Lazy Writers and Productive Creatives by Matt Rees

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There are lazy writers, writers who can’t say no, and then there are
creative people who are able to combine their muse with their media.

I’ve discovered this in recent months a couple of different ways. First, on
a recent book tour, I spent a week at a book festival where I was together
with the same bunch of authors all week. I asked many of them if they’d
agree to be interviewed over email for my blog. All said yes. Some very
significant writers, including UK bestseller Tony Parsons, wrote swift
responses to my questions, and you can read them on

Others agreed to do the interview only to prevaricate when I sent the
questions. They suggested that they’d be able to get to the interview once
they’d finished a current freelance project or completed a three month
writing fellowship. Now, I don’t believe it takes long to write the answers
to my questions, so either they were blowing me off or they harbored deep
reservations against….work – or they think a blog interview is a more
serious thing than I do…. Several others gave me email addresses which
turned out not to exist, but they were all somewhat elderly ladies, so I’m
prepared to ascribe that to forgetfulness and lack of internet savvy rather
than a desire to throw me off the scent.

More recently, I asked Tess Gerritsen, the best-selling US thriller writer
whom I also met at a book fair, if she’d read my (forthcoming in the US,
currently available in the UK) historical mystery MOZART’S LAST ARIA and
perhaps supply a comment on the book – favorable of course – for my
publishers to post on the cover. In the business, it’s called a “blurb.”

Even though she embarked last month on three months of daily readings to
promote her excellent new novel THE SILENT GIRL – a strenuous schedule that
includes no fewer than two book readings a day in its UK stretch – Tess
zipped back her blurb double-quick. “Mozart, music, and murder seamlessly
blend together in this fascinating historical mystery. A perfect read to go
with a crackling fire and a pot of hot chocolate,” Tess wrote.

I’ll admit that Tess is a self-confessed super-hardworking Chinese-American
brought up in something approaching the Tiger Mommy style (Gerritsen isn’t,
as you may have noticed, Chinese; it’s her married name). Nonetheless I
noted the contrast between my approach to blogging, say, or Tess’s
responsiveness — and the attitude of the other authors who shall remain
nameless (because while they mightn’t have time to answer my questions, they
no doubt spend hours roaming the blogosphere aimlessly…)

Having written last week about how writers oughtn’t to be churning out
novels the way doctors dig out babies on time with a Caesarian, I realize I
may be opening myself up to accusations of a double standard. And of course
I reject such accusations by saying: Object if you will, but I’ll simply
delete your comments or make fun of you online.

That’s the great thing about blogs. I don’t have time to be consistent. I’ve
got blurbs to write.

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