I enjoy following several sports on TV, so I’ve seen quite a bit of football during the past couple of months. I’ve watched college bowl games and professional play-offs, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming Super Bowl (and, by the way, I totally called the teams who would be in it). I also follow NASCAR racing (though not as faithfully as I once did), enjoy the “other” football, as it’s called here in the South — soccer, and am glued to the television every two years for whichever season’s Olympic games are being aired.
“Competitive reality TV,” as it’s dubbed on the website Television Without Pity, sort of continues the sports theme. I’ve never seen “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race,” but I do enjoy “Project Runway,” “Face Off” and some of the talent competitions – “So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Voice,” “American Idol” (which I haven’t watched much for the last couple of seasons). And though my husband teases me mercilessly for it, I absolutely love competitive cooking shows. “Top Chef,” “Chopped,” “Iron Chef,” various food network challenges — something about those flying knives and leaping flames and frantic shouts of “behind you, behind you!” just get my blood pumping. They’re fun, and I enjoy rooting for my favorite contestants to win.
Which made me think — how boring would a competitive writing show be? Let’s face it — while we all hope our product is interesting and exciting, writing itself is not a compelling spectator activity. We sit in a chair, stare transfixed at a glowing screen, pound on keyboards — hitting the backspace and delete keys repeatedly — occasionally argue with the voices in our heads. While some writers perhaps look beautiful and camera-ready as they work, I’m not convinced those exceptions are among my closest group of writer friends. Many of us confess to working in comfy, grubby clothes (p.j.s being the uniform of choice admitted in whispers), with hair tumbled every which way, no make-up and plenty of coffee, soft drinks and chocolate near at hand. Even when those sports or competitive reality programs I enjoy are blaring from the television, my computer is usually in my lap and I’m writing or editing or researching or making notes (while also keeping up with my Facebook friends). Despite that less-than-glamorous description of my career, hunky Mike Rowe is unlikely to visit me for his “Dirty Jobs” show (darn it) — because, handsome as he is, watching him sitting in a chair and typing for an hour would hardly be riveting TV.
Writers on television are often shown attending glittering parties, chasing criminals, meeting with long lines of adoring fans — but that’s not showing them at work. In fact, I often wonder when do those fictional authors actually write? Few of us can make a living scribbling a page or two a week — or even a day, for that matter. All kinds of adventures are taking place in our imaginations, but to share them with our readers, we have to separate ourselves from others and take on the solitary task of putting words to paper — or screen, to be more contemporary. Definitely not a spectator career.
Like all modern writers, I’ve been encouraged to have more of an on-line “presence.” This blog, the flashy website I’m going to have someday (really), a Facebook page and Amazon author page (both now in place – check them out!), and — gulp — Twitter. So, I started a Twitter account, wilkinsgina (the reverse already being taken). Other people seem to tweet often, finding interesting things to say and report. I stare at that blank screen that faces me so routinely, and try to think of something fascinating to send out into twitterspace. I’m enchanted by my artistic husband and our three brilliant offspring, of course, but I realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm for my family. I don’t care to discuss politics or religion, because those are private for me, and I’m not exactly a scholar of either, anyway. Some people seem to tweet their every move during the day, but that hardly seems appropriate for me:
“Sitting in my chair under an afghan, drinking tea and trying to convince my current hero to stop being a stubborn jerk.” Is that too many letters? Not exactly fascinating, anyway.
“Just wrote a complete paragraph and it’s a keeper!” Well, no. Only another writer would see that as a noteworthy accomplishment.
“Actually met my word-count goal today so I’m rewarding myself with a bag of M & Ms and the newest J.D. Robb thriller!” Big deal, I hear you all say with a groan.
So. I have a Twitter account. And a blog. And a Facebook page I also struggle to make interesting. Someday I’ll have a real website. Maybe. I hope you’ll all visit me in those places – I promise to do my best to find something worthwhile to say, at least occasionally.
But mostly, I hope you’ll enjoy the books I produce during my noncompetitive, undramatic work routine. My latest Harlequin Special Edition, DOCTORS IN THE WEDDING, is still available in stores, and the next, HUSBAND FOR A WEEKEND, will be released in April (click the Books Available Now! tab for details). Soon I’ll be able to announce the release of a Kindle-exclusive paranormal suspense novel entitled WAKE ME — I’ll tweet that release date as soon as it’s confirmed. Can’t wait to share details with you of that somewhat different story I so enjoyed writing as a challenge to myself.
Do you tweet? What do you like to read from the tweeters you follow? Feel free to contact me at any of the mentioned sources or leave a comment here. I love hearing from readers!