Tag Archives: romance writing

I Can

I am a big believer in speaking words to power. I tell my students all the time “don’t release that negativity to the universe.” But sometimes I live in the do as I say not as I do universe.

For the last few weeks that’s where I’ve lived with my writing.

I read a book, love it, sigh and say, “Nope, can’t do it. I can’t compete with this.”

I stare at my computer screen and see the blinking cursor and it fills me with fear and dread and emptiness.

I’ve given myself permission to write crap, and when I look at my words, that’s what I see.

That negativity isn’t real. I know it’s not real, and still it shuts me down. SOME of the words are crap. Total crap. But at its base, the story I’m working on is good. I KNOW this and still I let my fear of inadequacy get in the way.

The last couple weeks I haven’t had words to share with Night Writers, the group I go to weekly at my local library. I help critique others, but that makes me feel like a fraud of a writer because I haven’t written anything other than a bajillion social media posts and a handful of blog entries.

Instead I’ve looked at my words, readied my writing space and after thirty minutes of thinking “I can’t!” I turn on a recorded Grey’s or This is Us or open my kindle app to read another Jill Shalvis or Kristen Ashley or Nora or SEP (…the list of authors I love is LONG!) book and wonder how can those writers be so good?!?!

Last night, though, after my writing group met, I opened my notebook and iPad, gathered my editor’s notes (Penni, you are a Godsend!) and told myself to get over it. The only way to get through the I CAN’T WRITE moments is to sit down and do the work.

I almost didn’t write this today because sometimes I write these “I can do this” posts, and my brain taunts me.

But you know what? My brain taunts me anyway, so here it is. I can do this. I want to do this. I LIKE the end product when it’s all said and done, but getting to a real The End is not easy. It takes real work. There’s no pretend. If I want to be successful as an author, I’ve got to write and tame that negativity beast. Tame her because she’s not going anywhere. She’s there in my brain ready to pounce when I least expect it. She’s part of the process.

I can do this. I can.

Mid-book Freak Out #writerzen

Mid-book freak out time.

That moment I sit staring at the computer screen thinking any of the following in any order or maybe even all at once:

Sucks.

This is awful.

Sucks…sucks…sucks

What was I thinking when I sat down to write tonight?

Wait…what is this character’s name…oh dear GOD I’ve called her the wrong name the last twenty pages…

Conflict?! Who needs conflict.

blah-blah-blah-blah

Hey, this sentence starts with a capital and there’s a period at the end. That’s good for something, right?

Oh wait…nvr mind.

Dear God, is that even in English?!

ThisIsARomanceButThere’sNoRomance. How did I forget the romance?!?!?!?!?!?

Kill someone. That always makes things interesting.

You could just write down the Big Fat Man story. Everyone loves that. Drank a barrel of water, ate a barrel of mush, gobble, gobble, gobble…

Hmmmm. I have a new Karen Templeton to read. Maybe I should take a reading break and study the craft.

It’s Friday. I need a drink.

Or 10.

Sucks, sucks. sucks.

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Genius.

Just joking.

I’m blogging first instead of writing first. That’s almost as bad as stopping to wash dishes but not as bad as stopping to sweep the floors.

Twitter. Twitter has the answers. Twitter is like writer zen. Writer zen…what is this I speak of? #twitterzen It could trend.

The end. I could just slap the end on it now and call it done.

Even though it’s not done.

But that’s the whole point of crappy first draft, right?

Sucks, sucks, sucks.

Not getting better if I don’t go write.

Ok.

The kill someone idea sounds good. Who cares that it’s not suspense…at all…not even a little.

Wait. The Stars are on. Their magic number is 2. What am I doing writing?

Choices. Decisions. So many directions to go.

Wah. Wah. Wah. All the way home.

See you on the flip side.

#writerzen Yeah, that’s awesome. And an oxymoron.

Dang it.

 

 

When it’s just not that great

Spent last night going over WIP so I can hit the ground running today. The story has nuggets of greatness in it. Small, bite sized, miniscule, rollypolly-sized bits of greatness. Enough that I’m not going to throw it away and start from scratch. But man does it stink!

I know, I know. I broke the cardinal rule. I read the work I was writing with an editor’s eye instead of letting the right brain do its thing and create, breathe life onto the page, sing the song of “novelizing.” But it’s been two weeks since I looked at the pages and I needed to refresh my memory before I let the creative brain get down to business. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s like I have this outline for a story with some interesting moments and some decent dialogue. But I don’t have a fully developed story, not by a long shot.

So I’m going to take this baby apart scene by scene, flesh it out, hopefully make it something great, something ready to see the world. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take patience. I’m going to have to SLOW DOWN. I need to remember this isn’t a cross stitch pattern. I used to do cross stitch. I’d get starte ,and I’d love the idea so much. Perfect little X’s that ended up turning into this beautiful photo made from different colored yarns. I’d spend hours and hours and hours working toward the end and then the end would be in sight and I’d rush those last X’s through just to finish, and sometimes, often, that meant sating up all night because I couldn’t stand to go to bed when I was so close to “the end.” I’d get this tingly feeling in my hands, this taste of “being done!” in my throat, this fluttery feeling in my chest. And the next day the picture would be complete. Messy but done. And I’d smile and congratulate myself on a job well done and start on the next one, promising myself that this time, I’d slow down so the last stitches were as pretty and perfect as the first. THe same thing happens when I write. I get started and I see the end of the scene a few words in and I write, write, write to get there, and somehow, I leave out the emotion and depth of the middle. Then I spend hours trying to make them something different, something better and people tell me that’s the way it’s supposed to work because the revision process that comes after the book is done is all about making the magic.

I’m going to try to do the magic now instead of writing the whole book and then mixing in the revisions. I know I’ll still have revisions to do when it’s all done, but hopefully I have something stronger to start with.

Wish me luck!