Today is Wednesday, almost the middle of July, and so muggy that I think I saw air fish in the kitchen. Real Life Romance Hero took an umbrella with him when he left for work, as we might have rain later on in the day, but then again, maybe not. Weather forecasts are funny that way. Monday night’s marathon session did turn out a full second draft chapter of Her Last First Kiss, but also cemented the fact that marathon sessions like that are not good for body, mind, or spirit. Which means spreading the love, er drafting, in a more equitable manner, around the same seven days everybody gets in a given week.
On the one hand, this is a smart decision, and it does mean I get to hunker down with calendar and planner and pretty colored pens, to figure out a better way to get from where I am, which is in the middle of two second drafts, to where I want to be, which is two completed second drafts, and, beyond that, two more books out there in the world. On the other hand, I want to be there already. What the heck is wrong with me? Other people are there already. Friend X has a new book, Friend Y has a new book, Favorite Author A has a new book, Favorite Author B has a new series, and me? Still getting there.
Getting back there, really. Sometimes, that feels like more of a climb than starting from scratch. Either way, it’s the same thing. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, or pen on paper. Keep mind on the story, figure out what works and does not work, do the stuff that works, do not do the stuff that does not work, and if Hypercritical Gremlins start mouthing off (mine have been relatively silent of late) do what’s needed to shush them, and keep on going. One page a day is a book in a year. Bare minimum, do that, and this time, next year, look what happened.
Yes, there is pressure. Some from outside the writer, some from inside the writer, but, news flash, everybody has that. Do the superstars have pressure? Yes, they do. That’s not going to go away. Do they have families? Yes, most of them do. If we expand to include families-of-choice, then all of them do. All of us do, whether this is a writer’s first book, or their hundredth (or beyond) and we all get there the same way. Get up. Write stuff. Go all the way to the end. Get feedback. Make it better. Put it where other people can see it, whether that means traditional or indie publishing, or a combination of both.
If I could have picked any time to have a successful career writing historical romance, I would pick the mid-1970s, when the genre was the new kid on the block, stories were sweeping, and excitement was high. Romance authors appeared on talk shows, and there was an image involved in the whole thing. Underneath that? Same thing we have now, for the most part. Those writers had to write the books before they could promote them, before readers could devour them and name kids and/or pets after the characters. Seeing as how I spent that actual period of time in elementary school, and have not yet mastered the art of time travel (shoot, even my time travel manuscript is locked away where it can’t hurt anybody) that’s probably not going to happen.
Been a few changes in the industry since then, not to mention my own life, and yet the same desire to tell these stories and share them with readers hasn’t gone away. If it hasn’t left by this time, it’s not going, so we are going to have to find some way to live with each other, day by day. Would I like to say I’ve found the perfect way to allocate my time and connect with each story and keep the confidence meter at least over the halfway mark? Yes. Am I going to actually say I’m there right now? No, because I don’t want to lie. Some days are harder than others. Some days are easier. It’s a balance. No matter what kind of day it is, though, I can put my butt in the chair. If there’s an ice pack behind said butt, or an afghan atop…okay, not the actual butt, but you know where I’m going with this…that’s okay. The butt is not what does the actual writing.
This feels like a defensive post, and maybe it is. That’s okay. What I want to do with this blog is show the whole journey, and these days are part of it. Yesterday, at critique meeting, N and I discussed how we’re going to handle looking over each other’s manuscripts when we’re done with our respective drafts (first for her, second for me) and that brought up the question of what’s next.
When she asked me, I said I didn’t know. After Chasing Prince Charming, comes Drama King. Melva and I already have dipped toes in the water on that, and we’ll be raring to go as soon as we put this second draft to bed. Pun unintended, but it can stay. After Her Last First Kiss? I don’t know. N asked if maybe I could write another book about Ruby and her Hero, but this is a romance, so the romance would have to be the center of the book, and they’re going to be happy at the end of this one. If I were writing their story back in the 1970s, it wouldn’t be that unheard of to make them unhappy, drag them through more trials, and make them happy again at the end of that book. What I told N was, “probably something else.” Some of those stories on hold may bubble to the surface, or I might catch a spark of something new.
Right now, I’m not thinking about that. Somewhere, off in the back of my mind is the fact that, right now, linked books are where the money is, so that might be a general direction, but that’s for later. Right now, I have these two books that need me, and that’s good enough for now.