Why Romance Writers Write
Why romance writers write might seem like a trite question with an obvious answer but I’m not so sure. The first thing that comes to my mind as a response to ‘why writers write’ is: they want to make money. Dig a little deeper and I believe you’ll find more.
The first layer I come to is that all storytellers have wondered what their place will be in the hearts of readers. Will their works be respected, revered, or reviled? That concern (and many others) spins in my head as I type away on my current work-in-progress. A little doubt can fuel us to work harder, but too much, and we become paralyzed. Many an aspiring author never makes it past their first work because of these crushing doubts and overwhelming paralysis. The courage to submit their book to publishers is sometimes never realized. I wonder how many great stories are held hostage in the memory of a laptop or under a bed in a box or on the shelf of a closet never to see another set of eyes beside their creator—the writer.
Deeper still I come to how much the publishing industry has changed and you have a brew that has overwhelmed many a writer. For more than five centuries the printing press ruled my predecessors, my current peers and me. The digital revolution tipped the market on its end. Like any revolution there are winners and losers. Bookstores are becoming fewer and fewer in the world, just like music stores became after the advent of the iPod by Apple. New York publishers’ grip has been loosened on the fiction and non-fiction book markets, though I believe is still present. Self-publishing and small press is a viable alternative to the traditional path for success for many authors. This uncertainty confuses many and makes us have to consider the business of publishing even more than before.
In all this noise the reason of why a writer writes seems distant and unknowable. Dig deeper. The truth is so close.
Sophie Oak gave a keynote speech at The Romance Convention in Dallas this year that moved me.
Here’s a portion of her speech, “…we understand the stigma of writing genre fiction. I can go down the list of all the ways we get marginalized. We write fiction. We write genre fiction. We write women’s fiction. We write romance.”
She went on to say, “There is someone out there who needs to hear your story. There is someone who feels alone, who believes no one understands them until they find a story they can sink into and discover a character who lives and breathes their existences. This is the true power of fiction, and every reader deserves a story that becomes comfort food.”
I highly recommend her speech for any writer from novice to seasoned professional. You can find the complete speech here.
Back to the question I began with. Why do romance writers write?
I can only speak for myself about why I write and especially why I write romance fiction. The stories of my characters, each seeming so real to me, must see the light of day. It’s my purpose. It’s my joy. It’s my passion. It’s the reason I breathe and move in the world. Someone, maybe several someones, might be moved by my stories, my characters, my voice. That’s the best I can hope for.
I’m one of the lucky ones who get to earn my living writing, but if the money dried up I would still write. I must.
It’s been a very long month. I know it’s only the 15th but I’m telling y’all, it has been a very long, hell of a month.
I have done multiple rounds of edits on both Malachi’s Word and Double Up. I’ve written half of the holiday book for Loose Id, More Than This. I have several more days to write the second half. I also have 2 other stories I’m working on. One is being written, the other is a chapter by chapter edit and revision with the help of a reader/blogger/friend who recently sent me an email about the characters in my books and how she relates to them. It was inspiring to say the least…
I’ve been up late, way outside of my usual routine. I’m to the point of exhaustion and…wait for it…even coffee isn’t helping. I know. I know. But it’ll get better and coffee will be working its magic again soon.
In the meantime, y’all will notice over the next couple months that this here blog will have a lot more activity though not all from me. Brandy, with a little help from me, has scheduled guests to come visit. And while she’s been doing that, she’s also scheduled be to go forth and blog elsewhere in several small blog tours. One in October to celebrate the release of Double Up and one in November to celebrate the print release of Twisted Up.
For now, that’s all I’ve got. I need to get to work… Several thousand words to add to the WIP before kick-off at noon of my Florida State Seminoles.
Y’all have a good one.
The other day I made a comment about finally being able to write. Maybe.
I’d gone a day and a half with no scene in my head. Nothing. Not for any book I’ve been working on. See, I’m so focused on the one I’m trying to finish, the one that’s closest to being finished that I can’t clear enough headspace for the others. That’s what its like for me when the ending is near. I want to solely focus, give my individual writing attention to finishing. But every so often, though the end is right there, I can’t see it clearly enough. I can’t hear dialogue. I can’t see surroundings. And the harder I try, the foggier it gets. The more I try to force it, the farther away and harder it becomes.
I don’t want to write useless words that I’ll just have to cut later. And yes, I know the experts say write everyday. No matter if it sucks, write anyway. Well, I don’t always fall into that camp. I don’t want to spend hours on something only to have to scrap just to say, I wrote today. No, I want the right words, even if it means waiting a few days until the vision, the voices, the kick in the ass comes.
I play games with my son, I pin on Pinterest, I cook or bake or reorganize something, I clean and the whole time, I’m thinking, I’m pondering, I’m working inside my head, rearranging thoughts and ideas and then it hits…
This is what happened the other morning while I was reorganizing my cookbook shelves. The scene began to take shape and the longer I worked at the cookbooks, arranging and rearranging, the closer I came to the end of the book.
Finally, it was time to write…
If you’re a writer, how do you get through the fog?
Rejection sucks. No matter the reason, it sucks. Professional rejection? Personal rejection? It all sucks.
But, it’s all in what you do with the rejection that teaches you. We’re all allowed pity parties, tantrums, crying fits, wine, chocolate, the biggest most unhealthy bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries we can handle and… Oh, is that just me? Oops… Anyway, we’re allowed to deal with it in whatever way works best for us, even if it is to go around saying ‘I suck’ for the day. In the end though, in order to move on, to prove the rejector wrong, or to prove yourself wrong, you have to get up and charge forward.
I’ve suffered through several rejections of a professional nature recently and one personal one last year. Total suckage. You see everyone around you doing awesome, getting contracts, getting requests for full manuscripts, turning in book after book, and where are you? On the sidelines reading another form rejection. Dear Awesome Author, Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately… And it’s there you stop reading. And you don’t even read it as Awesome Author, you read it as 100% UNawesome Author.
So, once you’re in your little cave and have vowed never to crawl out again, what do you? That’s where the big decision comes in. That’s where the good, the bad, and the ugly are separated.
Me, with my latest rejection, I have congratulated my good friend who wasn’t rejected, and I repeated ‘Lissa you so suck’ in my head, but have been hard at work revising, plotting, planning from my little pity corner in my cave. I haven’t made chocolate cake. Yet. I haven’t made that burger with cheese and bacon. Yet. I haven’t opened the wine. Yet. No, I’ve kept on working. I’ve been plugging along and working and moving forward.
That’s the only way I’ll get out of this corner. Working. Writing. Moving.
How do YOU deal with rejection?
“It can be depressing when no one takes interest, and a lack of response makes the writer question why they’re writing at all. To have one’s writing rejected is like you, yourself, are being rejected. ”
? Lizz Clements, Apollo Weeps
“Rejection is a challenge.”
? Veronica Purcell
“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.”
? Billy Joel
“Sometimes it’s helpful to remember that every writer sits down to a blank page and struggles with their writing. And even the best writers have suffered their share of rejection.”
? Jade Tyler
I follow a lot of blogs. Probably not as many as some and probably more than others. I follow 83 blogs. Not every one has a post every day which is good cause I wouldn’t be able to keep up if they did. Some are review blogs, but not many, and not for the reviews but mainly for the book recommendations or discussions for/about readers. There are a few author blogs too, but again, not many. And a couple of BDSM blogs, as well.
My preferences are craft blogs and blogs about the industry, social media, branding, even blogging. These teach me something, give me things to put into effect, things to try. I like that.
With today’s Favorites post, I thought I’d share with you a few of the blogs I enjoy the most…
1. Justine Musk/because you’re a creative badass
2. Warrior Writers, Kristen Lamb’s Blog
3. Writer Unboxed
4. Write It Forward, Bob Mayer’s Blog
5. Julie’s Journal
6. Social Mouths
I learn something everyday when I read them. I learn things about myself, about writing, about the business, about social media. Like I said, I love to learn, to try and improve the way I think, the was I approach my career as an author.
I also follow well over 100 food/organizational/home blogs… But that’s another story all together. LOL…
Do you have favorite blogs? They don’t have to be writing craft blogs, they can be about anything, but I’d like to know at least one blog that you, dear reader, follow and would recommend.