One of my favorite quotes of all time is from the amazeballs Maya Angelou, and I repeat it to myself often.
Never has this thought been so profound in my writing life as it is right now.
When I started writing as a child I wrote like a, well, child. My short stories were a series of “and then his happened-s,” run-on sentences, and prose packed with adverbs, flowery descriptions and analogies that had no real comparatory basis behind them. My fiction read more like a diary entry than actual crafted storytelling. But I found great joy in the writing.
My graduate thesis was written from a scientific methodology viewpoint, and reads like the driest medical tome ever penned. Facts, figures, graphs, statistics. Boring with a capital BORING. But I loved writing it.
As I began writing non-fiction articles on motherhood and the life of a 30-something for magazines after I had my daughter, I wrote with an easy, I’m-just-talking-to-you-over-coffee style. Nothing craft-heavy at all, no real plot or story structure, just a simple imparting of info laced with humor and self deprecating insights. Writing these articles was a labor of love that made me feel lighter and more confident with myself as a new mother and a woman trying to navigate through a crazy world.
Even blog writing, which is more of a conversation with me in the driver’s seat brings me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. I can pop a blog post out in less than a half-hour most days, never have to edit it for content – only spelling mistakes – and then hit post without worry. Love that!
When I first began writing fiction in my 50’s I knew nothing about plot, structure, conflict, subplot, subtext, or character motivation. I simply had a story in my head and wanted to get it on paper. I look at my debut romance novel, SKATER’S WALTZ from The Wild Rose Press, now and think, yeah, it was a decent story…but really could have been better. But I wrote that book with such joy in my heart during a time in my life that was very challenging. The sense of accomplishment and utter jubilation that it was actually published was a top ten event in my life.
Now that I write romantic fiction in a few sub-genres – RomCom, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense lite – I have to write in a way that brings the reader into the story, gets them hooked on the characters, and that leaves them at the end of the book satisfied and wanting more from me. I have an obligation to the reader to present a satisfying product to them.
No easy feat, this, and one which – daily – gives me agita! I’ve gotten too worried this past year about selling books, marketing, and learning new digital ways to publish just to get my books in front of people that I’ve lost my way a little in the writing from my heart department. The joy just hasn’t been there and I think it’s shown in my writing.
So, after close to 30 books published, I’ve decided to do something that sounds a bit crazy, and, in all honesty, probably is.
I’m starting over.
What it really means is that I’m going back to basics, armed with the wisdom I’ve managed to gather these past 5 years since I was first published. Readers want a story that they can tell the author just loved writing. They want to fall in love with the hero and heroine much the same way the characters fell in love with one another, and that the writer did as well as she was bringing them to life.
I want that, too.
Those are the books I want to read, the stories I want to fill my soul.
They are also the stories I want to write.
So, with age and experience, comes wisdom and I am taking that wisdom into 2021 and writing my heart out. I’ve got a list of books that will be written and released this year, some traditionally published and several new indie releases as well. I’m not worrying about marketing, sales, getting on bestseller lists, or even winning any awards this year.
What I am going to do is simply write my heart out because that’s what makes me happy. And I know when I’m happy, my readers are, too.
See? I know better now…so I’m going to do better.
Looking for me? Here I am: