Sunday, May 1, 2016


A young writer recently had a discussion about writing. When I told her that I write every day for the majority of the day, she said, "I can't write all the time, because I have to have a life." 

I understood what she meant, but I realized later that she didn't understand what I was saying. What I should've told her was, "Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt." Everything she is doing in her life, I did decades ago. At this stage of my life, I'm getting to do what my busy life wouldn't allow me to all those years when my mind wasn't focused on doing anything creative. 

There was a time when I was at all the new nightclub openings. (Anybody remember Leviticus or Fun City in Manhattan or The Scene and B Square in New Jersey?)

There was a time when I went to every show at Madison Square Garden that I could afford. 

There was a time when I was a newlywed.

There was a time when I was a new mom who was all infatuated with the little blessing that had come to live with us. 

There was a time when I had to give most of my energy on pleasing a demanding boss. 

And then there were many years when I devoted many hours a week to running the clothing distribution department as a volunteer for my 15,000-member church.

Those things were all part of my twenties, thirties and forties. Once I reached my fifties and my kids were grown, I no longer had parenting responsibilities and was also quickly losing interest in my job. It could've been because I was raised by an entrepreneurial father who owned his own successful business from the time I was five years old, but I began to feel as though it was now or never to do my own thing or it might not happen.

It's been sixteen years since I started writing and six years since I published my first novel, and I am so thankful I've had the opportunity to experience my dream.

Being able to work at home and write all day, to create something from my own imagination, to meet readers and other authors from all over the world, and to build a readership is amazing. Some people feel that if you're not meeting people in person and shaking their hand or getting their autograph, then that contact is meaningless, but they are so wrong. Ten years ago, I wanted to meet Beverly Jenkins, one of my favorite authors, in person. Of course, I "met" her at her Atlanta book signings in the past, but today we have communicated with each other directly, and she has personally messaged me on Facebook. I have received priceless advice and encouragement from other authors as a result of our online connections.

Different things carry importance at different stages of our lives. Right now, I'd rather be writing than doing anything else in the world other than being a beach bum. God willing, I plan to write until I am too old to put anything on paper that makes sense!


dwilliams said...

Yes Chicki. I concur that it depends on the stage we are at in life that builds and direct our reality and focus. Great reading this! Thanks for sharing.

Jackie H. said...

I get what you're saying, but I think we still have to make room to engage with others because that is what keeps our work current no matter what the stage...unless all of my work would seem dated in my opinion...

Chicki Brown said...

As a fiction writer, I've learned that I don't need to go to the club or to Nigeria to authentically write about it. That's what research is all about. If you do your research right, you can write about anything. When I wrote the book about the stripper, I found a couple of people who tended bar and worked security in Atlanta strip clubs.

I've received many reader comments on how well I wrote about a character's occupation or the setting location. Also, nothing beats experience. I can write about being a mother, a divorcee, a Christian, working in an office, being a wife, being any age between 1 and 60 and so many other topics, because I've been there and done that.