The Hazard of Writing Full Time

While writing full time can be very rewarding, it hasn’t been so great for my health.

On the plus side, I didn’t have to drive in the blizzards this winter. I can do more things with my sons. I can help out around the house more with cookings, dishwashing and grocery shopping (which I do, so don’t roll your eyes, wives). I’m also around to take my sons off to various appointments. I like all that, don’t get me wrong.

However, my job is spent with my plopped down in a chair and since I’m self-employed, I like most small businesspeople, tend to work more than 40 hours a week. So I’ve become a couch potato without sitting on a couch. The result is the same though.

I put on weight and I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, the weight has come on a lot faster. That, of course, has brought on all of those weight-related health problems that people can get.

So, at the beginning of May, I had finally had enough and got really motivated to lose weight. My goal is to get back to my college weight of 185. I’d also like to be under 10 percent bodyfat like I was back then, but that may be pushing it.

I’ve been very encouraged so far, I’ve lost 17 pounds in 3 weeks! I can even notice changes like having more energy and having to hike my pants up more often because my belt is as tight as it can go.

One odd benefit I’ve noticed is that I seem to be getting more efficient with my work, too. I’m getting more accomplished in less time. Don’t ask me how that’s happening, but it’s a nice feeling.

My Bookshelf: For the Thrill of It by Simon Baatz

I just finished “For the Thrill of It” this morning. I knew of the murder because of the movie “Rope” starring James Stewart and thought I’d learn more about it when I saw this book.

I found it a fascinating story of elitism and murder. I loved the level of detail that Simon Baatz was able to include in the story. You are in on how a murder is plotted and executed. It’s a look inside a killer’s head and it’s not a pleasant look.

Interestingly, I expected legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow to have shown expertise in having Leopold and Loeb’s sentenced to life in prison instead of death. It seems his key decision was to plead guilty and take his chances with a liberal judge. I wasn’t particularly impressed with his handling of the case otherwise. He seemed to want to use it to further his anti-capital punishment agenda.

While I enjoyed the lead up to the trial, I got bogged down with the trial section. This is where Baatz’s attention to detail didn’t serve him as well. I felt like the book went into too much psychiatric detail, which in the end, didn’t really add to the story.

Once, the narrative moved past the trial to the aftermath, I thought it became interesting again.

Check out more reviews at Goodreads.

Getting a Book Ready

This is not to far off how my desk looks somedays.

I’ve been working on a book for a couple years now. It will be my first book-length non-fiction work. I thought it was ready and I pitched it to an agent at the Pennwriters Conference. She liked it and asked to see it (Yay!)

So I came home from the conference to get it ready and find I’m second guessing myself. Are there gaps in the narrative I need to fill in? Does the back of the book need more work? Is it too short?

The one thing I knew I needed to finish up was the references. I have to make them consistent and the right style. One of the things I found myself doing was leaving the roughest of references in the endnotes, and in some cases, leaving the endnote blank! What was I thinking! Now I’ve got to try an track down a reference that I may not have seen in months! I also find myself wondering if I have enough references, enough endnotes and enough primary sources.

While this is not new to me, it’s new to me for a project this large. Plus, I really like the project still and want to see it published.

Back from Pennwriters and Ready to Go!

I attended the Pennwriters Conference this past weekend in Lancaster. I taught a workshop on developing articles from your book, critiqued a nonfiction critique group and attended some interesting workshops. I came back with a list of things I want to do to add to my already huge pile of stuff to do.

One of the things I heard repeatedly was that every writer needs a blog and web site. I shied away from this idea because I had a blog for about a year that I updated daily with book, TV and movie reviews. It was a lot of work and I was getting somewhat tired of it. Even though I was getting paid for a client to do it, I burned out on it.

So why would I want to start another blog? Well, this one may not pay, but it will help anyone interested get to know more about the writing life, interesting books and even me (though I don’t imagine that’s a big crowd).

I’ll also be starting a sister blog to this one sometime down the road that is about a subject I’m really interested in, but first, I’ll see how this works out.

So, that said, check back occassionally and see what’s up. I plan on upating Whisper in the Wind at least weekly, hopefully more.