Tag Archives: Patricia Marcantonio

Quitting the Day Job

On Oct. 1, 2010, I quit my day job to focus on full-time writing.
Was I excited? You bet.
Was I ready to get to work? Oh yeah.
Was I terrified? Certainly.
Let me tell you how it came about.
One day I decided that I was not going to wait until I was sixty something to focus on writing. I paid off all my credit cards, let go my housekeeper, saved up dough and quit work.
My family and friends were so supportive, particularly my husband Jerry, who is still at his day job. It did take some good talking on my part. I told him that instead of being holed up in my office writing in the evenings, that I would write during the day, so we could spend more time together. We would save money on me not driving or buying work clothes or lunch, or going out to dinner because I was too damn tired to cook.
I got us used to living on his salary.
There will be sacrifices, like not going out to buy exactly what I want. But I pray the old saying — The more you make, the more you spend — will hold true.
While it will take time to get used to my new work schedule, I can hardly wait to start. (On the advice of my daughter, I took a day or two off to decompress and it was a great suggestion.)
When I am ready to start my newly revised career, I have four writing projects ready to work on. I also will save time during the week to market my writing. Hopefully, those projects will pay off with money, as well as personal reward.
I am so fortunate that I was able to quit the day job, to tell the stories that are bursting inside me. To try and fail, to do and succeed.
Now the real work starts, but it is what I love to do. And what more could any writer, in fact, any person ask for?

Patricia Marcantonio

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Filed under Archives 2010, Writing

Philosophizing on writing

During dinner one evening, my friend and I talked about family, what’s happening in the world and our backyard, but ultimately the discussion turned to writing. Our usual chat over sushi.

We each had stories that we were working on, so we brainstormed ideas, ironed out character bumps, filled in plot holes.

But that night, the talk turned deeper, to the basics of why we sit in front of the computer and produce thoughts, characters, words, stories, essays and poems. The question was what do we want to get out of writing.

It was a damn good question.

My friend said that while having her work published would be great, she strived for perfection. To make each word and sentence count, to make each meaningful and to make the story go forward. That was what was keeping her writing.

“And you’re writing for the money,” she said.

“No,” I answered. I wrote so that I could get to a place where I would have the freedom to write full-time.

I think we both said aloud something we had probably been thinking for a long time — What we wanted to get out of the writing.

That is a good question for all to ask.

Do we want recognition? Or to see our name in print? Do we want the joy of expressing those thoughts and feelings that seem out of place if we speak them?

I have friends who are freelance writers who must write to pay bills, while others want to tell the stories within them as only they can and want satisfaction from that process.

Others may want an outlet for creativity, as music and painting is for others.

My friend reminded me of what Joanne Pence, a best-selling author, said at the workshop sponsored by The Other Bunch in April. Joanne said that writing and publishing are two separate things.

That makes total sense because the discussion was not what we wanted out of publishing, but what we wanted out of writing. That indeed makes them two different things with two different directions and sometimes, the twain will never meet.

What do we want out of writing?

Our answers may change over time, or not. But there is no wrong answer.

There is just the writing.

– Patricia Marcantonio

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Filed under Archives 2010, Question of the Month, Writing

You’ve got to love and hate the Internet

We all can admit to this one.
The Internet is a wonderful tool, for not only communication, but also research. For my latest book, I used street level Google maps for the city where I have set the novel, among other great tools.
The Internet allows us to pitch stories on line and keep in touch with other writers through such sites as email, Facebook and Twitter, the latter of which I especially love.
However, the Internet also poses a danger as a vicious eater of time through those very social networking avenues.
I wanted to share this blog from veteran freelance writer, author, and political blogger Julie Fanselow about how she deals with the balance.
She doesn’t go on Facebook until she’s put in time first on her writing.
So enjoy this inspiring column, which she so generously let us post on our site.
I may not be as dedicated as Julie, but I’m working on it.

“My last morning on Facebook”

Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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Filed under Archives 2010, Question of the Month, Writing

The Master McKee and perseverance

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a weekend workshop by Robert McKee on writing comedy and thrillers. It was a great time and I can truly say that I consider him one of the best writing teachers I‘ve ever encountered. He’s full of life, full of ideas and challenges. He is a force and no matter if you agree or disagree, he will get your writer’s blood moving through your body.
After I received the interview posted below through one of the many writing e-newsletters that come my way, I passed it on to the other members of The Other Bunch. Our fellow writer and Web master Bonnie Dodge decided to share it with the readers of our site. What struck me most was his discussion about perseverance.
It is such a rich and daunting word for writers. How many times have we got rejections or have been consumed with self-doubt and thought, Why the hell am I doing this? Why continue? Why persevere?
As writers — the kind of writer who loves the written word and telling stories — we are left with no choice but to persevere. We are compelled to continue for our sanity, for our emotions, for our life. When we don’t persevere, then we are left feeling emptier than a blank page.
McKee talks about persevering toward perfection.
Perfection is another big word and I think about that wonderful speech in “Moonstruck” when Nicolas Cage’s character says that only snowflakes are perfect. So correct.
When I think perfection, “The Great Gatsby,” “Catch-22” and some of my other favorite books come to mind. For me, they are perfect when the language, character, story and emotion come together and bring the book to life.

How do we accomplish our own bit of perfection? Write, read, study the craft and keep writing.

Now, that is something to which we can all aim, to which we all can persevere.

-Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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Filed under Archives 2009, Question of the Month, Writing