Thursday, 16 April 2009


sunny, beautiful day, slight chill in the air, temps 8 degrees

Walked Trudy around the pond this morning wearing flannel pajama bottoms, sweat shirt, parks and cap. And boots. Looked indigent. Thank God I'm already married - honestly, I think the combo of living in the country, writing and being naturally slothful doesn't lead to a great fashion statement.

Oh, discovered that book 5 - THE BRUTAL TELLING - can now be pre-ordered on Amazon and almost certainly at your local bookstore. It comes out in October, but it's always a great idea to get your order in since with A RULE AGAINST MURDER they ran out and had to go into another printing right away. I figure if I'm going to go for the hardcover I'd prefer a first edition!

Am up to 63-thousand words in Bury Your DEad - book 6 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series. I aim for anything between 90-thousand words and 120. I think this one will be slightly over 100. But I could be fooled. It seems as I near the end it races away from me.

Because of Michael's birthday celebrations and visiting family I decided to take time off - about a week - and really join the festivities. Right decision.

However, I was surprised when yesterday came and I sat down in front of the laptop by the fireplace, and I was afraid. I wanted to run away. To do the laundry, walk Trudy, cook (for Heaven's sake!). Anything.

I was fearful I'd lost the trail. Lost the feeling. Fearful I couldn't get back to the story. Fearful I was a horrible writer, the story was crap, I was out of ideas.

The usual suspects all showed up at once. Quite a little party.

But I stuck with it and wrote a couple thousand words yesterday.

Today I felt the same way, but slightly less fearful. Again I persisted. And wrote almost 3 thousand words. Just kept at it.

I know every writer goes through the same thing. At some stage, sometimes frequently when writing, we hit that wall. It's constructed of insecurity, terror, low self-esteem, terror, and yes, terror.

Some writers step back and wait for the fire to re-start, the inspiration to hit again.

But most that I know put their heads down and write. And write. Write through the fear - and break back into that space where it feels more like transcribing. Where words and thoughts and ideas are flowing. Characters are talking and acting and I'm just the diarist. Thrilling.

I'm a big fan of persistence. I think it trumps genius every time. I think genuis is often lazy, because it doesn't have to work. And so it doesn't develop courage, doesn't develop discipline. Structure. Persistence. I think genius is often arrogant too - and that separates us from other people. And that can't be good for a writer.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little better. Have until next Tuesday with nothing much to do but write. Then we go in to Montreal for taxes, then out of Bishop's University in Lennoxville for a workshop I'm giving and a signing...then in to the Montreal Literary Festival, Blue Metropolis next Thursday, for a panel with Giles Blunt. The following week I'm all over the place, including flying to Washington for Malice Domestic.

Still, I'm much further along in this book than I ever dreamed. I think because I was in Quebec City for that month, and have been thinking about this book for a year or so.

Wish me luck. Wish me persistence, actually. And I wish you plenty too.


Jeanine said...

Dear Louise,

I wish you luck ... I wish you persistence ... I wish you bluebirds. I will be pre-ordering THE BRUTAL TELLING tonight! And then I will start counting the days until October.

BTW, referring to some of your remarks in other places on your website, would you please explain to me what "flaming mice" are? I know what "nuns' farts" are, but not the mice. :-)


Bobbie said...

I wish you luck and I think you already have persistence...but still wish you some of that too. You have a very tough job, though you say it's easy, methinks we all know's hard work. And of course there will be days like this, but even though we know it, they still are not persevere. And think of those bluebirds Jeanine wished you. Fly around looking lovely like they do--you have that much imagination I am sure. :-) And sometimes work, especially after a bit of time off, is scary...or boring...but we know it can be done. There are soaring days, and plodding days, but they are all wonderful if you think of bluebirds. :-)

Best wishes, Louise. Pre-ordering is a great idea....but I plan to attend Bouchercon, and buy one there, and have you sign it. They better have some! :-)

Take care, don't worry too much, and write as your will allows. Persevere.


KarenB said...

I wish you persistence as well. That seems to be true for much of life, you have to keep on keeping on and then the light will dawn.

BTW, having seen you at last year's Bouchercon, I was impressed with your style and elegance. both verbal and visual, so it is nice to know you dress like regular folks!

London Kate said...

Dear Louise

What timing! Just what I needed to hear - to push through the difficult parts of writing - from someone whose opinions and writing I rate very highly. Thank you, Louise.

Kate x

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Jeanine,

Thank you! Bluebirds of Happiness it is...fluttering and singing and though my head might be sore, my heart will soar. Far more important! Lovely thought.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Bobbie,

Thank you, Bobbie, for helping bring those lovely bluebirds to life for me. Such a beautiful image. And I look forward to signing your book at Bouchercon! I know for sure they'll be there. Indeed a couple of other authors whose books will be launching and I are planning to have a celebration in the you can bring your book along and help us celebrate. I'll be the one with diet coke. We'll be putting a notice up on the board to tell people when.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Karen,

Such a nice way of putting it - the light will dawn. That's exactly it. Thank you. And thank you too for your kind words about how I appear. Inside it's all flannel! And the better for it.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear London Kate,

Funny how that works...we'll suddenly read or hear something at the "moment juste". When we need it. though it helps to be open to the universe.