The twentieth Magna Cum Murder conference took place this past weekend, October 24-26th. I was fortunate enough to be there, and I had a great time. If you’re a fan of crime fiction or think you want to write your own, I can’t recommend this conference highly enough. It is a wonderful gathering of authors, fans, and writers.
On Friday my husband and I gave a panel on ghost hunting in real life. We had a great turn-out for what was the first panel of the conference and we had some great questions at the end. We were approached by people all weekend who wanted to share their own ghost stories with us, which was great fun. This was my thirteenth year volunteering at Magna and my fourth or fifth year doing a panel. I still get geeked out when an author comes up to tell me he or she enjoyed our panel!
There were many great panels to attend at Magna, as there are every year. I can’t do them justice in a re-cap here, but there was one comment made by one of the authors which really stuck with me and that I want to share. He was on a panel called “The Clark Kents” and each of the writers had a “day job.” They were discussing how they balanced that day job with their writing. Several authors were early morning writers, another tries to use his lunch hour (but can’t get his boss to leave him alone – oh how I can relate!), and others worked later in the day. One of the authors, a morning person, jumped in to point out that there is no magical formula for a writing schedule – we each need to pick out what works for us. That really struck me. So often it feels like we are asking authors about their writing schedule because we are hoping to find a magic formula for writing. This author I admire works on this schedule so if I imitate him, I’ll be able to succeed too. But the fact is, there is no magic formula. Morning work might work great for several of the authors I admire, but that doesn’t mean it will for me. I am not a morning person and I never have been (from birth, folks – I was born at 3 in the afternoon). Instead of trying to imitate someone else’s writing schedule, I need to find one which works for me. We all do. So by all means, ask the authors you admire about the schedule you use, maybe even give it a try, but don’t feel like you’ll never make it if you don’t follow their schedule. In the end the goal of your asking and experimenting should be to find what works best for you.