Book Signing and How I Get My Writing Done

Good news! If you are in the Farmington, MI area on the evening of Saturday, September 28th, you can stop by a neat little book store called Off the Beaten Path Books, where I will be having a book signing and release party for Singer! I will be joined by two other local authors, so it’s a great opportunity to check out some new reading material. If you already have a copy of my novel, you can bring it, and I will sign it for you, or you can give some business to the book store and buy one there. There’s also an Irish pub right next door, so why not make a night of it? 

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I thought I would let you all in on my writing set up. Most people assume that all writing must be done in a quiet space, probably at the computer in the writer’s own private home office, a nice cup of coffee and some inspirational music to help set the tone of absolute uninterrupted creative concentration.

Man, that would be great, if I worked that way.

Instead, I get my most productive writing done at my day job. I work as a cashier at a Japanese grocery. In fact, that job is the whole reason that I started writing seriously. That, and the fact that I found some inspiration for a story that I thought I could actually get behind. The reason that I get my best writing done at a job where I’m being constantly interrupted is simple: I am easily distracted by the internet. And video games. And books that I want to read. Oh, and I wanted to practice playing that song on the piano. All of those thing, though, are impossible to do while working the cash register at a grocery store.

Because I’m not allowed to use my phone at work (which makes sense, of course. Highly unprofessional and not good for customer service.) I can’t sit there and browse the internet or play stupid phone games all shift. Reading a book is also difficult, So all that was left to me was to write. 

Of course, that means writing longhand, too, since I can’t exactly bring my computer to work to type things out.

So, I bought a notebook and a pen, and I write during any downtime I get. The first two hours of the shift are the most productive, since I work the morning shift, and we’re pretty slow then, but sometimes I get a second burst of productivity in the after-lunch lull, too. Yes, it can be incredibly frustrating to be interrupted, most often mid-word, by someone who wants to buy groceries, especially when the words are really flowing. But there are some cool side benefits, as well. If you sit at your station writing furiously in a notebook, but can still manage to be friendly to your customers when they come up to you, they just might notice and ask you what you’re writing. Most assume that I’m keeping a journal, but when I tell them that I’m working on a novel, they tend to get really interested. I have a number of regular customers now who not only ask for status updates on my work, but cheer me on as well. They were some of the first people to buy Singer when I published it.

And now, that public writing is acting as its own marketing, too, since when people ask me what I’m writing, I can tell them that it’s the sequel to my first novel, and then tell them where they can find that first novel if they’re interested. It’s really great fun!

So in the evening, when Nick asks me how work was, I say, “Great! I got five pages of my notebook filled today, and two new customers asked me about my writing!” 

And that’s how I get my writing done: Longhand, in the midst of the chaos of a grocery store, with constant interruptions and screaming babies. On a good day, I come home with my hand throbbing, and I wouldn’t really change it at this point.

Just thought you might be interested. 🙂

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