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[GUEST POST] C. T. Adams (One Half of “Cat Adams”) on Why Writing is Hard Work And Why She Loves It

C.T. Adams shares the joint pen name of Cat Adams with Cathy Clamp. Together they co-authored the much-lauded Blood Singer series, comprised of Blood Song, Siren Song, Demon Song, The Isis Collar, and The Eldritch Conspiracy. Their latest novel is To Dance with the Devil.

Writing is Hard Work And I Love It

by C.T. Adams


The Hulk
and Joss Whedon
Thor and Jim Butcher

Star Trek
Avengers, Star Wars
and the Doctor

Time Travel and
All that it brings

These are a few of my favorite things.

When my job’s dull.
When my life stinks.
When I’m feeling sad.
I simply remember my favorite things.
And then I don’t feel . . . so bad.

Yes folks. I am an admitted geek. I am thrilled that the label is no longer pejorative since I so won’t be changing who I am. I’ve attended cons (though not regularly due to time constraints), I’ve got the art work on my walls, and I’m always thrilled (and a little worried—see above issue re time constraints) when I find another great geeky thing to love. I watched Doctor Who back when it was on PBS and they kept moving the time around so it was almost impossible to find.

And I’m ambitious. I want to be the next great geeky thing that somebody finds. Not an easy goal. I want more and more people to discover the worlds I create and the people in them. (And hey, if it makes me beaucoup bucks along the way, who am I to argue.)

That (and pure stubbornness) keeps me going when I’m tired, frustrated, and the deadlines keep coming when the ideas don’t. Because, what people don’t tell you, the dirty little secret of life as a professional author is:

It’s freaking hard work.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE it. It’s my dream. But if, as an eight year old, somebody told me how hard it would be I might’ve decided to try something else, like rocket surgery. (That’s an in joke. My son has a friend who is studying both medicine and astrophysics. We refer to him as a future rocket surgeon.)

“How hard could it be?” you ask. You put words together in sentences; sentences into paragraphs; paragraphs into pages, and voila!

Well, there’s research for one thing. (Your character has to fly from Detroit to Amsterdam. Since she’s not a vampire or the Doctor she’ll go commercial. What airlines will take her there? How many stops? Where? What’s the total flight time? If she leaves at X time, when will she arrive?) Now, she’ll be going through airport security, customs. How is she going to arm herself to save the day? Where will she stay? How do you get to the hotel from the airport? How long does it take?

You get the picture. And she hasn’t even gotten there, let alone faced the bad guys.

And the totally weird part is? I LOVE IT.

Seriously, I get to learn the most interesting and weirdly esoteric stuff.

In one book I got to research the drug smuggling tunnels between the U.S. and Mexico, royal weddings, wedding planning, bridesmaid dresses and flights to Europe . That’s right—all in the same book.

I do internet research, but I also have acquired a number of books. If anyone official ever comes and looks at my computer and my bookshelves I am in so much trouble.

“Excuse me ma’am. Can you explain why you have this book on poisons?” or “Crime scene investigations?” or “Explosives?” and a street map of [INSERT CITY NAME]?

Fortunately I can point to my various books, maybe even cite pages where the pertinent information was…well, pertinent.

Once you get past the research you get to write: Which is seriously cool—although a bit more challenging on those occasions when the dog is trying to crawl on your lap and the cats keep walking on the keyboard.

But there’s more to writing than writing. There’s promotion (hence this little article); there’s edits; there’s more edits; there’s copy edits—all of which manage to intrude just exactly when you are finally really getting into the meat of the story and don’t want to break the “mood.” (Yeah, writing has a ‘mood’ too. And spoiling it can be very frustrating—though not in the same way.)

And speaking of ‘mood’ yes, there is one. No, you don’t dare wait for it. If you do, you’ll never finish. WRITE whether you feel like it or not. BUTT IN CHAIR no matter what. If it’s hideous, you can edit it and make it better. If it’s good, you can edit it and make it great. But you have to WRITE it in order to do that.

Do I love my job? Oh HELL YEAH.

But it is a job. It is work. I generally get up at 4:30 in the morning to get my writing done before I go to the day job. But it’s so worth it because (1) I love it; and (2) Every once in a while people will come up to me at a con, or a signing and go “IT’S YOU!!!” and will totally geek out about my people and my worlds.

There’s nothing like it.

Someday, maybe someone will be humming about me:

The Hulk
and Joss Whedon
Thor and Cat Adams
About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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