Lying Awake and Making a Literary Life

Lying Awake was as good as I hoped. Mark Salzman writes so concisely and clearly that there are no wrong notes. His writing seems simple. And yet, when I looked for articles about him, I found that it took him six years to research, write, and re-write the book. Some of the time he wrote in his car with a towel wrapped around his head to make things quiet, and aluminum foil on his lap to keep his cats from climbing up. Perhaps his writing is good because of what he leaves out.

Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See is funny and very discouraging because it is extraordinarily realistic. She is writing about being a full-time writer and what it takes, and I find I don’t really want to do all that. There is the reality of writing letters, and doing talks, and promoting books, and doing articles about things. I have a job, and it’s teaching. I also just want to write. In this I am not alone, I know.

At least I write, which most would-be writers do not, and I have published two books, even if it was almost by accident.

6 thoughts on “Lying Awake and Making a Literary Life

  1. Cynthia Carver says:

    I fussed at my cat this morning due to her pawing and wanting to sit on the keyboard. The aluminum foil remedy for frustration may not work for me, although will have to give more thought.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. DMT says:

      I tried the aluminum foil trick for a while, and found it more distracting than the cat! Apparently, I’m capable of continuing to write while petting a cat that is between me and the screen, but the noise of the foil was maddening.

  2. DMT says:

    Gabriela Pereira, who leads the DIYMFA community and wrote a solid guide to becoming a writer, advises conducting experiments like that – but only one at a time, and giving each experiment more than a week to see if it pans out. I haven’t been able to be as systematic as she advises, though. Every day seems to be different. (

  3. Amy Laurel says:

    I don’t think the hard work of promotions, book tours, writing articles get highlighted much because not many people get excited about that. I wouldn’t let that discourage you from your goals. Although, it doesn’t sound like you are what with two books published! Good luck in your writing!

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