Saturday, October 17, 2009

No Title Comes To Mind

John Ramsey Miller

Writing a blog is sort of like having a weekly column in a newspaper. In fact that’s what it is, only without the publisher paying you for it, or having newspaper for priming your fires after you’ve read it. Don’t get me wrong, I get a kick out of it or I wouldn’t do it. The blogs here are mostly about writing thrillers, defining our craft, and I try to blog about my writing process, the rules, what I’ve learned and the shortcuts to being published and becoming best sellers, which all published authors are sworn not to share with laboring inspirons. Often I blog here about what I do when I’m not writing, which is sometimes the better part of a day. I know it can make dull reading, but when I judge contests for ITW or MWA awards I always have to read the bad as well as the good.

Let’s be honest here. At this point I have served up everything I know about writing that came to mind in some form since I began writing this blog. Here’s what I have to write about:

A) Writing process, technique, style, character, story, plot, re-writing, setting mood, place as character, dialog, promotion, working with editors, etc…

B) Growing older. I just turned 60 last week, but I feel a robust fifty-seven. My hair is turning gray, I’m more easily winded than I used to be, and my eyesight is no longer eagleish. I am also more cynical, have a lower threshold for annoying things and boorish people, am more interested in making my time and effort count, spending more time with my grandchildren, and my animals, whom very likely could all care less.

(C) For more blog subjects, I have my wife, my three children, their spouses and six grandchildren, three dogs, 75 chickens, close friends & casual acquaintances, problems we all have, and problems only I could have, and hunting and stalking game a few times a year to get wild organic meat for our table so we can stay healthy and trim.

Life is filled with great moments. Sunday our youngest grand baby kept spitting out her pacifier, and her four-year-old cousin kept putting it back in the baby’s mouth. After repeating this five or six times, the four-year old looked at me exasperated and said, “It won’t stay in her mouth because she doesn’t have any teeth. I don't know why she didn't get any.” Life is filled with moments like that if you just slow down and take the time to open your eyes and ears.

After so many years on the planet, I have learned a few things, and it has never been more apparent that I have a lot more to learn. I know that things you don’t need, but merely want because they call to your ego, are not important and you will probably be happier without the added complication. I’ve also discovered that nobody with an ego wants to hear it. I never did when people told me the same thing.

I am a far better writer now than I ever have been before because I’ve learned as I have written along over the years, and as I have read more good (and bad) books. I have experienced more, and I’ve figured out more of what makes people tick and know better how to get that on paper.

The only thing I’ll say, is that getting older is great experience if you just pay attention as you do it. So, are any of you getting older too?


  1. Great human insight, John, as always.
    One thing I've learned: If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself. :-)

  2. I felt perpetually 25 until my oldest graduated high school last year. At the same time I realized that my middle son was having serious discussions about marine biology and my youngest knows a surprising amount about musculo-skeletal anatomy and uses words like endocrine and genetic anomolies in sentences without blinking.
    I am still only 4.1 decades old, but suddenly feel as if I have grown up. I'm no longer a kid. For that matter, if my oldest suffers a foolish indiscretion I could easily become a grandparent.
    The thing is, having completed the first third I relish the idea of the next third of my life.
    Yeah, I'm going to live to 120. And I'm really looking foward to it.