Monday, October 26, 2009

Discovering My Voice

I'd decided to go to the Romance Writers National Conference with another writing friend. On the Saturday night before we were due to go home the next day, we sat in the room talking to each other and I told my friend I'd realized I stopped writing what I loved.

Alpha heroes. Over the years, I was trying to conform to what I thought editors and agents wanted, but at the same time I was squishing my voice. Knowing what I did, I went home with a new attitude.

I'd always loved Harlequin Presents books, and had continued to read them all this time. The hero is always an alpha male. This was why I kept reading them; I loved that kind of hero.

Back to the drawing board. I started developing a book that was more like what I wanted to read. Yet at the same time, I still had other books out there with editors.

Around the same time e-publisher Ellora's Cave became a topic of conversation. I heard about them, but had not ready one of their books. I went on-line and ordered a bunch of books. These were in print books; I wasn't much for reading an e-book (not at that point.)

I had a week off from work and I sat down with these books and began to read. It was more than eye opening, I found another market. These were stories I could write.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life Gets In the Way

Everything wasn't rosy during these long years. I wrote in starts and stops when work and life got in the way. There were job changes and days when I got home from work totally exhausted and unable to think of a turning on my computer to write.

Luckily I had writing friends, who kept encouraging me and talking with me. My writing had slowed down, but never really stopped completely. I might have to take a week or two off, but I always went back after that. And I kept getting rejections.

It was frustrating at times. I couldn’t quite figure out why I wasn't hitting the mark. I'd been in several critique groups, all of which had disbanded by this time. I was writing without anyone to read my work. All my writing friends had critique groups and most of them met at times I couldn't.

Then a friend and previous member of my critique group called me to tell me she sold her book. I was so thrilled for her, and she really wanted to get back together in a critique group. So we started our own little group.

My productivity improved as did my writing. While my critique partner and I were not always writing the same types of books, we both understand the others genre and worked well together.

More contests, more submitting to agents and editors. More rejections, but what can be called in the business, good rejections. Then my critique partner became pregnant. I knew this would change things, eighteen months after she gave birth to twins, I was without a critique group. I understood her need to be a full time mother.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, October 12, 2009

Learning, Submitting, Rejection, Learning

After I attended my first RWA meeting, I decided I needed to learn everything I could. But that didn't mean only attending meetings, reading craft books, going to the Romance Writers National conference, reading romance books, it meant I also had to write.

You learn a lot by writing. It wasn't easy with a full time job, but I carved out time. The writing was slow because I was reading more craft books than I ever had before. Plus every month I attended my local RWA meeting.

After about a year, I joined a critique group. It was the best thing that could happen. While none of us were published, we were all at different levels of writing. And having a critique group meant I had to produce work. Having a deadline was good.

During the next few years, I wrote more and more. Entered contests, learned, entered more contests. And finally I had something I felt was good enough to send to an editor. Sent it off and…rejection.

I had to be realistic; this was a business after all. I read the rejection letter over and over, not much in it to tell me what I was still missing. I didn't stop writing, I kept moving forward. I submitted to other editors, because now there were more publishers accepting romance, plus there was Harlequin and Silhouette (Yes, at one time they were separate companies and in competition with each other).

While I was still getting rejections, they were getting more and more personalized. And that was a good thing. I also attended my local RWA chapter meetings, helped form another RWA chapter, volunteered for my RWA chapters, and went to National conferences.

A couple of years went by, some years I wrote more than others, but I kept writing, because this is what I wanted to do. I had to do it.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, October 5, 2009

Change in Circumstance

The job I wanted was perfect. It was closer to home, less commute. The hours were stable, Monday through Friday, no weekends, no holidays. I accepted the job. I had to work 45 days in my old job before I could move to the new job (all within the same company).

While that was happening, I attended a workshop on romance writing, and found out more about Romance Writers of America and the local chapter. Within a week of changing jobs, I joined RWA and my local chapter.

Talk about an eye opener. A professional organization for romance writers. I attended my first meeting of my local RWA chapter. Talk about a great group of women, they welcomed me with open arms and started my education not only of the business of writing, but the craft of writing.

And I had a lot to learn.

Continuing the journey next Monday