17 November 2023

How do you do it?

 Keep getting asked how do I manage to write one or two novels a year, plus some short stories.

There's nothing to brag about, it's a little inspiration and a lot of determination, long hours at the computer. It helps, as I've gotten older, how I've become less social. I rarely travel (only family emergencies since the pandemic). 

Again, I'm not bragging but I managed to write two novels this year.

When I was younger, I struggled to write a novel in a year, primarily because I worked full time and wrote a lot more short stories. With the decline of short story markets, I write fewer short stories and seem to have a higher rejection level. Such is life.

It helps spending less time on social media, although I'm sure those writers who invest the time help their career. My problem is getting distracted on You Tube and twitter and facebook and I wind up wasting time watching mindless videos.

I am blessed with a helluva imagination, which my children learned early when I read books to them. When I read the same book to them later, they said, "That's the way it goes." I'd forgotten what I'd made up reading those boring-ass baby books to my toddlers. They grew up telling their friends, "Watch out. Daddy makes up stuff."

I live in different worlds – New Orleans of the early 1950s, the early 1900s, the 1980's, 1990's. I recently took a jaunt through 1935 with Hardscrabble Private Eye. My mind floats in and out of those worlds as I image stories and scenes and play to catch up and get the information in note form to follow up when I have time.

A writing frenzy. A rollercoaster life I'm happy to ride.

Don't seem to have time to congratulate my writer friends on their achievements, publications and awards. I'm pulling for all of you and wish everyone long and prosperous careers and happy to see you guys progressing through your careers writing better and better stuff all the time.

Have to get back to work. Just thought of a cool twist in the story I'm writing.

Tree in Covington, Louisiana

That's all for now,



  1. O'Neil, I've just signed a two book deal, with 12 months between deadlines, and I'm feeling the pressure again! I like to write short stories too, and usually manage two a year. But I'm finding that - writing classic mysteries - I need a whole year to get all the spider web of clues in sequence. When I wrote fantasy and rom-com, I could do two books a year. But mystery...wow!
    I admire you and anyone who can write two of those a year.

  2. Elizabeth Dearborn17 November, 2023 13:08

    "It ain't bragging if you really done it." -- unknown

  3. Beautiful tree.

    I'm a fast enough writer but a sloooow self-editor. Really slow.

    Congratulations on the latest novels, O'Neil.

  4. O'Neil, congratulations on ALL those novels and shorts. I love reading your fiction.

    You have become connected with New Orleans in most readers' minds, as Parker is with Boston, Hillerman with the Southwest, etc.--and that's a good thing!

    Keep doing what you're doing.


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