So today I was complaining about never having time to write. Problem: I was complaining on one of the Internet boards I mess around on. By the time I was done playing around online 30 minutes had gone by and the only thing I’d written was a gripe about book prices, a gripe about no time to write, and a couple of my favorite TV show names.
Definitely not good.
It made me realize how important balancing time to write is. I have to do it. And there’s plenty of time to schedule it in. But I’ve got to make the choice to 1.) TURN OFF THE TV 2.) Get off the Internet 3.) Put away the great books I’m reading. Those three things are killing me where writing time’s concerned.
I’m never going to be one of those writers who doesn’t read because I’m totally addicted to reading. But I don’t have to read as much as I’m reading. And I can use my good books as incentive to write some of my own.
UIL meets this weekend. Off on another trip with teenagers. Hope we win. I ought to find some time to write this weekend for sure.
Isn’t funny how falling in love again with something makes everything better?
I know. All those things make this a little too vague.
For months I’ve been trudging through the world of writing and romance and what used to be my dream but suddenly seamed more like a nightmare. For the first time in memory I let myself think that being published wasn’t going to happen.
I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that I let doubt demon win. Or that I was tired. Or that I was sick. Or that I couldn’t find a book I loved, not even the ones on my keeper shelf.
I don’t know.
But for whatever reason, that’s what was happening.
And then I rediscovered my joy for the genre.
It started with Karen Templeton. For a week I thought she was just a genius writer who understood the heartbeat of romance and publication. (Okay, so she is all that!)
But then yesterday a couple strange things happened. (There goes that vague thing thing again.)
I picked up a book. Not just any ol’ book, but one I’d thrown back in the TBR pile after one chapter. I don’t know why I’d thrown it back in the pile. Usually if I don’t like a book it gets shoved in the give away or trade box. But not this time.
I’d tossed it back in TBR even though I really hated the book. It was totally unbelievable and the heroine was a wimp and the hero was a jerk. I mean I REALLY did not like this book.
Until I picked it up again yesterday and started reading and realized how cool the plot line was. And soon I was noticing how that wimpy heroine wasn’t really wimpy. And the jerky hero was just responding to a very bad situation. And before I knew it, I was reading the book and enjoying it.
So then, on a whim, I picked up another book, this one in the trade box. And yep. I liked it too. So I picked up another and yep, you guessed it.
Suddenly my scimpy TBR pile was full again.
And then the best thing ever happened.
The doubt demon disappeared and I looked at my 10 rejected stories and got excited about their potential and my potential. For the first time in a long time I WANTED to write. Really write. Write the stories I love. The stories about HEA. The stories about a guy, a girl, maybe a baby, and falling in love and wanting and needing and feeling like all hope is lost but then learning in the end that love really does conquer all.
And then I realized that even though a lot of people poo-poo the stories I love for that PollyAnna look on life, I like that look on life.
And HEA isn’t PollyAnna anyway. Trust me, I know. My grandma’s been married for almost 70 years. She tells me all the time that marriage is hard work and compromise and respect and love. And she and my grandpa are still totally in love with each other. Shoot when I was a kid, they chased each other around the house. Every once in a while, we’d hear a smack and Grandma’s “Oh Odell, stop that!” and we’d know ick, they were making out.
I don’t know what happened over the past few weeks to make me fall out of love with writing love stories. But I sure am happy I fell in love with love again.
So I wrote 2 meow a million times before I realized i had my fingers in the wrong spot! 2 more pounds down this week.That’s 48. And I had chocolate. Woo Hoo! I’ve also had major epiphanies about my writing. This has been a good week. Woo Hoo!
I discovered Karen Templeton this week. And after reading one of her books I rushed to the local BookRack pretty sure there was no way all her stuff could be as good as the book I’d read, but still willing to take the chance.
So far I’ve only read two of her books. But I gotta say they’re two of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. She totally captures the fairy tale feeling of falling in love. And her books run the emotional gamut. And they seem very real even though they’re fairy tale romances. And I LOVE them.
I really needed this because other than a few hits like Suzanne McMinn and RaeAnne Thayne, I haven’t found much to love in the romance world and it was driving me crazy.
Thank God for finding new authors. Especially new authors I can learn from.
The latest rejection really hit in a weird way. It made me wonder if I know what the heck I’m doing. And as I read or tried to read all these books and none of them were grabbing me I wondered why other people can get bad books published but I can’t. And then I realized one of the problems with the books I’ve been reading is that they’re all so much the same or so completely unrealistic or simply not romances. And then I read Karen Templeton and remembered what I love so much about the stories I want to tell.
The promise of forever, the passion of new love, the excitement of seeing someone and wating and not even knowing what it is you want but knowing you by God want it, and I realized that yummy feeling is what’s missing in what I’ve been trying to do.
Will that discovery lead to me finally breaking through? Who knows. It won’t until I start to write again. 🙂 But in the mean time, I’m going to read and think and play some.
I’ve tried to read three books this week. All category romance because during the work week, I can read a category and get my fix :-). Usually when I read, I like to get to the end within a couple days and I can’t do that with big booksand still have a life. So category it is.
The first, Karen Templeton’s Swept Away, was incredible. The characters were real. The writing sparkled. It was different, it was fun, it was sexy and snappy and everything I love about category. Only not because it was so different.
Then I picked up the next book in my TBR pile.
I gave it two chapters. The characters were cardboard, the situation cliche, the writing so similar to everything else out there I could care less about it. And this was from an author I’ve really enjoyed in the past. I hope this was just an off book.
Today I picked upanother. This one by a best selling author. I didn’t even give it two chapters. The entire situation set up was so ridiculous and the heroine so uninspiring I put the book down. It wasn’t worth it for me to keep reading.
And now I wonder if that incredible book by Karen Templeton is why the next two books couldn’t hold my attention.
Do I want too much?
I don’t think so.
After three weeks of no budging, the scale FINALLY moved down 3 pounds. Woo Hoo! I’ve lost 46 pounds. I have 35 to go. My students are so funny. They talk about WW like it’s a diet because so many people they know treat it like that, but not me. I hate diets. Low fat foods stink. I eat regular foods, just more fruits and veggies, and I work out. End of story. If I want a candy bar, by God, I’m having a candy bar. But I will make sure to add up the 6 points. Or how ever many. I just don’t eat that stuff every day. That’s the key.
At least that’s the key for me.
No more dieting. And remember: it’s not a race!
Had a blast in NYC. Slammed into a great big stop sign the minute I got home. Not the kind you have to claim on insurance, but the kind you go to Dr. for. A round of antibiotics later and the bronchitis is still slowing me down. Talk about a bummer for Spring Break. I didn’t even get out of bed for three days. So not cool. 😦
I thought all the Y workouts were shooing off the winter colds, but this one snuck in right before the deadline. Not working out is driving me crazy. Hopefully by Wednesday I’ll be able to get back on track. Maybe I’ll do Pilates tomorrow.
Got a rejection from Super today. The editor called my writing raw and powerful and gutsy (I think that was meant as a compliment), which made me super happy, and then went on to be very detailed in the reasons she was rejecting the manuscript. The reasons were so true! And while I was reading the rejection letter I was thinking to myself WHY CAN I SEE THE REASONS ARE TRUE AFTER THE FACT and not get it right before I send the books in?!!!?! UGH.
Surprisingly this rejection bounced right off me. Not sure why. Maybe because I saw the validity in the comments. Maybe because the editor was (I think) so positive in the opening of the letter before explaining why she was turning it down. Maybe it’s because it made it up the line to an editor and even says it was considered. I don’t know. I keep thinking, praying, pleading, Jesus, Please don’t let this be the closest I get to THE CALL. And that’s not exactly positive self-talk, so I should be bummed or something about this, but I’m not. I’m just accepting.
But this rejection did kind of give me a direction I hadn’t really thought of. If this editor saw one of my strengths as a gutsy rawness, then maybe that’s something I should be focusing on. Just another thing to think about as I work on my new WIP. Or rather as I think about working on my new WIP because I swear thinking about it is as close as I’m getting.
When I first started this journal, I swore I’d post on a daily basis. I said there was no way I would go days and days without posting because seriously, how hard is it to write a few words?
Boy did I find out.
This week exhaustion didn’t even begin to cover it. We met the big book deadline last week and it was time to kick into high gear for newspaper. For some reason the hours for this deadline were unlike anything I’ve done in years. And then when I got home it was the whole mom, wife thing. Figure out what’s for supper, make the supper, clean up a little, (VERY LITTLE), sit down for a minute and crawl into bed. I made it to the Y once. UGH!
And that’s all with one of my best friends in town from Arizona b/c she had a family funeral.
I definitely discovered how little time I had and how horrible I am at managing it. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t fun to come home at 6 or 7 and find out no one had a clue what to have for supper, but the meal we had planned wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t fun to hear about how the trip to NYC was expensive so no going out. (I swear, if that excusse is used again, I’ll sit at the table with my own plate of toast and go to bed before I fix dinner!) And it wasn’t fun to realize I still had to pack for my trip and my trip’s in the morning!
But what is fun is the knowledge that tomorrow I’m on vacation. And I’m staying on vacation for five days. ANd then, when I get back, it’s 4 more days of Spring Break. God, I need it. I hope to use this frustration and aggravation in a book one day. I guess we’ll see. Right now, I just want to pack and go to bed.
I fell in love with journalism when I was in high school. It was exciting and wonderful and I didn’t really have to talk to do it. I had to INTERVIEW, but I didn’t really have to talk. I could talk to people one at a time and then I wrote and wrote and wrote. Back then I loved those stories, but looking at them today, I see they weren’t all that special. They weren’t all that special because I was afraid to really talk to people. Not afraid in the normal way. Afraid in a strange, scary way that hit me sometime between 8th and 9th grade.
Suddenly talking to more than one person at a time scared the liver out of me. I literally threw up after giving speeches. The fear was ridiculous, but I couldn’t make it go away. So I turned to my fiction. No one in my stories was afraid. They were strong and beautiful and smart. I lived vicariously through those creations.
I’m not sure when the fear disappeared, but it happened as quickly as it had started. I think it might have been speech class my freshman year in college. Those years I was afraid to talk aren’t fun to remember. But they gave birth to my love of writing. I can’t be sorry for that. 🙂
I can’t remember exactly when I first started telling stories. I think it might have been the day I was born.
But I do remember the first story I wrote. I used a purple crayon to create a young hero who saved the life of an elderlchoking victim at a McDonald’s restaurant. The victim was choking on a McDonald’s french fry. He turned out to be a millionaire and he gave a ton of money to the hero and everyone lived happily ever after. Pure heaven in my little kid mind. Probably more the idea of McDonald’s than the idea of a ton of money.
Back then we were poor, but I didn’t know it. My mom stayed home off and on when she could. My dad was in the military. McDonald’s was a huge treat. Lord knows we didn’t go out to real restaurants.
But my little kid brain had a great time creating that story. And my mom listened attentively while I read it to her. When I was done she asked me for more. I gave her what she asked for and I had a blast doing it.
A few years later I was writing teen romances for my friends. I wrote the words with blue EraserMate pens and I always used blue college ruled spirals. I have no idea how many of those stories I wrote, and I have no idea where they are today. I know my mom always asked me why my heroine’s mother had to either be dead or dying from a terminal disease. I had no idea. I just liked to make my friends cry when they read my books.
And my friends did read them. Every day they begged me for new chapters and every day I had those chapters ready. (Homework was another thing altogether!) They were a critique group of sorts, I suppose. But they couldn’t take the pplace of my number one fan for years. My mom. She doesn’t read what I write today, but she still asks me how my writing is going. She still talks about “when I get published.”
I’m lucky! And I better go call my mom and say thanks!