Friday, October 16, 2009

On the road again: Bouchercon, Indianapolis, day 3

Last night, my sleep was almost back to the amount that leaves me feeling awful every morning, so by comparison with the past couple of days it was positively wonderful. After a round of work, I headed out for a quick lunch at the P.F. Chang's across the street (always eat at the bar in that restaurant if you can and you're in a hurry). The reason I was rushing was that the con was hosting a big event in the convention center down the street: an interview with the Guest of Honor, author Michael Connelly.

I've been a Connelly fan for a very long time, so I enjoyed listening to him answer what admittedly were largely routine questions. What particularly struck me, though, were how so many of his comments echoed the feelings of many other successful writers (and my own). For example, he said,

* your only loyalty is to the work

* write for an audience of one, yourself

* write regularly; it's your job

* "keep your head down when you write" -- which means, he explained, that all things other than the writing--the cons, the fans, the reviews, the money, everything--are just distractions that you must ignore. Focus on the work. The work is everything.

* play for the long term. He's never tried to maximize his profit in the short term and instead has always opted to build long-term relationships with long-term value.

As I said, feelings I share.

Dinner this evening was again food at the bar, this time of the Weber Grill. I've known of Weber for years, of course, as a manufacturer of grills, but it was only upon my arrival here that I learned the company also runs restaurants. We headed there because my friend, Karen, who lives here, had sent me a recent article that named the place's burgers among the top 25 in Indianapolis. The burger was indeed pretty good, though not great. The bartender was a friendly and prompt server.

The entertainment for the night came via the older foursome to my right, one of whose members regaled his friends and everyone within a few yards of him with tales of his skin scrapings, surgeries, and other medical treatments. There's nothing quite like hearing about diseased skin and clogged arteries, to get you to leave those last few fries.

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