By Tracy Weber
If you were to ask novelists why they write, most would readily assert that it’s not for the money. The writers I know would become significantly richer steaming lattes. Penning a novel is a work of love, or in my case, a work of loves. A Fatal Twist, like the rest of my Downward Dog Mysteries, combines three of my most ardent passions: German shepherds, yoga, and cozy murder mysteries. Yoga, dogs, and mystery—what could be more fun?
Still, slogging through a first draft feels less like making love, more like walking through hardening cement. When things get tough, I remind myself of one of yoga’s most important principles: persevering practice.
The most well-renowned book of yoga teachings is an ancient text called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. According to this text, yoga postures are only one form of persevering practice. Any practice—including yoga poses, breath work, meditation, and for me, writing—helps us find inner peace. But in order to be persevering, a practice must occur:
- Over a long period of time
- Without interruption
- With dedication and enthusiasm
- With an intention of personal growth
- Without attachment to results
Writing, for me, is no easier. My energy for writing ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s part of my daily routine; sometimes it falls off my radar for weeks at a time. Sometimes I race to my computer with the joy of a six-year-old schoolgirl with a bright green lollipop; other times I drag myself to the keyboard like a fifty-year-old en route to her first colonoscopy.
And that whole idea of not being attached to the results? Well, let’s just say I could write a second series in the time I spend looking at my Amazon sales rankings.
Still, the persevering practice analogy has meaning. I wrote the first two chapters of my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, more than seven years ago. Then I let the manuscript sit, untouched, for almost two years. Until I worked on it daily, I made no progress. My most meaningful writing days are always the ones in which I explore life’s deepest emotions and my own personal vulnerabilities. And on the days I lack dedication and enthusiasm, my words end up as crumpled pages at the bottom of my recycle bin.
As for attachment to results, well, I have to let that go. Any writer attached to success lasts about three minutes in this business before laughing maniacally, tossing her computer out the window, and popping popcorn over the laughably tiny royalty checks crackling in her fireplace.
So why do I continue? I write because the practice offers me unexpected gifts: flashes of self-understanding, moments of quiet calm, a connection to laughter and joy in this oftentimes challenging life.
Like many authors, my writing practice waxes and wanes, and my hope of reaching the New York Times Bestseller list often seems unattainable. But writing taps into something special. Something I haven’t found in the rest of my life. Simply put, writing feeds me.
So if you need me, I’ll be glued to my keyboard—persevering.
About Tracy’s fourth Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist
Yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s life takes a chaotic turn once she agrees to not only be the doula for her pregnant best friend, but also play foster mother to two puppies. The chaos gets worse when Kate finds the dead body of a philandering fertility doctor and sees Rachel, one of her yoga students, fleeing the scene.
Kate is convinced her student is innocent, and she sets out to find the real killer before her testimony condemns Rachel to a life behind bars. But her hands are full with caring for three dogs, teaching yoga classes, and gaining an unexpected crime-solving partner. If she’s not careful, Kate’s next yoga pose may be a fatal one.
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.
A certified yoga therapist, Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, as well as the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible.
Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their crazy new German shepherd pup, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.