Now before you go and insert some kind of subtext into that, let me explain. As a writer, my whole goal is to reach inside your mind, your heart, your soul…and touch you.
I want to make you love and hate. I want you to be afraid and escape with your life. Nothing makes me happier than for your heart to race, wondering what’s coming next, and then take you to places you might not go on your own.
Trust me! I don’t want to hurt you…I only want to make you afraid that I will break your heart into little bitty bits and walk away, leaving you breathless and alone. But, I wouldn’t do that. Would I?
I would recommend writing to anybody and everybody. It provides a way to deal with things that we sometimes don’t like to think about as being directly related to ourselves. I have found that if you write about it, you can remove yourself from it and look at it in a more objective way.
Sometimes, in order to be able to deal with things, we just need to see them in a different light. You don’t have to write a novel, unless you want to. Journaling or keeping a note app on your phone for thoughts that come to you when you’re doing other things can work great. I derive some kind of inner strength from this exercise.
It’s like you can create your own personal dragon in the story world and then slay it, even if you can’t necessarily do that in the real world yet. And that can sometimes give you that little ounce of courage to try it for real.
If you really want to write a book, there must be a time when you put your foot down and say, “This is what I want.” This is particularly true if you are still writing as a side hustle. If you continue to try and please everyone else, you will never make or take the time you need to write that book, which is what will make you happy as a writer. It’s not being selfish. If you are unhappy because you are too busy trying to make other people happy, then you are going to feel unfulfilled and frustrated. Negative vibes! If you are happy, then you naturally feed positive energy that radiates to everyone around you. Bonus: it comes back to you, too.
Some people are energy vampires! (And not the kind you find in abandoned castles!) Think I’m kidding? Ever been around someone that just drains you emotionally and you can’t put your finger on the reason why? It’s not fantasy, they exist. If someone takes the good energy from you and doesn’t reciprocate by being a friend to you when you need them, then they are emotionally draining. Proceed with caution!
Sometimes, it’s hard to love people and do what you need to do for yourself, but you have to learn to practice self care. Nobody says you can’t do it in a nice way. You can stick up for yourself and say what you want and need. It is not mean or selfish or unkind to keep yourself healthy and happy (or to be able to pay the rent).
“Don’t dream it, be it.” -Dr. Frank N. Furter (Guilty! I love that movie!)
My whole mindset is different at night. I have the “get things done” state of mind going on during the daylight hours, but when nighttime rolls around and things get quiet, my mind shifts gears.
NaNoWriMo even has a night of writing dangerously. Maybe it’s ingrained into us to behave and think differently at night. Maybe it’s all the spooky things that lurk in the dark corners of our consciousness. Everything is mystical and poetic through the lens of sunless silence.
Sometimes, you sip coffee, scribble in your notebook, and something magical happens. You wake up, read what you wrote the night before and think, “Holy hell, where did that come from?” and feel like an insomniatic god.
Maybe try it at night, in the dark, or by moonlight.
About ten years ago, I finished my first book. I was so proud and excited, I immediately started sending out query letters only to be rejected multiple times just like all authors before me. Enter Amazon self-publishing. Okay, self, new plan. I could go with it. I designed a cover, uploaded it, and was off to the races. People downloaded. Some people even liked it! I was thrilled. And then came the one terrible review. The one that brought all my momentum to a screeching halt. She didn’t like my work at all and was not shy in telling the world about it.
I stopped writing. I don’t generally give up easily, but in my mind, if one person hated it so much, then surely there would be others. I pulled the book from Amazon and went on with the rest of my life. I gave up.
My work is not above reproach. No one’s work is perfect. I just want to tell you, don’t let negativity stop you from doing what you want to do. Instead, let it drive you to be better, to work harder, to obtain that goal you have set for yourself. I have finally learned to accept criticism and use it as positive redirection and that has made all the difference.
The only person that can stop you, is you.
Here’s a list of the apps and programs I’ve been using lately to help me write and market my writing. Some of these have been awesome time savers and I just thought I’d pass them along to those interested.
- Scrivener. I love this software. I still use Word primarily for writing, but this program has helped me to organize my thoughts, pre-writing, first drafts, plot outlines, and character and scene details in one place.
- Pinterest. Pinterest gets the ideas flowing and allows me to get visual cues for the world and characters I’m trying to create.
- Canva. This has been the easiest to use stock photography and graphic program I’ve tried. Love the photo editor.
- Coffitivity. This site lets you listen to different coffee shop backgrounds if you are more productive with a static noise rather than music.
- Book Report. This is an add-on for Chrome that lets me see exactly how much money I’ve made from Amazon.
- Kindlepreneur. Great website with a ton of information about Amazon, keywords, ad strategies, and more.
- Upwork. This site lets you find independent editors, ghost writers, proofreaders, book cover designers, and more. Maybe even offer services to make an extra buck or two.
Okay, this is how all consuming it is to be a writer. I write romantic thrillers, which I also love to read. Developing characters that readers fall in love with is part of my job. But, do you know what happens when the writer falls for the leading guy? You get jealous of your heroine. You start mourning the end of the book because you’re going to have to say goodbye to him. You’re really cranky and a little bit miffed that he doesn’t exist.
Then, you have to let him go and move on to the hunky guy that will live in your next book. What does that make me? A die hard romantic? Serial swooner? Hopefully both. 🙂
Everything that has ever happened to you is a story. Everyone you’ve ever known is a character in that story. Every word you’ve ever heard is dialogue. Observe and use at your discretion!
Exaggerate, embellish, and tweak to perfection. You’d be surprised just how much material can be derived from simply jogging your memory. I know a lot of authors fear the retribution of friends and family who may recognize themselves in your characters and stories, but if you change things up enough, you can still draw rich detail that gives all important depth to your fiction.
Why romantic thrillers, you say? The two may not seem to be likely counterparts, but they can work together and play off one another to conjure up steamy conflict, adrenaline boosting danger, and complex relationships that build the story’s credibility to new heights.
The payoff is an emotional bond with the characters that brings the reader into the world you have created. The bonus is a satisfied reader who feels as if she has experienced a whirlwind journey or a daring escape herself, but barely lived to tell about it! A romantic thriller is escapism in its finest form, IMHO.
For those in need of a perfect romantic thriller, try this: