Thursday Thirteen: Why I do What I Do


I was thinking up all sorts of cool Thirteens to do today as I was driving to the salon to spend some time with my favorite diva, but it’s what I found when I got home that swayed me to this particular idea.

I found it first in a Google alert, then in my inbox, and finally in my feed reader. (Or I will, once I get that far into the day’s feeds). IT is a review of The Demo Tapes, written by Anna at Diary of an Eccentric, and I’m over the moon about it. It was like I was reading about a favorite book, not MY book, if that makes sense.

It’s reviews like this that remind me why I do what I do. But there are oh, so many more reasons why…

1. In fiction, I can be anyone. I can have any job. I can explore the world.

2. Characters like Trevor have a way of seeing the world in a way that I don’t. More than once, I’ve been upset about something, only to wake up in the middle of the night hearing him voice the silver lining I hadn’t been able to see.

3. My characters make me laugh and I love to laugh.

4. I get to take stupid things and make magic out of them. Like Buying Chicken. Have you guys read this one? It’s in Demo Tapes: Year 1 if you missed it and want to see it all edited and made pretty.

5. I mean, c’mon. How many of us go to the grocery regularly? What’s fun about it after awhile? Yet Trevor finds a way. Trevor always finds a way.

6. Writing Mitchell and Kerri lets my romantic side, buried under my daily deluge of heavy metal and real life, out. If you missed The Art Book earlier this month, here you go.

7. Many writers will tell you this: writing restores my equilibrium. With the new research into ADD and how it affects girls, if I was a child, I’d be medicated to the gills. Instead, I get to sit and write and feel at peace. Or bitchy, if I’m working on a fight scene.

8. Because I have both my BA and MFA in English writing of some sort (My BA also includes journalism and PR as well as fiction; my MFA is only in creative writing. Only!), if I ever have to find a job, I think “Do you want fries with that?” will become my catchphrase. Despite the journalistic training, I just don’t have the interest to follow up on that. Besides, if you think the state of publishing is bad these days, you should look at newspapers!

9. I do this because everyone says to do what you love and the money will follow. Let me tell you, there is some VERY SLOW money following me. Yes, The Demo Tapes have turned a profit, but I quickly turned that back into the cause.

10. It’s not just writing that I love. It’s books. It’s reading. That’s why I started my Win a Book blog. It’s about sharing that love — and being the change I want to see. I want readers to hear about authors other than the usual suspects. So many really good writers are being told that their sales aren’t high enough for a publisher to support their career anymore. Too many authors are hearing this news. Hopefully, I can help be an agent of change for some of them.

11. The publishing industry is changing by the hour, it sometimes feels like. But one thing that will never change is that readers want to read and writers need to write. That relationship will always continue, no matter what.

12. I love to create, and nothing I’ve tried does it for me. I’m a sucky musician. (There IS a reason why you never get to read ShapeShifter lyrics!) My drawings are often confused for something my kids produced. The one time I tried to knit, my toes wound up as part of the scarf. In other words: I’m useless at anything but this.

13. What I’m trying to say already is that this is who I am. It’s what I do. There are days when it’s hard, when I want to walk away and close down this blog and throw any copies of The Demo Tapes into the recycling… but that’s because I’m human. I need reminders like comments from you guys — and reviews like Anna’s to remind me exactly why I do what I do.

I do it ’cause this is who I am.

Thanks for letting me be myself.



  1. Adelle Laudan

    February 18, 2009 9:54 pm

    Amen sister! I had a brief comment today on a chat I was participating in. A lady chimed in to tell me I was one of her favorite writers. It made my day! Hell, it made my week! lol
    “do what you love and the money will follow” I’m keeping my fingers crossed for both of us on this one! LOL
    Happy T13.

  2. Karen

    February 18, 2009 10:15 pm

    Another interesting and creative list of 13 ideas. I always enjoy reading your lists every week!

  3. Janet

    February 18, 2009 10:34 pm

    I loved what you said in #2…and I love to grocery shop! Always have 🙂 I adored wandering around the grocery stores in foreign countries, too!

  4. Celticlibrarian

    February 18, 2009 11:32 pm

    And if you would please continue doing what you do, that will make me happy. 😀

  5. Alice Audrey

    February 19, 2009 12:07 am

    Great list! I know exactly how you feel.

  6. Thorne

    February 19, 2009 2:42 am

    Yay, you!!! I get you on sooo many levels here. I too especially love seeing the world through a character’s eyes, and the delight and surprise I feel when one does something totally unexpected, yet perfectly in sinc with who s/he is!
    The same sort of thing often happens as I create in various media as the piece seems to take on a life of its own and guide me in its creation. Too cool, eh?
    Great TT!
    I’m up at both Thornesworld
    and with my very first TT at my new blog, Eclectic Witch!
    I hope you’ll stop by!

  7. Vera

    February 19, 2009 6:41 am

    I’d really have to come back and read what you’ve got here, you sound very interesting 🙂 Great list!

  8. Tink

    February 19, 2009 8:29 am

    I’m glad you do what you do! It’s a win-win scenario for both you and your readers! 🙂
    Thanks for visiting my TT.

  9. Anne

    February 19, 2009 10:08 am

    The rest of us are lucky that you feel the compulsion to write. Your addiction is our gain :).

  10. julia

    February 19, 2009 10:19 am

    I can relate, Susan. We are sisters on so many levels. As for the ADD – it’s my firm belief that no book would ever get written by anyone who didn’t exhibit some form of obsessed driven quality. That’s just how it is.

    I’ve reviewed Amy Ruttan’s Anglo-Saxon age book today, with a reminder that your review for ‘The Demo Tapes’ is up next week.

  11. Carmen

    February 19, 2009 10:31 am

    I sometimes feel that we writers have a slightly crazy streak, which is what makes us good writers. I’m glad you found the review. I know I’m starving for more reviews, no matter how many I get 🙂

  12. Anna

    February 19, 2009 10:40 am

    I didn’t realize my review would affect you so much. I really enjoyed this list. And I’m hoping the money follows you, too!

  13. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    February 19, 2009 11:33 am

    Anna’s review was fantastic, wasn’t it?

  14. Amy Ruttan

    February 19, 2009 11:38 am

    All those points are very true.

    If I lived way back when, with all the voices in my head I’d be in the loony bin. LOL.

  15. Susan

    February 19, 2009 11:48 am

    Carmen, I knew about the review; I’d sent Anna the review copy, after all! I just didn’t know it’d be so GOOD.

    And Anna, part of the reason why it affected me as it did was because you’re the first of all the reviews so far who hasn’t been around a long time. You walked into The Demo Tapes about as blind as if I’d come to you and asked if you’d do a review. And you got it. That’s the big thing — you got it.

  16. Chameleon

    February 19, 2009 2:27 pm

    I’m feeling the itch to get back to my fiction, thanks to your Thirteen… I’ve got this lovely character who has been patiently waiting for me to pick up his story for over a year now. And boy do I -get- what you’re saying about ADD. Turns out that my experimenting with “forbidden substances” in high school is what kept me straight enough to make it through graduation first in my class. Nothing has ever been the same since – but life is a lot more fun.

  17. On a limb with Claudia

    February 19, 2009 2:33 pm

    How exciting that you are so happy with what you do! 🙂


  18. Thomma Lyn

    February 19, 2009 11:04 pm

    We love you, Susan! And we love the guys, too.

    Keep doing what you do — you’re the real thing, a shining talent. And you write damn good stories about some of my favorite fellas!

  19. Shelley Munro

    February 20, 2009 5:41 am

    I had to laugh about #9. Sometimes I think about giving up but many things on your list are the reasons I keep going. We’re writers and that’s what we do.

  20. Lissa

    February 21, 2009 11:09 pm

    Your list was fabulous. Keep being YOU!

  21. Michelle

    February 24, 2009 5:52 pm

    You can tell you are passionate about your writing and I think that’s beautiful. My mother is also a writer and just loves it. I love to watch my mom’s excitement every time she gets a new writing project. Thanks so much for your great advice regarding my writers block. Take care my friend.

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