Writing down the block

Hi all!
It’s the end of 2018 and wow. What a year! So much has happened: I’ve been elected as the Treasurer of my local Romance Writers of America chapter, the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (LERA). Woot woot! I’ve also submitted to the Golden Heart Contest (fingers crossed). And, I’m a PRO member which means I’m even more of a writer than I was before.

I’ve also made a trip out to Vermont for some research and world building things for my two genres. Here’s a look at some of my fave pics.

Fall trees are my jam
Fall in Vermont. Perfect for my Contemporary Romance WIP.
Sock it to me!
And then there were teatime socks. They set the mood for the second half of my current WIP.
If this doesn't scream Fantasy of Manners, I don't know what does.
Fantasy world building in a local antique shop. The vial came home with me.

That said, the holidays are usually a time when I’m full of ideas and ambitions to finish all my novels in the works before New Year’s Day.

NOT going to happen this year.

And that’s okay. This is the first year since France where I’ve given myself some time to not write. That’s big.
I don’t do well under a lot of pressure. Some is good, but I was finding that I was getting burned out because it was more than some. So burned out that I was creating a mental block in my writing and mixing up all sorts of characters and basically making busy work. Seriously, I was getting downhearted about writing and wondering if the boggy mess would ever end and I’d make it out without drowning in words again.
I don’t “write down the block” well.
My hubby suggested a break. And you know what, it was exactly what I needed. So from December 8th on, I took a small haitus on working on my novel and writing (kinda like when we were in school and university–brain needs to recharge).
So what have I been doing? Reading. Magazines, books, novellas, fanfic, you name it! And guess what, it’s pumped me up and given me inspiration to keep writing and keep doing what’s hard. I needed that encouragement.
Already I have ideas going.

As soon as January 1 comes around though, I’ll be back in the thick of things. So here’s what I’ve learned from 2018:

  1. You gotta finish the dang book. (Seriously. None of this waffling over it for months at a time and not writing!)
  2. Set a rigid schedule for writing and STICK to it. (If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one will.) Also, this lets your family know when you are available. Win-win for everyone!
  3. Ignore any self doubt while writing the first drafts. It’s going to be rubbish anyway and no one is going to see it but you. Give yourself the freedom to write the crap. (Also, ignore self doubt in general. Only you can write your story with your voice and it’s a voice that’s begging to be heard.)
  4. “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” ~Michelangelo
  5. Remember you are the master craftsman. Your novel is already there, you just have to carve away at it until you have the masterpiece ready for show.
  6. Use any free resources you have–critique group, chapter help, libraries, free lectures, beta readers, etc. It all will enrich your writing and sharpen you until you are the best you can be.

For 2019, I had all these plans and dreams set in mind but at the end of the day, I have only one phrase that makes sense:

You do you.

Whatever your process, publishing schedule, writing time is, that is going to be the best for you. Just stick with it.

So that’s it. Here’s hoping I final in the GH! 😉

Happy New Year, folks!

The start

baby beeI took this picture on a Spring day on my balcony in France five years ago.

It sounds so poetic, living in France. And it really was. We lived la vie bohème, hovering just above the poverty line that we hardly noticed, in a small village an hour south of Paris. And that was where my writing began to take actual form and shape and no longer was a past time I did whenever I had spare time. For I always wrote, but not with the mind that it could become a career.

At the only English speaking service at a local church, a new friend told me about her writing group. Well, that’s not quite true. She convinced me to come “just once” to her writing group that met every other week in someone’s apartment in Paris and if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to return. The first meeting was rough. I knew no one aside from her and I was in awe to find a one bedroom apartment filled with some twenty writers, all of whom looked the part and had that pensive studious air about them. There, over wine, bread, and cheese, we critiqued our works. The group became less intimidating as the morning wore on. No one laughed me out of the apartment for being so young in my writing. Fellow writers gave me feedback that put my work through a refiner’s fire. And I, in return, found my comments were considered important too.

After that first meeting, I called myself a writer.  Or as other friends have put it, a pre-published author. I like the ring of that more. It’s hopeful and solid. Something I know I can hold onto proudly when the wolves come ’round or self-doubt starts to creep in.

And just like my little bee above, I will continue to work on my craft, heedless of the “wind” blowing me about.

For I am a writer and will always be.

So on that note, back to work for there is still much to be done!