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!
Just another way to keep you in the loop!