For those who aren't familiar with Bob's work, he's the author of the Captain Grande Angil mystery series, among other works. A sea captain himself, Bob knows his way around a salty yarn. You can learn a lot by visiting his Amazon Author page.
I'll let Bob take it from here.
I started my writing career back in the early 90s when wholesale fish prices fell and the recession turned the charter boat business into a virtual treasure hunt for tourists. Visiting sport divers and fishermen became an endangered species here on the Maine coast, as would the cod in the decade to come. With boat and mortgage payments due, I had to try something else. I bought an old Dell computer and started punching out stories. My first was the retelling of an experience swimming with a pair of humpback whales in Massachusetts's Bay -- shh, don’t tell anyone, the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits fraternization with whales. Anyway, the story ended-up in the pages of a regional boating magazine, which eventually led to a column and a monthly gig writing features for the same magazine, which, in turn, opened the door for gigs with other commercial and recreational boating and fishing magazines.
There’s no question the daily grind of writing for a periodical helps a writer’s productivity. Nothing motivates like a deadline, an in-your-face editor or publisher, and the threat of not getting a paycheck. Conversely, being on your own and writing on spec, particularly a novel, requires a different mind-set, one that must avoid distractions and focus clearly on an end result. For example, right now, I’m alternately thinking of: (1) heading to the marina and opening the hatches in the boat to get some fresh air into the bilge; (2) taking a shower; (3) getting a carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing from the cafe down the street; (4) edging the magnolia in the front yard; (5) bringing my 400 Sky Vodka bottles to the redemption center; (6) calling a therapist to find out if I have ADD or maybe just a drinking problem; (6) emailing M. Night Shyamalan and asking him what was going through his mind while filming After Earth; (7) figuring out how I can scan multiple pages and turn them into a single PDF without simultaneously tearing the remaining hair out of my follicle-challenged head. I could go on, but you get the point.
As Jack Parr once said: “I see my life as an obstacle, with me as the chief obstacle.”
I should be writing the second novel in my Grande Angil Mystery series. It’s there, in it’s own little Scrivener project file, just waiting for me. I feel it beckoning like the call of a Siren, a Siren because while it lies there innocuous and patient on my hard drive, it has the power to consume me thoroughly, heart and soul, holding me hostage for twelve or more hours a day, numbing my legs and turning my arm muscles to pudding. Instead of yanking out roots in the yard, chopping up stumps with a pick axe, diving on moorings, or heading to the north woods to hike a mountain, I’m living out a fantasy in my head and putting it to page and paper. For what?
Sometimes I question what it is that compels me to write. Is it my ego? Do I need some third party to validate me as a person of value? Is it the prospect of hitting the big time and making a ton of money? (HA! That last one always makes me laugh, especially on the day I get my royalty payment.)
Nope, it’s none of the above, because when all is said and done, and I take an honest look at myself in the mirror, I always see the same thing: a storyteller in desperate need of a shave, a good night’s sleep, and a new bathrobe.
Seriously, writers don’t get a lot of sleep, and a lot of them do their best work in their pajamas.