Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Questioning Everything

by Clare O'Donohue

Q: Do you ever have any doubts about your decision to be a writer?

That's actually - at least for me - a bigger question than it seems.

I never doubted my decision to be a writer any more than I doubted my decision to be left handed, to have blue eyes, or to be overly sarcastic. None of it was a choice, especially that last one. Writing is something I love doing, and I know that's true because I was doing it long before anyone paid me for my work.

Luckily, though, they've been paying me for a while now. I wrote as a newspaper reporter before becoming a TV producer and writer. I've written magazine articles and corporate press releases. Nearly every job I've held since college has had "writer" in the title. So I've been calling myself a writer for more than twenty years, but always throwing in the qualifier of "I write TV true crime shows" or something - because I assume no one ever thinks those shows are actually written by anyone.*

Now, have I ever doubted I could write novels? Absolutely. I'm working on number nine now and I have no idea if I can finish it. A few years back I had the good fortune of being in the room when Mary Higgins Clark gave a speech about how, as she writes, she wonders if this book will be the one that gets the better of her. That gave me a lot of comfort.

Have I ever doubted that I could get them published? Yes. I wrote the first one only because I was absolutely convinced it would never be published. If I thought for a minute I was writing for a larger audience that myself I never would have done it. That book, The Lover's Knot, was published. And that led me to the last question.

Have I ever doubted I could make this my full time career? Yes, and every day. It is the dream to try and figure out how to write full time while still being able to eat. I know it's possible for some and I hope some day it will be possible for me.


 * My apologies for being late on this. I am knee deep in yet another true crime show script.

5 comments:

Catriona McPherson said...

I love the things you think are the basic building blocks of Clareness!

Robin Spano said...

Very well said. Especially love that sarcasm is not a choice. I agree! If you didn't say it you'd still think it, right?

Susan C Shea said...

Yup - all true and well-said!

Clare ODonohue said...

The Building Blocks of Clareness.... Catriona.. HA! It really is those three things with maybe a dual passion for murder and quilting. And tea.

Clare ODonohue said...

And yes Robin. I hope by now everyone knows that sarcasm is part of my DNA. So even when I'm saying nothing, assume I'm thinking it.