“So … how’s the writing going, now that you’ve got the baby?”
Maybe it’s not the first thing that people ask when they haven’t seen me for a bit, but it’s certainly on the list.
And the answer is … “It’s complicated.”
The answer. The writing. All of it.
You see, for the first time since 2003, I don’t have a book scheduled for release this year. Over the past 13 years, I’ve never had fewer than two books out. Several years, I had six. I’m not great at math, but I remember distinctly that it meant turning in a book every two months. These days, I’m lucky if I write a chapter in two months, and odds are that I’ll throw it out the following month. I’ve started the same book four times now. And by “start,” I mean write 40-70k words before the wheels come off the bus.
I’m a writer. I know I am. But I’m not doing a very good job of it at the moment.
Partly, it’s a time thing–I used to have nothing better to do than write. I didn’t like my life, so what better than to lose myself in someone else’s romance? And now, well, I love my life and want to live every second of it (well, okay, there’s about an hour of today that could use a do-over, but in the grand scheme, we’ll go with ‘every second of it’). Not to mention, there are two fine and handsome men who have claims on my time, one of whom wants All Mommy All The Time.
But there are plenty of wonderful, prolific authors out there who write alongside full time jobs and family, and a whole lot more time constraints than I have. And even when I do get a few hours to sit down and write … I’ve got to be honest with myself. It’s not the same. And that’s because I’m not the same.
I’ll say it. I’ve gone soft. And not in a good way, at least in writing terms. Because good writing (and especially good romance writing) requires this little thing called conflict, and good romantic suspense writing requires a really great villain.
And here’s me, for the first time in my life taking a look around and seeing everyone around me not as they are today–good or bad, mean or kind–but as the year-old toddler they once might have been, and all the things their parents might have wished and hoped for them, the way Arizona and I are wishing and hoping for Wallaby right now.
Which makes it really, really hard to kill someone, even on paper. It makes it hard to write something sharp, nasty, or mean, because even the villain was once somebody’s baby. It makes it hard to write a character flaw, a mistake, or even a misstep. Which makes for a heck of a boring book.
Is it hormones? Maybe. Hopefully. Because I’ve got a great story outlined, if I can just get out of my own way long enough to write the heck out of it. Which I know I’ll do. I will, because I want to, and because I know I can.
One of these days.
But in the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Youtube the 9/11 Budweiser commercial and have a good sniffle.