What a difference a year makes. Wait. I just said that.
Last year at this time, I was sitting at home reading all the posts from people that were returning from Nationals. They were all inspired, motivated, and recharged about writing.
I so was not. I was staring at the second Tigers manuscript and seeing the fatal flaws in it. I couldn’t get beyond it. I was questioning my choices and wondering why, of all things, I had decided to attempt being an author at all.
So, what’s a writer to do? Pick up the phone and call a friend.
Vivi Andrews, who took home the Golden Heart this year, gave me the talking to that I so richly deserved. Her advice? “Get out of your own way.”
She said other things, too, but that was the one comment that I carried in my heart. So, I sent the manuscript off. Immediately after that, I looked at my files and found another project outline I was passionate about. I tinkered with character building scenes and then launched into what is now BLOOD AND DESTINY.
My editor saw the same fatal flaws in HEART OF THE TIGER and sent a very informative, very kind revise and resubmit with a lot of suggestions on how to correct the problems. For those of you who are still interested in the Tigers, the revamp is pretty extensive and it’s been put on hold until I can devote the time of effort it needs. Anyway, it reaffirmed that I wasn’t naive and clueless when it came to critiquing my own work.
I put Destiny aside and looked over another novella with a renewed sense of confidence. After a little minor tweaking, I submitted it out and pulled up another project I had begun to doubt.
ANGELIC AVENGER. With my heart in my throat, I polished the synopsis, wrote a new query letter, and sent it to my Samhain editor.
LOVE AT FIRST SHOT was well-received, but needed some work. Taking that revise and resubmit offer in hand, I tooled it accordingly and sent it back. Three times, I sent it back until it was finally right. The Wild Rose Press agreed with me and offered a contract just days before Samhain offered for ANGELIC AVENGER.
Strangely enough, after months of self-doubt and second-guessing myself, I remembered why I was writing. It wasn’t to torture myself. It was the joy of being able to share my stories with others.
Returning to BLOOD AND DESTINY, I began to retool the wordage lost when I converted from a PC to a Mac. For some reason, the last three chapters on Destiny had gotten eaten.
This time, the writing came easily to me. Why? Because I’d finally gotten out of my own way. I’d put aside my doubt, embraced my characters, and let the words flow.
Everyone says writing is a lonely job. And it can be very isolationist. But, there’s a solution. We’re in a digital age. With IM, online groups, and forums specifically dedicated to writers, it’s easy to find people who are not going to look at us as if we should be locked up when we mention the little voices in our heads. Or better yet, give you that horrified look when they ask what you do and you tell them you’re a romance writer.
The solution to the loneliness? Network, find a group of writers that will embrace you with all your quirks, and get a good long distance plan and lots of cell phone minutes. Then, when you need that extra nudge or bullying, pick up the phone… or answer it when they call.