Scribble and Nosh

When I left the practice of law, my writing schedule developed a certain mass. I would work on new pages in the morning, a secondary project in the afternoon, and what I called production (copy edits, looking for cover art, updating the website) or marketing/social media tasks in the evening. I got a lot done on a good day.

Several years on, I’m still pretty productive, but that afternoon project is increasingly also a production task rather than a writing task. The publication rights for the entire Lonely Lords series plus a few novellas have reverted to me (yay!), and that has meant a lot of re-reading and re-packaging (not so yay), for books that are in their sunset earning years.

Mary Fran and Matthew CoverSome of the shift to more upkeep and less output has been because of those older books reverting, some has been because I cannot travel to the places that inspire me the most plot-wise. I have noticed though, that a different kind of writing project has nudged its way onto my schedule.

I now have what I call “nosh” projects. My Lady Violet mysteries are one example. I intend to write at least six (one more to go), before I start publishing them. They aren’t on any announced deadline, they aren’t romances (though there’s a romantic arc), they aren’t likely to earn as much as my romances do. I just kinda felt pulled in that direction, and I have had fun writing these stories.

I’m also writing something I call My Book Hates Me, which is intended as a consolation and inspiration for other authors. It’s non-fiction, part how-to-write, part memoir (much that abets me as an author I learned in courtrooms and practice rooms), and a no-particular-order sort of discourse. I may never publish it, and I go for days sometimes without opening the document. I hope I finish it, I hope it sees publication, but there’s value simply in working out what I want to say and collecting it in one place.

To allow myself projects that aren’t on the path to producing income, that have no real schedule, that proceed by inspiration or not at all, is a change for me. Maybe as we move into a post-COVID or less-COVID phase, I will resume the previous schedule. There aren’t that many older books left to revert to me, and travel is once again looking more possible.

But I like these nosh projects, I like feeling as if some of what I do during the day is simply an open-ended frolic. It’s writer-stuff, but not revenue-stuff, and maybe that’s a healthier way to ply my trade over a long term.

Do you have nosh projects? Hobbies that could generate income but don’t have to? Were you raised by people who indulged in nosh projects? To three commenters, I will send signed paperback copies of How to Catch A Duke, which comes out this week!!!!

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31 comments on “Scribble and Nosh

  1. 1
    Susan G says:

    I am thinking of a nosh project. I enjoy training my corgis and am interested in becoming a CGC ( canine good citizen) evaluator. I am going to look into the training. My corgi Greg is very even tempered and we attend the CGC tests to help other dogs pass. If this works out, I would pursue training/ teaching basic obedience skills.

    I realized that my daughter has no idea how to cook…NO idea. I am thinking about putting together some basic recipes in a cookbook/binder for her. Family favorites, easy recipes and healthy choices.

    Am also thinking about putting some family pictures together for her.

    I guess these projects will keep me busy when I transition from work to retirement. I realize that I will need new challenges and they can be heart challenges vs monetary ones.

  2. 2
    Teenie Marie says:

    I have a collection of short stories as well as two novels and a series of Regency romances hanging around, waiting. What I write for money is mostly non-fiction, rehearsal psychology/management pieces (part of my weekly blog for my professional society)or program notes for my own organization as well as other performing arts organizations. When I have writers block or need to sort a problem out, I go to my short stories and novels and putter around….it’s delightful.

  3. 3
    Make Kay says:

    I love the phrase Nosh projects!
    I don’t have any, and nobody in my family had them. I’m always intrigued to hear of others doing things like this- my time outside work is so limited I can’t imagine filling it with anything other than necessary chores, exercise, meditation, and reading.

  4. 4
    Moriah says:

    I just wanted to say I’ll buy all of your mystery series once you publish it. I actually read more historical mystery than romance lately so this is exciting news.

  5. 5
    Karen H near Tampa says:

    Most of my “just-for-me” are small quilts, though I aspire to bedsize. I have given some away for special occasions but most I make for myself because I think they’re pretty and I like being surrounded by pretty things. And making things for sale is too stressful for me (I did it once and decided it wasn’t something I enjoyed doing.) Of course, I haven’t done much quilting lately because I am also trying to declutter and there isn’t the room to set up right now. My parents had 5 children in under 6 years so there wasn’t much time for anything else as far as I know. Mostly, I read and try to move things out of the house, in preparation for a future move away from Florida (in the next year, I hope).

    • 5.1
      Pam says:

      My Mama made the prettiest quilts, most of them for single beds. She didn’t ‘quilt’ with the stitching in patterns, but used thick colorful thread (may have been crochet thread) to take a stitch through the quilt square and tie it off on top.

  6. 6
    Tina Ann Armato says:

    I have pet projects that I work on often (however without the discipline you exhibit!). My two most recent projects, which will never generate income, are my Mom’s autobiography (I published Dad’s autobiography some years ago after he passed) and a cookbook composed of all the recipes I found in both my Mom’s and Dads recipe boxes after they had passed. Both books were a labor of love, which I know the people I’ve gifted them to will enjoy and cherish. The third project which I am working on is a second edition of my own cookbook that I wrote probably at least a dozen years ago as a gift for my niece upon her engagement. I have gifted it to many more friends and relatives over the years. As I love to cook and have certainly collected and prepared many more recipes in the intervening years, I thought it was due an update. I will again gift them to those people to whom I’ve gifted the first edition. I’ve also started building a dollhouse kit I purchased for my daughter probably 38 plus years ago. Better late than never? Especially in these days of Covid, these projects keep me grounded.

    • 6.1
      Pam says:

      I love dollhouses and the furniture. I don’t have a dollhouse but I have a dollhouse furniture arrangement on my dresser. There is a table, with two chairs, a small dresser, and a bed. There is a small toy cat that I move around. Sometimes she is on the bed and other times on a chair looking at the table. I have some tiny plates and a cup and saucer on the table.

      When my house is a wreck, looking at that little room makes me happier.

      • 6.1.1
        Tina Ann Armato says:

        There’s something about miniatures that is just endearing. Prior to working on the dollhouse I assembled a mini kitchen kit and also added a pair of tiny cats playing. Unfortunately the cats I purchased didn’t match my black cat and my calico/tortoise shell, so I painted them (They are the size of a paper clip!)

  7. 7
    Beth says:

    “Sunset earning years” my sainted aunt! There’s not a single thing wrong with your backlists that a revamp of advertising & marketing to get the attention of new readers won’t tweak. You’re simply doing paralegal, clerking, lawyering and messenger duties by your lonesome & a little budgeting for delegation of what isn’t the best use of your time will fix that. You think La Nora, Patterson or Stevie King do it all by their lonesomes? Res ipsa loquitur!

    Ahem! *refocuses*
    Nosh projects…mine are mostly tweaking my domain. Just got the name of someone with a good reputation for installing gutters. Had pine bark nuggets spread against the weeds. Adulting jobs mostly

  8. 8
    bn100 says:

    don’t have any of those

  9. 9
    Diane Sallans says:

    I’ve been on a crusade to thin out many possessions in view of an anticipated move. The Covid stay-at-home has certainly given me extra time. One of the projects was to go thru my Dad’s 50+ years of National Geographics – lots of interesting articles and even the ads were a reflection on the times. Then my nephew got the bright idea to try selling them on ebay – 17 have sold so far, but it’s nice to see them go to people who appreciate them. My latest find to place for sale is a 1991 Star Trek Next Generation t-shirt – fun to see what I have that other people have listed.

  10. 10
    Meg says:

    Good for you, Grace. I look forward to a time in my life when things slow down more for me personally/professionally and I can spend time on nosh projects. As I just heard another writer say not ten minutes ago, “we are human beings, not human doings.”

  11. 11
    Sue says:

    My nosh projects are traditionally sewing, crochet, and ceramics classes. I suppose I could make money with the sewing, but I am concerned about crabby customer satisfaction issues. That would take all of the fun out of it I think. My crochet skills would have to improve before I had consistent quality.

    Once I retire (IN SIX-6-SIX WEEKS!) I hope to get myself to refinish my dining table or find a new one, and nosh some other stuff around the house…paint touch up, those kind of things will make me very happy! And every time I get rid of clutter THAT makes me very happy – my favorite kind of Nosh.

  12. 12
    Marianne says:

    My dad was a pharmacist with his own store. He used to offer to wrap gifts for people. Definitely not profitable for him at that point, but some do charge. Used to hate to hear him say, “How about we throw some paper on that?” because we knew who would be doing it! My grandmother was an artist with giftwrap and Easter baskets, so maybe he thought we could learn. It brought him a lot of pleasure.

    Is that a nosh?

  13. 13
    Pam says:

    I really liked most of the Lonely Lords books when I read them as they were published, but last year I re-read the whole bunch of them in order and discovered that they were even better read that way. The various relationships and events were fresh in my mind. It is one of my favorite series.

    I want to retire and work on improving my house and yard. Our family also has 3 50-pound dogs and 10 cats for whom I do the feeding, watering, medicating, etc. It’s to the point I really don’t have the time or the energy for a full-time job – am going to try to retire by the end of the year.

    Hmmm. Nosh projects. I want to learn to knit, although that may be challenging with my furry children. I have so many unread books that are calling to me. I definitely want to make patchwork quilts. I may start cooking again for pleasure rather than just the bare necessities.

    I have knee issues (tore another meniscus today) so probably have two knee surgeries in my future. I may be able to be more active after that – it would be nice to be able to go on fossil hunting groups again. I’ve been avoiding those knee replacements for 20 years!

    • 13.1
      Pam says:

      As Beth said, I can’t really see why the Lonely Lords or any of your older books would not appeal to a whole new set of readers. Historical romance has the advantage of not becoming dated, lol.

  14. 14
    Ellen Ziegler says:

    I make Quilts “sometimes”, I make Great Christmas Wreaths with my Daughter and have Sold them at local Craft Fairs, I have bred really beautiful Shih Tzus (one litter a year) as a hobby and sold the pups, in the past, over the course of 20 years. BUT I retired from the local Water Company Laboratory and have no reserved what energy is left in my 67 year old body to expend on my two Grandchildren and learning to bake Artisan Bread. I love cooking and baking, and I love my two daughters and their families. My husband is a gallant wonderful old soul who is probably my best friend. I love having all of these humans and more in my life. My life is great but it would be really boring were it not for “nosh projects” and awesome historical Romance that is well written. I can not wait to read How to Catch a Duke. I will buy it if I do not win it. I will donate it to my local library when finished. Thank you to the creator for allowing you not to have writer’s block. Please continue to do your nosh projects, I think this probably keeps you loving your craft.

  15. 15
    KarenM6 says:

    I’m sorry to say that I can’t seem to focus my attention on any one Nosh Project long enough for it to become a true hobby. I’ll say my hobby is finding new hobbies! 😉
    I was not raised by parents who encouraged Nosh in their children… but they did their own when time allowed. I think I was meant to just figure it out on my own.
    It seemed like my parents were more concerned with succeeding vs. enjoying what one was doing.
    I always wish I had a hobby or two whenever the question comes up!! 🙂

  16. 16
    Glenda M says:

    I don’t really have any hobbies that could become revenue generators. I’m not sure that I have any nosh projects these days either. I think I’ve been spending too much time reading to start any of them.

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    I guess I sort of feel like the reading I do outside of reading for bookstore work is my nosh project. Rereading old favorites, reading things I know won’t sell but I know I will enjoy. Growing my little crop of food scrap plants is strangely satisfying even though I have very mixed results and the amount I actually end up eating is very small. Thumbs up on scallions, celery, beet greens, and bok choy. Others just become houseplants until I accidentally kill them.

  18. 18
    Elizabeth Cecconi says:

    My father was a public school superintendent and an icon in our small town. He was genuinely concerned with the well being of our community. He participated in an organization that answered calls for help when families needed food, clothing, or other necessities. Every year at Christmas time, he would have us gather with others in the organization and wrap gifts for families who could not afford to buy their own. They would be tagged “Girl, 8 years old” etc. It was a fairly covert operation as our town was very small and the organization wanted to preserve the dignity of the recipients as best they could. There was no income for him, but he loved it and gave everything he could to it. I still participate in Giving Trees through my church as it makes me remember those days spent with my father, and, well, it’s just a good thing to do. I’m a fairly decent gift wrapper and LOVE creating bows, so there’s a little nosh from that quarter.

    • 18.1
      Elizabeth Cecconi says:

      Oh, and for GB readers, try reading through all her books in chronological order! That was a challenge I took on last year, plugging the Lords into the Windham and Haddonfield series so they fit chronologically. It gave life to some of the stories I hadn’t found in the original reading, and it was fun trying to figure out where each fit best. Maybe Grace could produce an “in order of appearance” list?

  19. 19
    Amy Ikari says:

    My biggest nosh project was serving in Children’s Ministry and just funding all of my projects. Since losing my mom last year, I wanted to do something in her memory so in 2021, I am trying to do 90+ random acts of kindness and appreciation. Thank you for your great books. Have a blessed day!

  20. 20
    Sarah N says:

    I was writing to indie publish and working over two projects at once before this last year happened in a similar fashion. This year I’ve had to put all of it on the back burning, dealing with 4 children out of school and cancer.

    But on topic, my Nosh projects have been quilting, scrapbooking, and custom book making. They all use similar materials at least. And I do backfeed the hobbies into my writing. For instance I’ve characters complain about their sewing scissors getting abused. It all feeds the Muse.

  21. 21
    Jeannette Ruth Halpin says:

    I am a noshing failure!(except for the eating kind of noshing, that is). I really only want to sit on the porch and peek at the neighbors from behind my bushes, and read. We are getting a piano that a friend is giving away, which is very nice of her, so one project is to practice piano and actually relearn how to play Fur Elise, for example. But I am totally non-crafty, not artistic, hate gardening, never will write a novel (I’ll just read yours thank you very much)…as I said, a nosh failure!

    • 21.1
      Marianne says:

      We bring our neighbours who peek from behind their bushes something nice when we’ve been away, as they will not accept payment. They do it anyway. 🙂 My mother (age 92) turns on a certain light when she goes to bed and off again in the morning. Her neighbour checks. We all feel better for it.

  22. 22
    Naureen says:

    I am such a fan! I can’t wait to read how to catch a duke because I’ve been wanting this story for over a year, when i first discovered your books. They really saved me- I’ve been stuck in a country with closed borders because of my job. It’s a lovely place but with strict COVID regulations for gatherings, which have worked until now to keep numbers under control, but that means in about 16 months, I’ve had a total of four weeks of being hugged and getting to eat meals regularly with people. It’s been a lot of reading, but only books that make me happy. Yours regularly put such a smile on my face. I so appreciate it.

    And i can’t wait for the mystery series- it doesn’t need to be a romance, just a fun and good story. I will be a customer, i promise! Just waiting to get through a stressful work period before i purchase more books so i don’t get distracted!

  23. 23
    Brandy Hartley says:

    Hello Grace,

    I have found my own nosh projects in the past year or so, which are weaving and macramé projects. I also frequently provide editing services to my friends and siblings, which I very much enjoy!

    My father always had nosh projects throughout his life, always something to build or improve, and an intense commitment to the ornamental gardening he would create around any home he’d ever lived in. I’ve only rarely had a place where I could garden but at the one rental house where I could, I enjoyed vegetable gardening and adding native ornamentals to the garden. The mantle in my apartment is chock full of indoor plants and dried flower arrangements that must remain out if the reach of my 2 very clever Maine coon lady cats.

    A current side nosh is researching the Hartley family history of my line that I hope to tie into a larger labor of love from a very very distant relation in the UK who’s been tracing his own. Something about having lost all my grandparents and both my parents seems to have rekindled this project that I’d let go fallow. My distant English cousin has tied the lineage back to Yorkshire origins in the days of William the Conquerer so I’ve got to dig back into English history long forgotten and I’m eager to see where any castles associated with the lineage are, if they are still standing! It should be fun!

  24. 24
    Cheryl C. says:

    I don’t have nosh projects. My hobbies could not generate income; instead, they only enrich me mentally ande spiritually.

  25. 25
    Linda Byrd says:

    I’ve always done needlework. I learned it from my grandmother. Crewel, needlepoint, knitting and crocheting are all in my wheelhouse. Before COVID, I made prayer shawls for my church. This past year, I started making crocheted toys called amigurumi. I’ve made almost 50 and given away 10-15. Some are custom-made, most are what appealed to me. It’s been fun, not that expensive and time consuming.
    I know I got this habit from my grandmother but my father always had a project in his workshop too. My mother loves to garden. The hardest thing for her now is that at 101 she can’t get out in the garden anymore. There’s too much chance for falling (and she’s done it way too often for my liking – always hitting her head.)
    I’ve already bought and read How to Catch a Duke so I’m not commenting to get a copy. LOVED IT, by the way.