Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Simple Writer's Life

By Vicki Delany

“Writing is a lousy way to make a living but a wonderful way to make a life.” --Jeffrey Siger

I came across that quote by Jeffrey just the other day, in a blog post he wrote for the Poisoned Pen Press Author’s Blog. And it started me thinking.

Fame and (certainly) fortune might have eluded me in my writing career, but I am richer in friends and in experiences because of it.

When I decided I wanted to be a writer, about the last reason was so I’d make new friends, but that turned out to be the best part. Crime writers are (mostly) wonderful, interesting people, and the Canadian crime writing community is close and warm and supportive.

Beyond our borders I’ve been lucky to meet and make friends with countless other writers.

I was at a book event recently with three of my best writer friends and someone asked why we’d do an event together. Weren’t we in competition with each other? No, I don’t think we are. Unlike ‘literary’ writers, who live and die by grants and awards (which only a small number or even just one of them can get), we aren’t in competition. Unlike, say, a house or a car, people don’t usually buy one book. At a multi-author event, people often buy one by each author. Even if they don’t buy everything, they might take a card and get a second author’s book another time. 

Travel goes with friends. Book tours have taken me to some great places I might not otherwise have visited: Hawaii with Deborah Turrell Atkinson, Arizona and California with Donis Casey, North Carolina with Mary Jane Maffini and Elizabeth Duncan, where we were hosted by the incomparable Molly Weston. I look forward all year to the annual road trip down to Bethesda, Maryland for Malice Domestic with a carload of my Canadian buddies such as Erika Chase, R.J. Harlick or Barbara Fradkin. 

Canadian writers Erika Chase, Barbara Fradkin, Vicki Delany, Janet Bolin at Oakmont Festival of Mystery

But all of that costs money.

As the first part of Jeffrey’s sentence says, “a lousy way to make a living.”

I am often asked if I make a living out of this.

In short, no.

I say that I supplement my income. I’ve made sacrifices to be able to have the writing life, but nothing I consider too onerous. I like the simple life out here in the country, and it suits me. 

A life of writing, reading, good friends, the occasional travel to interesting places.
A wonderful life.

Vicki Delany’s newest novel is A Cold White Sun, sixth in the critically acclaimed Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press.  She is also the author of the Klondike Gold Rush series and standalone novels of psychological suspense. Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki enjoys the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario. 
Visit Vicki at,, and twitter:
@vickidelany. She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave.


Sheila Connolly said...

Welcome, Vick1. You're right: the wonderful group of friends that came with the package was an unexpected but delightful bonus. The community of writers is extraordinary.

Jeffrey Siger said...

You were precisely who I had in mind when I uttered those words at a panel in Crimefest.:) Thanks for making it all worthwhile for so many of us, Vicki.

Janet Bolin said...

I agree - it's a fabulous way to make a life and I've made many wonderful friends through it.

Sandra Parshall said...

Friendships with readers and other writers are the true reward for the work of writing a book. Those friendships have enriched my life enormously.

Vicki Delany said...

Gee, Jeffrey. You're welcome.

Donis Casey said...

It's always been my contention that good fortune (and joy) are not finite commodities, but cumulative. And catching, too.

Vicki Delany said...

So right, Donis