping me on the shoulder. All I can do is grab a pen and paper and jot down a few lines and hope I don't forget the scene that just popped into my brain. Yet sometimes, when I have the time and am sitting in front of the blinking cursor, the muse is not with me in my home in Boiling Springs, South Carolina but is in the Bahamas getting a suntan and knocking on someone else's door. Thanks a lot!
I've learned in times of muse-lessness (I just made that up, I think, but feel free to use it), it is still better to put words down. Even bad words, and I'm not talking four-letter ones. Bad in the sense of, "Holy cow that was some bad prose!" Because, and all writers know this or I'm just an idiot (or, more likely, both), that's what editing is for. I've written nine thousand nine hundred and ninety eight bad words plus two good ones, kept the two good ones, and (wait for it …) FINISHED THE BOOK, which is the most important accomplishment in my world.
"So where's he going with this?" you might be asking yourself. I'm asking myself that as well. I guess it comes down to this: We could all use five more minutes. Our passion isn't something we should take for granted that just sits around waiting for us to be ready for it. It has to be snatched from the beach in the Bahamas, dragged back to the spot we call our writing room, wherever that is for those of us who write, and made to work. The book is there ready to be birthed. It needs to be on pixels and paper. Otherwise it's useless electricity in our minds that isn't doing anybody any good.
Go ahead, take five more minutes. Take ten. Snatch back your muse. Make her sit in the chair next to you and get your book written and out there. Just don't be late for your anniversary. That would be bad.
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David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan's Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.
For more information about the author, please visit his website at DavidBurnsworthBooks.com and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.
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