Typing With Wet Paws: Almost June Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome and this is Typing With Wet Paws. This was a quiet week for blogging, because we had a small family emergency last week (all sorted now, everyone is fine) and then Aunt Anna picked up a gross bug ( the people sick kinds, not the fun six legged hunting kind) which means I am on nursing duty, which means I yell at her when she is up for too long. I have also been diligent in making the very best use of Uncle Rheuben’s butt warmer (he calls it a laptop. It is a butt warmer. Good thing he’s cute.)

Things Aunt Anna has been super good at while sick:

1) naps (I coach her)
2) staying hydrated (once again, I lead by example)
3) watching You Tube videos mostly about Sims and Degrassi.
4) feeling really really guilty as she looks at her unmoving reading tally (and usually falls asleep next to a good book.)

On the one paw, there is nothing to feel bad about because this is how healing happens. On the other paw, the library does want their e-books back after a certain amount of time. On the other other paw, Kindle Unlimited is a thing, and she has a ton of books in her Kindle already. On the other other other paw, there are all those great stories waiting for her, and reading makes her want to write more, and writing more helps her feel better, so those things all feed each other and she really does tend to overthink things like this too much.

That’s okay, though. Taking a catnap with an actual cat is beneficial for everybody involved, and text to speech means that there is always a dependable robot voice ready to read a tired human a story. Not to mention the small notebook Aunt Anna keeps at hand, to write down stuff for when she’s able to keep a thought in her head already (her words, not mine.)

One thing that helps her a lot in both reading and writing is accountability. On the reading front, she is way way way ahead of the game, and on the reading front, she is reading The Pirate Prince by Gaelen Foley, along with Aunt Linda. It looks like this:

143730

Aunt Anna doesn’t know much about this book, except that there are pirates in it, and it’s got a pretty good reputation, so she is optimistic. If she can stay awake for anything, she can stay awake for pirate. Also belly rubs. I do require my belly rubs. More regular posting coming next week, toebeans crossed.

Headbonks!

Typing With Wet Paws: Almost Out of April Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Lots of mews duty for me this week, as Aunt Anna had a couple rounds with the anxiety monster, but I think things are under control now. That’s a good thing, because that means she can take care of some overdue stuff, like writing things and keeping new content up on Buried Under Romance.

Last week, the internet wasn’t working so great, but things should be better now. Aunt Anna is glad for that. She is a little salty about the Will and Grace finale, but gives it a grade of incomplete. If it’s pass/fail, pass, which is better than fail. She also hit her loan limit for library e-books, so there is going to be a bunch of reading ahead. She has now read fifty-four out of ninety books, putting her at sixt6y percent of the way to her goal.

She is well aware that a bunch of the books in her currently reading sidebar have been there for a while. Some are even from before me. At least one is. part of her says she should really get on that, but another part says that putting should in her pleasure reading takes the pleasure right out of it. I am not sure which is right. I’m only two, so I don’t have a lot of experience with this sort of thing (or a lot of things, really.) What do you think?

Aunt Anna thanks everyone for their patience with the Buried Under Romance stuff. She hasn’t forgotten or gone away. It’s this whole life thing, but romance novels are a happy place. What ones are you reading? Aunt Anna is mostly reading e-books now, as we are still in for-now lodgings. I can tell you one thing: when we do move into our new apartment, I am going to have a lot of book scenting to do. Her tablet and Kindle cases already smell like me, so we are all set there.

Anyway, I am being a good girl, if you don’t count 4AM Parkour sessions and systemstically knocking things off Aunt Anna’s nightstand (and only her nightstand. Uncle Rheuben doesn’t have much smackable on his, nor does Aunt Linda. I also like sleeping right above or next to Aunt Anna’s head. That’s not at all creepy, right? I want to make sure she is okay.

The big family news around here is that Chez Grandmere has sold, so it is time for Aunt Anna and Aunt Linda (Uncle Rheuben will stay here with me) to go out in that direction and load the stuff we are keeping onto a truck and drive it back to NY, where they will put it in a storage unit. From there, once lockdown is lifted, Aunt Linda will take one box of Grandma stuff every time she visits and let Grandma decide where it all goes. I am very happy to report that when it was time to put labels on things, Aunt Anna put Storm labels on my favorite chair and headboard. Well, every chair is the cat’s chair. You know what I mean, but this is the one where I hid in the boxspring. It’s special.

Let’s see, what else? Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva are putting together a real official draft of Drama King to date, with Aunt Anna searching her files for scenes that go in particular places. When they wrote Chasing Prince Charming, Aunt Anna numbered all the scenes. She is probably going back to that because it made this kind of thing a whole lot easier. She’s still working on finding the writing routine that works for the current arrangements, as in no door to close, and can’t go to a coffee shop to write. She’s smart, though, so she’ll figure it out. Trial and error, a good pair of earbuds, and some creative scheduling should do the trick.

I think I’ll wrap it here, and see if I can give one of the humans the big eyes so they will play red dot with me. I love red dot. I will catch him. I will.

Headbonks!

That Time of Year Again

Even though the calendar has said it’s been spring for a while, and even though this is probably March the Blur-ty Second, my sure shift occasions happened a couple of days ago. I was getting into Housemate’s car for a grocery run, and that’s when it hit. Time to switch out my everyday carry (EDC) planner. Can’t force these things. They happen on their own.

Since fall, I have been using and loving my black Pen + Gear B6 travelers notebook cover, with a mini Happy Planner for guts. Still looking for my B6 mojo, insertwise, but that’s another story. For planning, this works. I’ve been carrying it in my burgundy tote bag, the fall and winter version of my beloved blush tote, which I will be busting out of stuff jail as early as the end of this week. Carry burgundy faux-suede in May? Perish the thought.

current EDC

First world problems, definitely so. Not saying that having anxiety and depression and being in between permanent addresses during a pandemic is a picnic, but the fact that I am having strong opinions on stationery and stationery accessories, well, I am going to file that under signs of life. The more chaotic life becomes, the more I want to organize it.

For my EDC, this will probably mean slipping my HP mini out of the black cover, sliding it into the blush one, and moving over decorative ephemera. My current planner, last year’s eighteen months version, ends in June. I will replace it with a new 2020 mini, with different layoyt, and th current cover (and some dividers) will find their way back into the black cover, with filler paper in place of planner pages. Et voila, notebook.

Feeling spring-y

These things work best for me when they happen organically (odd for planning, but it works.) Forcing them generally does not work at all. Funny enough, there are similarities to writing. I would like for there to be more writing, and there will be, and one day I will look up at the screen or down at the page, and the most recent line will read “the end.” Huh. How’d that happen ? I

Bit by bit, usually. One step at a time. Days when scrolling blankly through Facebook or Overdrive are the pinnacles of productivity, and says when writing hits a roll. Neither, in my experience, is anything I can force, but things like “time to switch covers” or indie pubbing book x makes sense, ” those show up when they will, and give a solid foundation for the next phase.

Cautiously Optimistic

Today is a very Monday-y Tuesday, but that has ceased to phase me. Internet may be spotty this week, but blogging feels normal, so I want to get an entry up on as regular a schedule as possible. The offline times are good for writing longhand, so I am not complaining at all. As much as I love winter, this has been a tough one, and I will not be that sorry to see it go. I am ready for a new season.

The title of today’s post comes from a discussion Real Life Romance Hero and I had earlier this week. We are pretty sure that the light at the end of the tunnel is not, this time, a train, so we are moving in that direction. That also means that the Patreon will indeed be a go, and, for the first time, setting up tiers doesn’t seem as scary as it once did.

This past weekend, I presented Play In Your Own Sandbox, Keep All the Toys, at Capitol Region Romance writers. I learned a couple of things. First, I really do need to use visual aids, for myself as well as the people taking the workshop. A dry erase board usually does the trick, and I probably should learn PowerPoint. I will add that to my list. The second thing I learned is that, when visually impaired, and knowing darned well one needs high contrast, do not attempt to work, in front of a group, from handwritten notes, if the only inks available are pink and turquoise.

Even so, I crazy love this workshop, and the CRRWA chapter, and I came away from the experience remembering how much I really do love writing romance. When I got home, a chapter was waiting for me from my contemporary collaborator, Melva, which has me excited to work on Drama King. I also need kick in the behind to get Her Last First Kiss back in action, because those pirate books are chomping at the bit. That’s part of what I’m taking care of this week.

I know how to do this. I know how to write books. I know how to write good books. This is the thing I wanted to do more than anything else in the world for as long as I can remember. It’s easy, though, to lose sight of that when life gets crazy, and boy howdy, has it ever this past year and change. I am hanging onto the “change” part. I have mad, mad, mad respect for the productivity of authors like Sandra Sookoo and Kathryn LeVeque, the staying power of Cynthia Wright and Kimberly Cates, and yes, there is most certainly a seat at that table for me. It comes by putting butt in chair (or passenger seat) and pen to paper and telling those stores. Dump from brain to page, rough and raw, and make it pretty later.

Right now, I am tired and stressed and hopeful, and very much in love with my chosen genre. I have added an ebook edition of the material for PIYOSKATT (pee-yose-cat? Pie-yose-cat?) as a Patreon perk for a middle tier, because now, it feels like a reachable goal, and actually kind of fun. Small online class offerings may also be in the offing, because I also crazy love teaching workshops, both on my own and with other talented author type people. It’s a good place to be.

see you next time

Typing With Wet Paws: Happy Valentine Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and it’s Valentine’s Day. Aunt Anna is cramming for her workshop tomorrow, at Capitol Region Romance Writers, but only to a certain point, because there comes a time it is possible to overprepare, and it’s really better to shut that stuff down and play Sims. Better yet, play Mousie, with me. I have a signature move. It involves hiding under the bed, where the blanket hangs down, then when Mousie goes by, I pounce. Works every time.

Buried Under Romance has been on a little vacation, but Aunt Anna is back on the job, and there will be new content up ASAP. Since I already put the Goodreads update in my last post, there isn’t that much to update on that front, and I can’t recap her workshop until she gives it, so that does leave me with a certain amount of wiggle room. I am exceptionally good at wiggling.

Since Aunt Anna is all about the workshop for right now, maybe I will stick with that for a while. She’s not doing visual aids this time around, because we are still on the vsgabond track, and because she isn’t doing any exercises that require visual aids, but she is hoping to put some sipplemental material on either the chapter website, or her own. She is strongly thinking of turning the material for her online workshop into an ebook for her Patreon patrons, and, for that, she’s goling to need pictures that are not copyrighted (well, not to anybody who is not her) so she will need to take new ones. It is a tough job, but I may volunteer to be her model. What *isn’t* better with a beautiful calico girl? I mean, look at me. I’m stunning.

will work for tuna

One thing Aunt Anna likes to do at the start of this workshop is that it is *not* a workshop on how to write fan fiction. That might be a fun workshop to look into another time, but if she had to say only one things about that, it would be, “have fun.” Also make sure the characters are in characters. Okay, that is two things, but it is not this workshop.

What this workshop is, is a way to use the media a human already loves, to amplify their individual voice and abilities. Voice is how readers can tell who wrote the story. No two writers will write the same story the same way. Aunt Anna thinks that is pretty exciting. This is part of why the romance level is such a wide and varied place. It still has a way to go, but Aunt Anna is adamant that writers who follow their own hearts put the very best passion into their work, and readers can definitely tell.

How does a human find that voice? Aunt Anna said I can’t give away her secrets, but she did say I could share a link to a bunch of songs Spotify says she really, really likes. Can you see any common threads (apart from the holiday music thing, but that too) in this playlist here? https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1EpQ64htXwwvLs?si=aTSPRkcAQ0G3rATUOit9TQ

Huh. I thought that was a link. Hm. Hard to type with paws sometimes. If you copy and paste that link, it will work. Aunt Anna will try and fix the link once she comes up for air. We will see how that goes, but I will remind her. I do that by putting my paws on her leg while she is at work, and look soulfully into her eyes until she gets the idea. Usually this works when it is dinner time, but also when it is time for her to go to bed, but I think it will work in this case as well.

That’s about it for now, and my sunbeam is hitting the exact spot for premium nappage, so I am going to wrap this here and let Aunt Anna get back to business. Hope you are all having a good Valentine’s Day.

Headbonks!

Five of These Things

I did take a deskscape for today (okay, it was a lap deskscape) but there were technical difficulties, so let us all appreciate stock photos and photo editing software.

At any rate, I’m back. Our stay off the grid extended itself due to a couple of factors, but that’s life. Apart from the virus that converted all of my energy into super gross eye boogers, the whole thing did pretty well. I had a great working lunch with Melva Michaelian. We are oh so ready to get Jack and Kelly all the way to their HEA, so it can be Rob and Heather’s turn next, and we do know what comes after we finish this group of three.

Longhand really does work best for me, for composing/drafting, and the lack of internet distraction did allow me more time to get at least some of the ducks in a row. That does involve plotting out the bones of the gazebo story, which is taking a turn I didn’t expect (still a romance, don’t worry) and I actually have all of my pirate trilogy longhand notes in one container. ,I will do a post later, on the plotting method/template I used, and the modifications I’m making to it, but for this week, I have another focus.

Even though the whole future of RWA (Romance Writers of America) is a big question mark right now, I am super excited, and a little nervous, about the meeting of my local chapter, Capitol Region Romance Writers, because this month, I am the one presenting the program. I am honored and psyched that my fellow members not only asked me to present the workshop a few years back, but asked me to present it again.

Come to think of it, the workshop I presented back then was at a February meeting as well, so one more time, and it’s tradition. I could live with that. The chapter has changed in the intervening years, and so have I, so it stands to reason that the workshop has undergone a few changes of its own. Bob and Jane (if you’ve taken one of my workshops before, you know who they are) will be making an appearance, and there will be a few surprises as well. That’s usually what happens when we creative types dump a bunch of stuff we love in the kiddy pool of our imaginations and splash about with reckless abandon.

“Um, Anna,” I hear some of you saying, “the title mentions five things, and I don’t see any numbered lists here, just saying.” I hear you, dear readers, so I will get right to this wee listicle of five things that have made me happy recently:

1) photo editing
2) Sims (3 and 4)
3) getting back into my travelers notebooks
4) historical romance with adventure and pageantry
5) contemporary YA that makes my heart ache

To use a phrase one will hear often in my workshop, what do these things all have in common? Either with each other or as a whole. Anybody? Anybody? Beuller? The list took only a few seconds to come up with, because those things have been very near the surface over the last couple of weeks. It’s been a rough few months IRL, so that means that getting some of the good stuff is even more important, not only for creativity’s sake, but for emotional survival.

I will probably go into more detail on each item above, but for now, I’m going to be more general. I have been watching a lot of photo editing videos online, most with a very particular aesthetic. Take a look at the picture above and guess which one. The fact that I have been listening to a lot of The Smiths while I try to see if I can apply what I’ve learned to my own work probably says something.

Erik was born in-game, a while back.

Sims games are eerily similar to writing, and with custom content, I can -hey, like photo editing- make the picture on my screen look more like the picture in my head. Said picture does absolutely have a lot to do with those historical romances and YA novels that play my emotions like YoYo Ma plays the cello, and I can oh so happily spend hours getting a Sim or a house, etc, exactly right. I probably have the save with the above simulated gent in it, saved in the cloud, and if not, I have his parents; they always make gorgeous offspring.

is the return of Big Pink imminent?

Though I believe I have found planner peace with my current planner, I still very much miss Big Pink, and Li’l Pink, my travelers’ notebooks, so that probably means it’s time to get back to them. I don’t want to duplicate my7 calendar, but that only means that the next logical step is to make them something else. That, I can do. Not sure what, but I will start with my old faithful Moleskine cahiers, rather than the standard size pictured above.

That’s pretty much the gist of the workshop. Find what you love, and find a way to make it uniquely one’s own. No two combinations are ever going to be the same I find that exciting.

see you soon!

Typing With Wet Paws: Special Tuesday Edition

Hi, Storm Troopers! Are you surprised to see me on a Tuesday? Wild, huh? I know, but it’s one of those weeks. Aunt Anna and the other humans will be off the grid for a couple of days, as we are off on another trip to Aunt Linda’s family home, so Aunt Anna asked me to fill in today, to cover yesterday and tomorrow’s post. I told her no problem. That’s why I’m here, right? Well, that and to spread magical fibers of love and joy.

Anyway, about what’s going on over here. Aunt Anna is having kind of an existential planner crisis, or, depending on the perspective, (let’s reframe!) a chance to try some new things and get even more creative. She wouldn’t let me take any pictures of her planners in progress, but trust me, there is stuff going on. Some of that will be going on while we are on adventure at Chez Grandmere (the mother of your aunt is your grandmother, right? I think that’s how it works. I am not sure about human family terms.) Aunt Anna is also planning on doing a lot of writing in longhand there, because Chez Grandmere does not, unfortunately, have interwebs. Maybe not so unfortunately if that means more writing time.

Aunt Anna has already started trying out a new to her plotting technique that she learned from a Heart Breathings tutorial. If this works, that will go a long way to solving the problem of what to do with a bunch of outdated Happy Planner pages. She has set up her spread for a story to be determined, and will give that a go during out adventure. Watch this space for the results. Normally, she doesn’t go in for charts and stuff, but when it’s time to get back on the horse (nobody told me there was a horse) trying new things is always a good idea.

This is also a good time to go through some stuff that the aunts and uncle have stored at Chez Grandmere, which may provide some interesting results. I find that rather exciting. I also find the place called “basement” very very very exciting, but I am not allowed to go down there. No idea why. Other cats used to go down there. Maybe they left some food or toys. How can I leave that unexplored? Humans. Hmph.

Huh. This doesn’t seem like a lot of news for a “special” blog, but that’s okay. Can’t all be rock stars, am I right? Except for beautiful calico girls. We are all automatically rock stars. I like to sing the song of my people at special midnight performances, and you should see the choreography that goes along with it. Truly a work of genius. We’ll be back on Friday, Saturday at the latest, and there will be better updates then. Rest assured that I will be in full mews mode, providing inspiration and encouragement.

Okay, wait. I remember. I was supposed to list some of the planner and notebook things that Aunt Anna is going to revamp over the next few weeks. Let’s see if I can find some pictures to go with them.

Granted, these are not all of them, nor does Aunt Anna expect to be able to keep all of them running for unique purposes (or the same one; boy, would that be repetitive) at the same time, and she is beginning to come around to the idea that it’s okay to move the same guts to different covers as the mood strikes. Also that there are plusses and minuses to the different sizes and formats she likes, including but not limited to:

  • discbound (Happy Planner, etc) in micro, mini, classic or big sizes
  • Traveler’s notebooks (strings) in pocket, personal, and standard sizes
  • Six ring binders in personal or A5 size
  • Three ring binders in full or half letter size
  • traditional hard or softcover notebooks, sewn, perfect, or wirebound

So yeah, that’s kind of a lot, and it does relate to writing, because that’s what she likes to do in them, so she is figuring out what format her exploration of these should take. Blogging? Vlogging? If you have a preference, leave a comment and I will make sure she gets it.

Headbonks!

Typing With Wet Paws: Family Weekend Edition

Hi, Storm Troopers! Twice in one week. I could get used to this. I’m going to be quick this week because our weekend is full of family stuff. Don’t worry, it’s good. Aunt Anna has her local RWA chapter meeting on Saturday. It will be an important meeting, with some serious stuff and some fun stuff, too. Aunt Anna loves that the membership is varied, that there really is a love story for everybody.

Talking about love stories is a pretty good segue, because that’s basically what Aunt Anna does. Buried Under Romance is sorting out a few things, moving to a new host, and getting ready to unleash some fun new stuff including but not limited to getting to know the staff and what kinds of romance novels they like and recommend. Aunt Anna is also looking for other romance authors who would like to be interviewed for the blog. because talking to writers is one of her very favorite things, especially if it pertains to the writing of romance. Also cats. Lots of writers have cats.

On to the business of Aunt Anna’s Goodreads challenge for 2020. Right now, she is two books ahead of schedule, with five books read out of ninety. This is partly due to the trick that she learned from Miss Lisa at Buried Under Romance, about making any book into an audiobook if she reads on her Kindle app, but I do have to include a cat-viat on this one. Sometimes, Aunt Anna finds the computer voice reading to her so relaxing that she falls asleep. When that happens, I curl up next to her head and purr. I think that helps. Maybe not her, but it helps something. Mostly me.

Really tiny notebook, perfect for feline use

Other than reading and writing, Aunt Anna is usually planning, and one of the things that she did this past week was to use something she has had for a very long time, but had not used for almost that long. That is the stamp that you can see above in the really tiny notebook. This reminds Aunt Anna that her goal is to remain true to her own voice and write the storts of stories she most wants to read, and leave all that marketing stuff ifor later. She is still figuring out what this tiny notebook is for, but right now it is pretty good for keeping the most important tasks for the day. I still think it is more cat sized than human sized.

Anyway, that is about it for right now. I need to herd Aunt Anna to bed because it will be an early morning and a big weekend. Stay tuned, Storm Troopers, because more news is coming.

Headbonks!

2020 Vision?

Yesterday, I didn’t mean to spend the entire day on Patreon work, but that’s how things worked out. I started out making a spreadsheet for my TBR for the coming year, and things kept going. One list for favorite lush historical romances, another for favorite contemporary YA, and a batch of ideas for more. I love making these sorts of lists, and I love connecting readers with favorite books in favorite historical eras, with particular themes, etc. Current plans are to make requests for such lists available on one of the tiers., If the list is for something that isn’t quite my taste, say wallpaper Regencies, I can still do some educated guessing, as in what’s popular, has received high reviews, or looks interesting in some aspect. I could pick out books all day long, seriously, and be happy to do it.

Today is the first day of my one page a day writing schedule. One page of fiction -doesn’t matter what- bare minimum. More if I can, more if I want to, but that first page, those first two hundred and fifty words, they don’t have to be perfect, don’t have to be even good, but they do have to be. That’s easy enough. I will proably lump those in with Storm’s weekly blogs, along with other progress reports. We will see how it goes, and I am more than likely going to make some sort of paper tracker because that’s how my brain goes.

Speaking of paper planners, I plan (see what I did there?) to share more about what I do with that, as well. There is a beautiful black version of Spinebreaker headed my way, to hold my everyday carry bullet-y journal-y commonplace-y notebook. Spinebreaker’s lovely pink self will hold some different inserts to help me manage the writing projects I have on tap for this year. I will figure it out as I go.

Both yesterday and today, I have been listening to YouTube videos analyzing episodes of Black Mirror. I have seen exactly one episode of that show, “San Junipero,” but I’m still getting a lot out of the commentary. My tenure at Heroes and Heartbreakers gave me the chance4 to ramble on about my favorite TV ships, and the moments that worked, as well as the ones that didn’t. I’d like to bring some of that to the blog, and/or Patreon. This amy involve another attempt at making video blogs. We will see. Some of that will depend on where we land, Stately Bowling Manor-wise, but it’s definitely on the table.

The thing that has to happen before any of this other stuff can occur, though, is the writing. The putting of the bottom in the chair and words on the page, paper or virtual, one page at a time, one after the other, on and on until Once Upon a Time reaches And They Lived Happily Ever After. It’s a new year, and there are stories to tell. There is no section on Amazon or in Barnes and Noble or any other brick and mortar store, for great three chapters or excellent outlines. Only. Full. Books.

That means moving forward, even when there’s no gaurantee that t hings are going to turn out on the page the same way they are in my head (can they ever be?) That means tapping back into the girl who set up a makeshift desk out of TV trays, and typing out stories that couldn’t possibly go anywhere on an electronic typewriter. Only, they did. Maytbe not those exact pages, but the were needed to get me one step further down the path to where I am now, and where I am going next.

For today, that’s going to mean this blog entry, one page of fiction, and probably planner therapy after. Doesn’t have to be perfect, does have to be written. That’s doable. Let’s see where it goes.

Happy New Year.

Two Hundred and Fifty

Welp. Last post of 2019. I will not be sorry to see this year in my rearview mirror. While 2019 did have some standout moments – the publication of Chasing Prince Charming, adding Storm kitty to our family, the support and love of amazing friends when real life plot twists took some crazy turns – the bar for 2020 is not on the dauntingly high side.

IRL challenges aside, there is the whole RWA debacle, about which I have a lot of feelings, and feelings about those feelings. Romance Writers of America has never been a perfect organization, but the new developments that have come fast and furious, over the holiday week, those raise a whole lot of questions. As it stands now, I am waiting for my next CR-RWA meeting so that I can learn more and be around other people who are going through the same thing, before I say much more. The fact that this is all happening at the same time we learned of the passing of one of the OG historical romance superstars, Johanna Lindsey, makes it all that much more surreal.

As the great Beverly Jenkins has said, and Nora Roberts has pointed out that the middle word in “Romance Writers of America” is “Writers,” this is a time to keep going forward. Keep writing. Keep writing romance. That seems like a good note on which to start a new year. While yes, there is still adulting to do, and we are doing that, writing has taken a back seat while dealing with IRL matters, and it’s time now, to pick it back up once again.

I have said on many occasions that I am not a word counter, and I am not. Right now, however, when I went to figure out how to get myself back in Serious Writing Mode, what came to mind was that a page a day is a book in a year. That’s something I can do whether I am at a computer keyboard or working with pen and paper only, and it’s pretty easy to measure. Get to end of page, that’s the minimum required for the day. If anything more is too much, I can kick off for the rest of the day, read, adult, stare off into the distance, whatever is needed. One page is roughly two hundred and fifty words, which is not that daunting. Even counting words, two hundred and fifty of them in one place are not really that much.

Morning pages do not count for this requirement. It has to be fiction. Morning pages are their own thing, though I can use parts of them to prime the pump for the day’s fiction. Naturally, I plan to write more than one book this year, as this is a reality for a career in commercial fiction. Baby steps, though, are always a good place to start, or re-start. Neither does any writing that is not actual fiction writing count. Pump priming, list making, that sort of thing can get me to where I can write actual fiction, but it’s only the fiction that is going to count.

This year, I want to tap back into the writer who didn’t know any better, the one who knew how to shut out everything else and throw that story onto the page with all she’s worth. Maybe even more than that. Strike the “maybe.”

There are a lot of stories ahead in 2020, to be read, to be watched, to be written, risks to take in all of those things. Writing, reading, and watching romance has been a driving force in my life since I was eleven years old and stole my first historical romance from my mother’s nightstand. I have had the wonderful experience of writing about all of that for blogs both personal and commercial, and I look forward to bringing some of that over to my Patreon-to-be, which is in itself a daunting yet exciting prospect. On the one hand, who am I to ask people to pay me to, well, be me, but on the other, this fits right into the idea that I don’t have to put the pressure on myself to appeal to everybody. Maybe doing what I do and focusing on people who like that sort of stuff is s more liberating way to go.

We’ll find out, one page at a time.