It's rare for me to write so many blog posts in one go, but hey. I'd rather write 5 in a week than wait 6 months to write another one haha.
So I was talking with my dear friend and fellow romance writer Sarah Bailey a week ago now? (we talk all the time so I have no idea when exactly) and I described what being a romance writer felt like.
This had come about right when I had completed my current contemporary WIP and I was feeling pretty lost. So I described it as something like this:
Being a romance writer is like being a GP.
You have a waiting room full of characters waiting to be seen (written).
But those who come late want to be seen first. Everyone's impatient. Once you finally get around to actually discharging patients, new patients walk in with even bigger problems.
But you, as the GP (writer), need to prioritise. The only problem is you'll have one character who claims that their heart has been broken and they'll never be able to love again, so it in turn breaks your heart and you want to help them first. THEN you'll hear another character say how they don't even know why they're here to begin with, that they don't have a problem called 'love' because love has never touched them (this one is what I call an anti-hero/heroine, by the way), then you drop everything just to help that twisted character out before they hurt thenselves.
I think it's pretty much an accurate description. At least for me (and Sarah). We now often talk about our wait rooms, who needs to be seen and what the prioritise are and honestly? I find it quite fun to talk about it in that way.
To count, I currently have...in order of priority:
1. Noah & Kessie (they arrived 3rd)
2. Elliot & Devin (they arrived last)
3. Ken & Viera (they arrived 1st)
4. A secret couple - (they arrived 2nd)
A few pirates but no one has dropped from the airship yet to announce themselves
It kind of just goes to show how things never really according to plan regardless of who came about first. Sometimes it's about what's easier to tackle. Ken and Viera have always been my first patients but their problems are 'epic'. It'll take me a while to get them discharged...a long while. They're basically furniture (but pretty steampunk furniture).
It's our job as writers to listen to our characters' hearts and heal them, even if our own breaks along the way, the end is always rewarding.
I'll stop now, otherwise I'll just go on forever.
How many patients are in your waitroom? And do you have the same problem I do with prioritisation? I'd love to know!
So this post is going to be a little bit...I don't know, should I say personal?
It's something...but I do feel like I need to document it somewhere so why not my blog.
Since the world fell apart (that's no exaggeration), I've distanced myself immensely from social media. I tend to only go on there for author purposes but otherwise I've taken a step back and it's done me a world of good. And I'm enjoying it. Social media gets too loud for me. Especially now that there appears to be an increase of internet immigrants (because of course, what else is there to do now that people can't leave the house right?). I do feel like going on social media is like walking into one of Jay Gatsby's parties and not knowing what to do with yourself. You're just overwhelmed by the wave of voices, opinions and showiness that you just find yourself fading into the background or walking out feeling less about yourself. It can be really offputting and damaging.
I don't watch the news. I've never watched the news.
I don't watch tv (as in actual television). It's just Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ or Viki (for you K-Drama/C-Drama lovers) for me.
For a long while (what I deem long for me may differ for what's long for others) I was deficient in creativity - which was very painful for me. It triggered my anxiety, there were mild panic attacks, there were tears, self-confidence issues, depressive episodes.
I basically went through an existential crisis and I couldn't get out of it.
Because things were (and still are) all up in the air and uncertain.
I'm doing better now. I've crawled out of that hole and dusting myself off. Maybe not as quickly as I should, but I'm taking my time with it. There are days still where I have moments of "I am a failure", "I'm inadequate in comparison to other writers", "I'll never be published" then there are moments where I feel happy about my small wins. No day is the same. I'll be on top today but tomorrow I may not be. I can't predict it. And it's not that easy to control either.
I tend to put a shameful amount of pressure on myself to be a 'good everything' to everyone. I want to be a good writer, friend, partner, child, employee. And I seem to do everything I can to get to the satisfactory level that I'm happy with...the only problem is, my 'satisfactory level' is all the way up in the clouds. I can never reach it. I'm my toughest opponent. Not sure why I'm such a harsh critic. I only know that I'm slowly learning how to combat that side and cut myself from slack. No one's perfect, right?
It's taken me time to recover, to accept that with life as it is now, it's okay to feel a multitude of emotions, to be sad, confused, angry and more. There are no rules. There's no easy way to play this game the universe is having right now.
I'm not sure how I managed to finish my second draft of my WIP. It just...happened. And when it was over, I felt a bit lost, empty and very scared (because I want my editor to love it as much as I do). But I didn't stay idle. I found myself diving back into my fantasy romance (the 3rd draft) and resuming editing. The day after that I had a chat with another editor and started something brand new...and by brand new, I literally mean I started a WIP I never thought I would.
It's in 1st POV. This is a big deal for me only because I'm a strictly 3rd POV writer only. But as I was given the opportunity to write this new idea in either or, I chose 1st person and I've had great fun with it. I've sent some chapters to my editor to get some feedback, which I'll be recieving in a couple of weeks so we'll see what happens with that.
At the moment I'm just waiting for WIP feedback and slowly getting back into editing my fantasy romance. Some may say it's a huge achievement to be busying myself, however I see if quite differently. for me, I feel like I'm working behind schedule. Where I'm at now, I should have been last year. But again, this high expectation/personal pressure is something I'm still trying to figure out.
Honestly, it's a constant battle (it always has been) but even more so during these uncertain times. There's no real point to this blog other than to be honest and to document a bit of realness. Writing is hard, it's never easy. Being a writer...it's a constant war with yourself. You feel bad if you aren't writing, and when you are, you doubt yourself.
Even on your release day, which is meant to be an uncredibly exciting day for any writer, you feel anxious about the reviews. It's very very hard.
I'm still pretty much learner about myself as a writer and I do very much enjoy that growth. I love the lessons. I love the challenge. And I count on many more.
I don't think it hurts for me to impart a bit of advice for anyone struggling creatively so I'll say this:
No one can write like you can. No one sees the world the way you do. No one can write your story, so it's up to you. There will be one person out there who needs your story, who will say that it inspired them, taught them, entertained them. Think of them.
So I've been slightly better this time with the space between writing new blog posts haha
Doesn't mean it'll stick though...but considering, you know, that the world is in a state of WTF, I don't think it really matters! (but enough about that)
I write this post today because I'm awful.
I FORGOT to announce that I co-host a romance podcast with the amazing Sarah Bailey (if you aren't following her already - why the hell not? she's awesome) and it's called Made In Romance.
And as you can imagine, it's basically all about romance books. We talk about romance tropes, our favourite reads, what we love/hate as well as other stuff to come. And we have guests join us for the fun too! It's great stuff!
If ever you did fancy a listen, here's how you can go about doing just that!
I hope enjoy the journey just as much as we do!
Officially I'm rubbish at keeping my blog up to date, let's be real.
My last blog post was in November 2019...guys, we're in March 2020, how did this happen?
Happy New Year!
Happy Valentine's day!
Happy Pancake Day!
Happy International Women's Day!
I think I've covered them all? Have I? *thinking face* *tumble weed rolls by* *crickets*
Anywhoooo, I'll jump into my WIP progress (because this is the whole point of my blog):
I've been working soooooo haaaard to meet my goals and I won't rest until I do! It's not as easy as it looks.
I wish I could say more...no really, I wish I had more to say in this blog lol but honestly, I just stopped by to update (for anyone remotely interested, that is).
It's not been the greatest start to the year for me, and I don't really want to go into it but I'm determined to turn this year around somehow (I know we've only just started 2020 but come on, work with me).
It's not all been bad...there are some things to look forward to on the horizon. One of which I'm keeping close to my chest right now but can't wait to share with you all once the time is right.
Anyway, that's it for now. HOPEFULLY I'll remember to update my blog soon with some exciting news, but let's just take one day at a time, eh?
We're mid November now so here's an update on my goals:
One goal met. Which is still progress, right?
"The hard part is done", as I like to say, but actually the hard part is far from being done.
I'm at the revision stage - the infamous hard part.
To add a bit of context:
I've been going to a monumentous amount of stress these past couple of months (personal stuff) which seems to finally be improving now. On top of that, I've managed to complete a book somehow - which again, is great. However, the last couple of weeks has to be one of my lowest points in years (emotionally and creatively).
Whenever I recieve feedback on a draft, I do this thing where I sit there, address the main points and problem solve. I make notes upon notes upon notes and when I finally feel I've cracked the code to creating a clearer, smoother plot, I get really excited and contact my editor and it's all poppers and firework displays when I miraculously manage to pull it off.
But what about when I don't?
Have I ever spoken about what happens when I feel I've failed and have to go back to the drawing board?
I've avoided social media, solely for the fact that creatively I've had no drive, no inspiration, no faith and no silver lining. I can't bear to be exposed to the successes of other people in the writing community when I'm stuck in the mud. I've constantly second guessed myself. Every day that's passed I've asked myself if I'm cut out to be a romance writer (meanwhile forgetting that others seen so much potential in me and that I've been acknowledged by editors before).
And I know people say "read a book, it might inspire you"...no, it doesn't.
It only succeeds in making me feel even more inadequate as a writer. It constantly has me comparing myself to the writer, telling myself I can never be as good, could ever write as flawlessly. Then I start to ask myself whether my writing is too basic or cliche (forgetting all about the good feedback I've recieved and hellbent on focusing on the bad).
It's depressing, I know. And I'm aware that the writing community has an equal balance of emotions, that creatives flock to twitter or facebook or wherever to share their sorrows, rejections, failures, successes, achievements...and I'm equally guilty of sharing moments of achievement and success...but I don't like to talk about my problems. I don't like exposing my hardships.
However, I think it helps to be honest with people, otherwise I'm not being real.
Hence this post today in my protected space.
I have no idea who (or if anyone) reads my blog posts, so I could be venting to thin air for all I know, but it doesn't matter. What matters is I'm honest with whoever does stumble across my site or page and reads this. Honest that being a creative sounds hella fun, but has the hardest low points. Everyone deals differently.
For me, if I can't write, can't create or brainstorm then I retreat into myself. Question myself. Lose faith in myself. Until something helps me break out of it.
Prior to my low point, two fellow writers spontaneously messaged me, and I learnt three things.
1) Someone loves my writing pictures - the ones where I always have a cup of tea or teapot nearby
2) Someone finds my writing updates motivational
3) Someone is looking forward to my stories
It's the simple nuggets of gold such as these which help me find the silver lining. That and the support from my close friends who understand all too well what it's like to suffer creatively.
Be assured that I'm inching closer to pulling myself out of this quick sand. I'll find my feet again and before long, you'll see me back to my usual optimistic self.
In the meantime, I'll be...problem solving.
I'll end it here with something for those who do like my writing space photos. Here's my latest one which is fairly new to me as it's a new desk with new thingamabobs (I have yet to utilise this new space properly!) Xxxx
I'm awfully proud of myself.
"Why?" I hear you ask?
For once, I'm ultra organsed and even had a mini epiphany this week.
I know for a long time I've considered myself a Fantasy Romance writer (and that's only because my current projects were of that genre and I hadn't envisioned writing anything else), however, those of you who follow me on social media will know I've been working on a contemporary romance recently.
I've been so engrossed in this project that I've solidified my desire to get this book self-published...yes, it means...I will be relelasing my first contemporary romance this year!
There is so much excitement bubbling up inside me, not just because of this announcement, but because it means I can write whatever romance tickles my fancy in the future and not just stick to one category of romance - paranormal romance, thriller romance, time travel romance...you get the gist.
With this all in mind, I want to again provide a list of 'things I have to do' so it's clear what my plans are for the rest of the year (which I'm happy to share it with you all):
Four seemingly 'simple' tasks on paper, but it will most definitely take me into next year. The largest project out of all of these has to be the JJ tales, because it's such a mammoth story with so much to work on and get right. It's my 4th draft so you can imagine I want to get it right this final time!
But yeah, the positives are there. I WILL get one book published this year and I'm so excited about it!
Anyway, that's it for now. More to come soon, guys!!
It’s been a while but for once I’ll try to make this short and sweet!
Life has been throwing it’s lemons which I’ve been juggling whilst making lemonade all at the same time. Who said women can’t multi-task again?
Anyway, long story short, I’ve pressed pause on JJ tales for now as I’ve started working on a new project. This WIP is shorter and contemporary romance, very different from my JJ tales series. I was really struggling with the editing for a while creatively, so after much needed advice from a dear bestie and awesome writer, I decided to take the leap into something a bit out of my comfort zone.
It’s been going well so far. At the moment it’s a bit of fun and a hell of a lot of learning – I can’t complain! There isn’t really any knowing what will come of the project but I can assure you I will be jumping back into editing JJ tales very soon (as my characters are starting to drive me insane!)
Whilst we’re on the topic of the JJ tales, here’s the update I have at the moment. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to make another big change (aside from the whole rewrite) and change the titles.
Now, in the past whilst these titles have worked, it’s bothered me that they had no firm consistency as a series and therefore I’ve decided to give it more depth.
I won’t disclose the title for book one just yet, but I can happily say I love it already and can’t wait to share.
Anyway, that is as short and sweet as I can get right now! Back to lemon juggling/making I go!
I know it's been a spell since my last blog post back in September 2018.
I can't express how awful I am at blogging and keeping everyone in the loop.
Here's a very brief update on old news anyway.
- I had an awful tumble down the stairs late November, I sprained my torso, was off work for a month.
- During that time of being bed ridden, uncomfortable and frustrated with life, I managed to complete draft 2 of Origin.
- I returned to work in January and officially stepped into my new senior role.
- A couple days ago I had a collision with a school kid in my car, he had ran out into the road without looking, I couldn't brake in time and hit him. Even though he's alright and only got away with a graze and sore leg (nothing broken thank god), the shock was monumental.
I don't handle stress very well. In fact, I suffer from severe anxiety and have had panic attacks in the past. This very well triggered me and it's still very much on my mind.
I've had to give my apologies to the amazing Writing Community on Twitter who have always been so supportive and amazing to socialise with.
My doctor has given me a few days off work to try and recuperate. My manager is really supportive. I hate being off my game, I won't lie. I know I'm not myself. I've been overworking myself, been staying late after work, been taking on way too much and I think I've run myself to the ground now.
A low me is not a fun me. But I'm thankful I have people around me who understand.
My plan had been to start draft 3 this weekend however I still find myself not quite there yet. Instead I thought it might be a good time to update my site and all of you who care to read my blog. That still counts as something writer-related, right?
I thought it might be optimistic to post a list of things I'm really looking forward to the next few months (a kind of non-new year's resolution - because I hate them):
- Avengers Endgame
- Kobra Kai (Season 2)
- Game of Thrones (Final season)
- The Umbrella Academy (Season 2)
- Spiderman: Far From Home
(Yes, I'm aware that so far this list is made up of movies and TV shows)
- Completing darft 3 of Origin
- Finally republishing Origin
- Playing Skull & Bones
- Starting a new writing project
Currently I'm on a binge watch of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Which I'm sure I'll be completing in no time. But that's me.
Until next time, by then I should be back to my usual self.
This won't be a long post but a wee update!
I have worked hard. Harder than I ever have done to complete Origin's rewrite.
And now I can HAPPILY announce that I have finished the manuscript and it is now in the capable hands of my editor! (YAY!)
I guess now the question is "what should I do whilst I wait to hear back?"
The usual answer would be "to start on the next book in the series" but actually...I plan to try working on something new and unrelated to the JJ Tales or Romance Fantasy!
I can't say right now what I have in mind but just know it's a great challenge for me and I'm both excited and nervous!
The arrival of September also brings along new, exciting opportunities and I'd be a fool to say no to every one that comes my way!
Aside from brainstorming, I'll be reading a lot more (because reading is pivitol for a writer, it's necessary to turn off and take a break and jump into someone elses' world).
But that's all guys! Short but sweet ;)
I'll try and give updates where possible!
It’s not often I get the opportunity to meet published authors but after striking up such a friendship with Paranormal Romance writer, Sarah Bailey, I thought it would be nice to interview her during our first meeting.
Please note, I am not a professional blogger, I don't really carry out interviews so this was a spur of the moment thing. This interviews may differ from other interviews because it was quite informal.
I’ll set the scene for you:
I enter the cat emporium first and immediately clock eyes on a water dispenser which, on any normal day, would not have looked as attractive as it did but considering I’d walked through the Sahara Desert (aka London), I practically sobbed and cradled it.
After replenishing my quickly overheated body, I had a peruse around the tiny café, knowing I wouldn’t be called in until my booking at 2pm. So I admire the cat magnets, playing cards, mugs, colouring books and then to my right, I see Sarah Bailey enter the shop.
We hug and, like all Brits for the past 2-3 weeks, we complain about the heat. We complain about the heat even as I hand her over a cold cup of water, then we complain about the heat some more. It’s not long after are we then led through the doors to another small room with sinks and a hostess. We’re explained the house rules (because there are indeed house rules when dining in a house of cats). No camera flash. No waking the cats if they are sleeping. Basically let them come to you and feel free to use cat toys to play with them when and if the opportunity presents itself.
After washing our hands, we are led into the next room where every table we pass is occupied with hoomans. cats are sleeping in their beds or along the walls on shelves. We’re led downstairs to a very Alice in Wonderland/fantasy forest room where there are more tables and less cats, fans are on full blast in every corner of the room. And thankfully we’re seated in the corner at the Carbonelle table (yes, Carbonelle is, in fact a cat and every table had been named after one of the furry friends).
We had wooden bridges over our heads, shelves where they could wander around freely, little cubby holes in the massive tree where they could sleep. At this point, we’re just trying to take it all in and I decide to jump straight into interview before the tea and food arrives (because I’m way too enthusiastic). I ask if I can record, to which she grants permission and I press the button and begin.
S.R: Okay, so thank you for meeting with me *we both laugh* This is so nice! So, I’ve got ten questions but hopefully they aren’t difficult ones. My first question is, Demon’s After Dark is mainly set in London. Why choose London & what is your favourite thing about the city?
S.B: I think I chose London because it’s such a big place and it seems to be one of the places where you could, you know, potentially have a bunch of supernaturals hiding under the surface so it was kind of the ideal choice because I love the UK and being British *laughs*. I think my favourite thing about this city—god, I don’t often come here but…I do like walking by the Thames because even though it’s horrible and dirty, it’s such an open space in comparison to wherever I go. London in general is a bit compact and crowded so it’s just nice to go along the Southbank.
S.R: I definitely agree.
*A waitress comes over with our pot of English Breakfast and places it between us daintily. She tells us out High tea will be arriving soon and we thank her*
S.R: Okay! Second question…*I pause to let S.B take a photo of the set up and another waitress turns up with the High Tea and rattles off what each tier consists of (Vegetarian High Tea. Sweet layer has vanilla cupcake, lemon berry and raspberry cupcakes, 2 shortbread biscuits & 2 macaroons. Second tier of 2 scones with jam and cottage cream and the bottom tier, tomato & hummus sandwiches and savoury cakes*
Okay, you’ve mentioned other supernatural beings in your book, so I definitely have to know, if you could be one of your many fantastical occults, what would you choose to be and why?
S.B: *laugh* Oh my god…okay, I’ve always, always, always had an affinity for vampires. I don’t know what it is about them, maybe it’s the whole blood lust or whatever. I just think that vampires are very sexy in a weird way…if that really makes sense?
S.R: *smirks* It’s not even weird at all. *at this point I resist the urge to make a bad Interview with the Vampire pun*
S:B: *laughs again* No, it’s not weird.
S:R: It’s not weird at all, it’s why we’re here!*I giggle because when you’re on the subject of sexy vampires, how can you not?*
S:B: So, literally my second book is about vampires so I was very excited to write the second book because of my love for them.
S.R: *beams* Cool! Leading on to that, do you have a release date for Vampire’s Kiss yet?
S.B: *gasps in thought* Ummmm, I’m hoping it will be released on the 26th of July.
S.R: 26th! *dances in chair*
S.B: Provided that my cover artist does the cover first, I am booked in, but that’s what we’re waiting for.
S.R: I’m looking forward to it! What’s the best and worst thing about writing for you?
S.B: Oh my god, the best thing is being able to create a world, a fantasy world, essentially all the worlds we create are fantasy worlds because they’re not real *laughs* and being able to get lost in them is the most exciting thing for me really. The real world is sometimes not very fun.
S.R: No, I have to agree on that one too.
S.B: the worst part is when my characters do not leave me alone and I’m tired and I want to go to sleep and they won’t stop harassing me. Or they harass me when I’m trying to write another book, that also happens which is not very funny, it’s the worst part about being a writer, not being able to turn it off.
S.R: I can relate to that, I’m sure. Next question, which character do you feel you relate most to?
S.B: Okay, this would be telling, *laughs and then arches brow* can it be a guy? *laughs* No, that was a joke. Um, Jesus…across the entire series or just in general or in Demon’s Destiny?
S.R: Um, I would say…the series in general.
S.B: Okay, the series in general. There is a character in…*thinks hard* book 3. The main character in book 3. I wrote this incredible quirky character—not quirky— but she’s got all sorts of anxiety issues. I didn’t want to write a heroine who was your typical badass—I like badass heroines, don’t get me wrong—but I wanted a heroine who was not your normal girl, I wanted her to have, I don’t know, she wrote herself essentially, she got in my head and told me how she wanted to be written. I think she’s probably most like me out of all of them, I do inject myself into every character, that’s just a thing. I’m not going to say more because book 3 is not coming out until August--
S.R: Of course! No spoilers!
S.B: No spoilers.
S.R: I know what you’re like *laughs*. Okay would you say that you’re a believer in the supernatural?
S.B: Oh, yeah definitely.
S.R: *nods in agreement* Definitely. Because a non-believer would be somewhat living a boring life otherwise.
S.B: Definitely, I agree
S.R: If your series made the big screen, would you prefer it to be a tv series or a movie?
S.B: A tv series because there are more episodes and can explore more as a tv show and also because there are so many different characters, it makes more sense to me.
S.R: There’s more depth to a series and there’s more time to explore the characters.
S.B: Exactly, you’re not condensing the story into a 2 hours or 1 and a half hours which kind of feels like it’s rushed, although my books are rather fast paced so maybe it would work.
S.R: Which character would you like to meet in person and what would you say to them?
S.B *laughs and shakes head* That’s a really hard question! The thing is I really want to meet all of them! They’re so cool! That’s such a really impossible question to ask me right now.
S.R: I mean I suppose you could say all of them in one room but it might be a bit much.
S.B: Actually, I guess I would lie to meet my lead from book 5 because…I don’t want to give spoilers away, but he is one of the loudest characters in my head that I’ve ever experienced. I think it would be interesting because of what he is…who he is.
S.R: I like the cryptic-ness. It’s what I expect from you. In this current heatwave in the UK, what would Lukas and Ella be doing right now?
S.B: What would they be doing? *wonders* probably…I imagine them out in this garden together sunbathing because they like to spend time together, no spoilers, if you’ve read the books you’ll know why they don’t like being apart.
S.R: *whimsy voice* Together forever. Okay, now last but not least, if you could give one tip to writers, published or otherwise, what would it be?
S.B: Keep writing! Don’t stop writing. I think that’s the thing, when I started this journey just over a year ago and it’s weird to think it’s just over a year ago, the one thing my aunt – who is also a writer – told me was to just keep writing until you’ve finished your first draft, whatever it is you’re writing. Just don’t stop because if you stop you’re going to get all worked up about it and you’ll want to go back and change things – not that I don’t go back and change things, I do, well, now I do, when I first started writing I didn’t. It’s only through completing something did I realise I could do it and that I could replicate it several times so just keep writing. Every time you write you get better.
S.R: Brilliant. I’ll take that advice as I myself am struggling. But it is a sound piece of advice to keep writing, it doesn’t matter how much you write as long as you get yourself in that mind frame and have it in front of you even if it just a sentence, it’s something.
S.B: Exactly, you can’t fix something you haven’t written. That’s my biggest thing, you can’t go back and change it and make it better if you haven’t actually written a story in the first place.
S.R: *grins* Well thank you for answering all my questions.
S.B: That’s alright, I hope they were satisfactory.
S.R: They were perfect!
S.B: *laughs* I do try.
Recording ended and…we ate! In company of somewhat lazy, tired kitty cats but the food was great, we talked loads more and…I got my copy of Demon’s Destiny signed so I was over the moon!
If you haven’t yet gotten your hands on Demon’s Destiny, you’re missing out big time!
You can find Sarah Bailey’s links below, go and show her some love & support!
Website – www.sarahbaileywriter.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sbaileyauthor
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sbaileyauthor/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sbaileyauthor/
Newsletter sign up – https://www.subscribepage.com/sarahbaileywriter
Just another way to keep you in the loop!