For as long as I can remember, writing has been something I’ve always loved to do. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in a few things – poetry, a weekly column about our high school football team in the local paper, grants, educational curriculum, individual education plans, and a few other odds and ends. But even though most of my writing has been done as a high school educator, my passion has always been for contemporary romance.
Until a few years ago, I had about fifteen WIP’s. Self-doubt, boredom, life’s interruptions, and new ideas all had me stopping mid-way in each of them. I’d either start something new or if there were too many extraneous demands on my time, I’d just stop writing for a while. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to work a full-time job, care for my family, and have enough brain power to write (even if I could squeeze in an hour to do so).
About three years ago, I decided to get serious. I had a work in progress that I intended to be a series about four brothers. So, I picked up where I’d left off with Jack, did a few hundred rewrites and heroine changes, and determinedly finished his story. And for the first time EVER, I decided to let someone read one of my “stories.” There was only one person I considered – a dear friend and voracious reader who I knew would be honest to a fault.
To say I was nervous when I approached her about reading my work would be a gross understatement. Yet she was eager and willing. I made her promise she’d be brutally honest with me, and she readily agreed. After handing over my manuscript, I waited with bated breath for her review.
Long story short, she loved it, assured me that she truly thought it was as good as the published romances she read, and told me to get to work on the other three brothers’ stories. (Sidebar- they’re all finished, she’s read them all, and wants to know when I’ll have something else).
Unfortunately, I still have several WIP’s that need to be finished. It’s not that I’ve stopped writing. Far from it. I’ve been in editing mode so I could enter a content, send something to a Blitz that Harlequin promoted, and submit Drew’s story (Jack’s brother) to the Special Edition line. And for the past several weeks, I have been trying to move at least one of my other WIP’s forward, but with a full time job, it’s difficult some days to find any leftover brain power after a day teaching high schoolers.
Lucky for me though, I have connected with a fantastic group of romance writers on Facebook. They are the best voices of reasons, shoulders to cry on, motivators, cheerleaders, and inspirational humans I’ve ever connected with as a whole. Together, we keep each other on track, pick each other up when we falter, commiserate with each other about shared fears, doubts, and anxieties, and validate each other for doing the best we can do each and every day.
And from them, I’ve learned so much. This blog is a prime example. I’d never had known how to even start one, but we’re all on the road to creating and developing one of our own. Plus, I’ve learned how important it is to promote ourselves and our work. So, now I also have a writer page on Facebook and at the urging of one of the members in our group, my next venture is to step up my twitter game.
As the saying goes, if your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it. For any of us to even have a chance of getting our work published, we need to do whatever we can to promote it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a published author. I hope so, but one thing is for certain, in the last eight months, I’ve expanded my horizons as a writer exponentially. And I have Ann, Ashley, Jade, and Heather to thank for that.
Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. Instead of letting that happen, find yourself a group like I was fortunate enough to luck into finding. Champion each other. Learn from each other. And most importantly, write on!!