Jennifer Hillier

Hustle and flow

Jul 24, 2012 | Uncategorized

I think back to when I wrote CREEP, long before I had an agent or a
publisher, when I had all the time in the world to just sit and write. I didn’t have a blog or a Facebook author page or a Twitter account. Nobody was asking me for interviews or guest blog posts. I wasn’t going to conferences. There were no reviews to stress over. There was just this book I was writing, and all my energy was spent on making that book the best book I could write.

Those days are long gone.

Not that I’m complaining. Life is good! I’m on the verge of releasing a second book, and I have a terrific agent and an amazing publisher supporting me every step of the way. Over the past couple of years I’ve formed so many great friendships with fellow writers. I’ve received great reviews. I’ve been featured in Suspense magazine and was June’s Fun Fearless Female in Cosmopolitan Philippines. I’ve written for the National Post. I’ve been to ThrillerFest three times and am looking forward to my first Bouchercon this October. I’ve met Jeffery Deaver. I’ve had dinner with Margaret Atwood.

So, no, I’m definitely not complaining. Life is amazing, and if you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, then you’ve been on this journey with me, and you know how crazy-amazing it’s been.


And if you’re a long-time reader, then you also know that I’ve always tried to be honest about my writing life on this blog (maybe too honest!). I’ve always tried to paint an accurate picture of how things are, and how I feel, and what I think.

And keeping with that, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the days when it was just about the writing. When it was just me and my laptop, in a quiet spot in the house, and the only thing I needed to accomplish on any given day was adding a thousand new words to a manuscript nobody had read yet. When there was no pressure. When there were no expectations. When I didn’t have to worry about finding enough hours in the day to do everything that needed to be done.

In 2008, a typical writing day looked like this:

  • Write 1,000 new words for CREEP

Now a typical writing day – today, for example – looks like this:

  • Contribute thoughts about what makes a good ending and send to the National Post
  • Write a guest post for Open Book Toronto about my work space and writing process
  • Tweet and Facebook a teaser about the great Suspense magazine review for FREAK (to be published in their August issue – they called it a “five-star thriller”)
  • Tweet and Facebook a teaser about the fantastic Kirkus review for FREAK (to be published August 1st – they said it was “taught and fraught with surprise twists” and “addictive”)
  • Finish reading a fellow author’s debut novel and send a blurb to his editor
  • Work on a synopsis and proposal for the new book
  • Respond to emails from my editor, agent, and New York publicist
  • Check in with my Toronto publicist and discuss venues for a future Toronto book signing
  • Write 1,000 new words for the new book
  • Write a blog post for The Serial Killer Files
  • Tweet and Facebook about FREAK’s release on August 7th
  • Tweet about blog tour for FREAK
  • Check in with my UK editor about sales for CREEP and promotional plan for FREAK
  • Tweet and Facebook about CREEP’s mass market paperback release on July 31st

I haven’t accomplished all of these things yet today, but by the time I eat dinner (around 7-ish), hopefully everything will be done.

Right now it’s all about the hustle. And I totally get that it will continue to be all about the hustle for a long, long time, because I’m a new author with a lot to prove, and I’ve worked hard to get here, and this is not the time to slow down.

But man, what I wouldn’t give for a little flow. What I wouldn’t give to just coast for a few weeks, and not write anything, and not promote anything, and just lie around, reading books for pleasure and totally unplugging from anything related to social media.

Maybe someday.

But not yet.

Not yet.

(Totally stole those last two lines from Gladiator.)

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