Back Into the Fray

Once upon a time I was a full time writer. Now I work for a corporation, with a salary. I once read all the right blogs, knew people in the industry, listened to conference workshops and treated writing like I’d landed my dream job. Now, I no longer recognize the names in Publishers Marketplace, in the RWR or even the New York Times bestsellers.

A lot of things caused the change but mostly it comes down to a paycheck. I wasn’t making money as a writer – I sold after I reentered the workforce – and my husband took a hefty pay cut after being unemployed for a while during the recession. I made the right decision for my family and the choices since then have been guided by the same purpose. I’ve gone back to school and finished my bachelor’s degree, sold my first novel and developed new connections.

But I miss writing. Ache for it. At first I tried to maintain the same level of immersion but I realized that the time I spent volunteering and reading articles/blogs/books, could be spent writing. I cut back and reorganized and tried again to pull writing back onto my list of priorities. I sold a few pieces and yet life kept happening. Each time I’d set a goal, I’d feel guilty for not meeting it. My husband says its latent rebellion for all those repressed-good-girl years. I’m too ornery to concede the point.

A few weeks ago a fellow writer spoke about her change in focus. Initially she’d started writing to bring in a second income thinking, like many of us, that this process would be easy and lucrative. Turns out its hard and addictive. Her heartfelt words made me realize that I could change why and how I wrote. It doesn’t have to be my picture perfect dream job. I get to decide what it will be. Now to keep this from being a total therapy post, here are some tips you can try – just like me – to get back into a writing habit after being away from it.
  • Remember Why You Write – What does it do for you? Why that genre, character or timeline? Revisit the kind rejection letters, the positive feedback from critique partners and positive reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Journal about all the positives so when the negatives rear their ugly heads you’ll have ammunition.
  • Unplug – Set aside those distractions like Facebook, your favorite television shows and daily worries. Some people journal to brain purge before writing. If you’re struggling with leaving those chores for later, try assigning them to another family member.
  • Schedule the Time – Even if it’s you just shutting the door of your office after telling the family you’re busy. The 15 minutes before you fall asleep, pecking away at the alpha smart. At work, during your breaks or lunch. Figure out when writing will fit into your life or schedule life around writing.
  • Set Goals – Whether it is daily word count goals or successful blocks of time, the studies show that goals work if they are measurable and you’re held accountable for those goals. Write them down, get someone else to police and motivate you. I’ll be avoiding this step like the plague.
Here are some suggestions from my friends and family on Facebook.

Janis McCurry Find a story you're passionate about. Not a maybe, an "oh, yeah, baby!"
Tony Balukoff Start with crayon then work your way up to pencil and pen. When you feel ready, go with a sharpie.
Nancy Zuffrea Go inside a mall and people watch.
Diane Adams Only one way to do it. Write. Also the hardest. Why is it always that way?
Megan Justice Ritual helps. Spend fifteen minutes doing something else. Doesn't matter what so long as it's not writing. Then write for an hour. Or until your mojo is gone, whichever is longer. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Char Kaufman Sit down and quietly listen to the void.
Steph Bochenek Hi, Amberly. I time write, maybe fifteen minutes at a time and that helps.
Bill Park "Remember, a writer writes" - Billy Crystal, Throw Mama From the Train

Which brings us to the final tip.
Me and My Five Siblings 2011ish?
The Siblings aka Support System 1.0
  • Find Support – A writing group, critique partner, family or friends. They want to see you succeed. They’re proud of your accomplishments and want you to be happy. Let them support you through the trials and the triumphs.

Bookish Boyfriend patient friend Stephanie Berget tagged me in her latest blog post and I'm finally following through by sharing this questionarie with y'all.

When I read her email I thought she was asking which is my favorite romantic hero - I don't have one - and I'd be in a world of hurt trying to narrow down the list. But what the meme is actually looking for is a hero of our own creation.

So here's how this works according to Julia Barrett:  We all have our favorite book boyfriends and now you have the chance to create one just for yourself and your fantasies! How do you play? Fill out the quiz bellow, post a picture of sexy man and tag five (5) other book addicts to do the same. Don’t forget to pop over to their blogs and let them know they have been tagged! Once tagged… you have to do the same, answer the questions and keep it rolling! But don’t forget the picture of the sexy man!

Here are the questions.

Hair color and style:  I definitely prefer brunettes.

Eye color and facial features: Glasses and facial hair. Stubble is like aftershave, a little goes a long way.

Height and body type:  I'm tall, often the tallest one in a room, and my husband is shorter than me. I figure height doesn't weigh in when you are horizontal. I don't like body builders. But toned with work roughened hands. Yum.

Visible age:  He has to be old enough to know his weaknesses and young enough to still want to be a better person.

Bangability?  Kinky?  Bi?  Etc?:  My desire follows where my heart leads.

Interests:  Reading, movies, mmm...something quirky like he can knit or bake, and most important is a sense of humor.

Human or Alien or Shifter?:  I don't believe in shifters or alien sexual compatibility...though I love reading authors who try to convince me otherwise. Human.

Paranormal skills: Immune to getting sick.

Natural habitat:  My bookish boyfriend can be found in the library, kitchen cooking dinner with the family and the bedroom.

Special skills:  It would be great if he was good with money or liked to shop. Either or both would offset my weakness in those areas.

I have created a lot of male characters (I write mostly m/m after all) so it is hard to share a single picture. This one is from Beautiful Mag. Warning: Not always safe for work. I love his lower back definition.

My five tags are blogs that I've followed for a long time. Marie Sexton, Val Roberts, Dee Carney, Lyn Gala and Rick R. Reed. Check out their sights and tell them I said hi. Hopefully they'll get a chance to join the fun.

Free Dessert

I have this thing about Happy Endings. I read and write romance novels, which by definition end happily. Yet, I've got a pretty wide practical side that doesn't believe in easy love at first try. You got to work for it. Make it worth it. My quirky sense of humor like's the naughty implications of a Happy Ending. Why naughty? They happen at message parlors and cost extra. Google it.

Yesterday my department went to lunch and I saw on their seasonal menu - the single page that the table shares - a dessert called a Happy Ending. Coconut ice cream with mango sauce and snicker doodle cookies. Waitress asks, can I get anyone a dessert and I say, can I have a Happy Ending please. She says, as long as I can have one too. We laugh and she gathers plates around the table and never brings the desert. Even does the receipt and wishes us a good day.

So I ask. Turns out she thought I was teasing. Like asking the phone agent for the winning lottery numbers or world peace. Jokes around the table pop up about Happy Endings. Looking back I wonder what the waitress thought since she didn't know about the desert (first day for the new menu). If I'd been a guy asking would she have been pissed? She ended up bringing one out with lots of spoons. Free.

We get back in the office and my co worker finally realizes what Happy Endings can mean. We'll be heating the office from her blush for weeks.

Guess it's a good thing the dessert was free. Always hard to explain a Happy Ending charged to the corporate account.

Done and Off

I reached my goal and submitted Bravery Not Included to Carina Press. Woot! Now we wait. Here is the blurb from the query letter.
Amazons, once facing extinction and scattered across the world, have re-emerged through HOAX – Home Of the Amazon eXchange – a website developed by Leisl Grant. But someone is kidnapping Amazon children, children who only have one thing in common;  HOAX. P. I. Jim Griffon has been hired to find the missing kids. Jaded, manipulated and used by powerful women in the past, Griffon refuses to work with Leisl to uncover the kidnappers.

Can Griffon put his trust in a woman? Has Leisl’s hunt for truth exposed her people to danger? And when Griffon discovers Leisl is an Amazon – stronger than he could possibly imagine – can they find love?

This is the logo I see Leisl using on her website. HOAX. Like?

Thank you for all the encouragement via Facebook. You all rock!