Spring is not usually my favorite season. It still isn’t, but a new season is a good time for a new start, and, after seven of the craziest, weirdest, hardest months I have ever had, it looks like the light at the end of the tunnel may not be a train. Not that there aren’t still question marks, because there certainly are, but fewer ellipses (… -= those things) so I am going to count that as good. I have every faith that we may soon be nearing the end of our vagabond days, and I am very much ready for it.
On the fifth of March, we have been officially between apartments for seven months. Longer than I had thought or expected, but also, we are, as Skye would have said, badbutts, because we are still standing (cue Elton John) and, as Mr. Rogers’ mother said, looking for the helpers is always good advice. Storm is a travel kitty extraordinaire, and I have become far more adept than I ever thought in breaking down a desktop computer and reassembling it in another location, and knowing for sure and certain that longhand really is the best way for me to compose.
Writing, yes, can be done anywhere (seriously, anywhere) but the part that goes beyond composing, the transcribing, the editing, the polishing and submitting and/or planning out an indie pub (independent publishing, where the author is also the publisher) strategy, those things need a home base. It’s getting there. Before too long, there will be a new location for Stately Bowling Manor, a new office to move into, books to bust out of stuff jail (aka storage) and set into place. Time to know and declare that the new normal is now within reach. Not here yet, but within reach.
Which comes to the often sticky part of writing, finishing. When I first started writing romance, a starry-eyed seventeen-year-old with an electronic typewriter and a dream, of course I could finish a book. A lot of books. Now, I could be the parent of a seventeen-year-old, with some wiggle room. (I am not. Real Life Romance Hero and I decided early on that all of our kids will have four legs and fur.) Life and writing are not always that easy. That girl with the stars in her eyes and correction ribbon on her fingers had read once that Valerie Sherwood wrote twenty pages at a session, so okay, that’s a normal pace. The more seasoned writer now also remembers that Valerie Sherwood also said that any writer who says they write thus and so every day is lying.
There are days when the words, when the story, don’t come, and life has proven that, in heaps. There are also days when they do, and those are the days that I want to nourish. This past weekend, spent at Chez Grandmere, I took an outdated planner I inherited from Housemate, and ripped out the guts but for the monthly dividers (setting aside the unused guts to repurpose as plotting charts) and cutting down plain white office labels to cover the names of the months, and now it’s my general writing :salute: notebook/planner.
Writing each area of focus on each label – historical romance, contemporary romance, blogging, Buried Under Romance, Patreon, even “paper” (one can never have enough filler paper) — felt…good. Right. A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that I had a finger hovering over a stock image on a cover art website, because the couple in it? Could very well portray John and Aline from A Heart Most Errant. My first thought when I figured out what I was thinking was, “Anna, what are you thinking?” because, well, vagabond days. Vagabond months. Independent publishing isn’t cheap. I have never done it before.
Hm, though, but have I? In the intro to my “Play In Your Own Sandbox, Keep All the Toys” workshop, I mention that I spent well over a decade amongst Klingons, Newcomers, Immortals and others, not only writing for fanzines, but also, in time, publishing my own. I didn’t know what I was doing back then, either, when I started on that (huge props to my friend, the awesomely talented E. Catherine Tobler, who did a lot of very patient hand holding and talking me down from ledges of various heights) journey, so, maybe…cannonball? I don’t know.
What I do know is a page a day is a book in a year. I know I don’t have to reach every reader (and can’t, and shouldn’t) but only my readers, who are going to respond with, “please, miss, may we have some more?” The answer I want to give is “yes, of course, here you go.” I know I am too fond of italics and need to brush up on my comma use (thankfully, my contemporary cohort, Melva Michealian, has a PhD in English, so odds are I am going to catch on sooner rather than later.) There comes a time, and I think this is it, as my finger hovers over cover stock, and I have sussed out to get myself as bottom of the line webcam, because starting somewhere is better than not starting at all.
Which all feels pretty on-brand for spring. New life. Things blooming. Baby ducks. Baby ducks make everything better, and if we end up somewhere near Washington Park once more, there will be baby duck pictures aplenty. Even if not, there will be stories. That’s what I do. That’s who I am.