Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My garden's gone wild!

This is what I found when I arrived at the cottage on Sunday - a garden gone wild! I'm sure it's because the weather's been unseasonably warm, so I'm not really complaining. Just...egad, I've got a lot of weeding to do! And I don't even know what those purple plants are.
I spent nearly three hours weeding yesterday, and this is all I got done. I'm also writing and painting an old china cabinet. I haven't been for any walks yet, because it was so windy yesterday, I thought I'd blow out to sea (or lake, as the case may be). I hope to do that today, although I have the grass to tackle. With a push mower.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A writer writes every day...or maybe not

I wish I had a buck for every time I've heard "a writer writes every day."

Or to put it another way, a truly committed, professional (or potentially professional) writer proves his or her dedication by writing every single day. Otherwise, you're just a hobby writer. A wanna-be. One of the thousands who say, "I'd love to write a book some day," but never do.

Let me confess this here and now: I have been a published author for twenty years AND I DO NOT WRITE EVERY SINGLE DAY.

There. I've said it.

In fact, I've just taken a few days off from working on my manuscript. I had a lot of things to do last week and (if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know this already) I was stuck with my story. I felt absolutely bogged down, not sure if what I was writing was what was needed at that particular point, as well as trying to figure out how to add time into the tale.

So I gave myself permission to take time off from writing. I had some appointments and meetings and I took care of some administrative and household tasks I'd been putting off. I did all those things without guilt and it felt great. I stopped fretting about the manuscript. That felt great, too.

And best of all, when I got back to the writing yesterday, I was refreshed, I was energized, I had ideas about what to do at the sticky bits, and I wasn't haunted by all those other obligations and tasks that had been in the back of my mind.

Now, I do understand the basic notion behind people saying "a writer writes every day." Writing is not easy. If you're not dedicated, you might take a break that winds up being permanent.

Writing every day keeps your story and characters fresh in your mind, and keeps those writing muscles honed.

However, taking a complete break was what I needed to do, to give my full attention to what else was going on in my life, to clear those decks so I could get back to the writing without guilt and with fresh eyes.

So I say if you can't or don't write every single day, that doesn't necessarily make you any less of a "real" or dedicated writer. It simply makes you a writer who doesn't write every day.

Like me.

Monday, April 02, 2012

My Publishing Anniversary

It was 21 years ago today that Tracy Farrell of Harlequin Historicals phoned me and said the words all authors want to hear: We love your book and we want to buy it.

It was a life-changing moment. I think that's easy enough to imagine. However, I really had no idea of just how much of a roller-coaster ride I was embarking on. There have been some tremendous highs and some very definite lows.

One of the highs? When THE UNWILLING BRIDE made the USA Today best-seller list.

The lows? Bad reviews can be like lashes of a whip and no, I do not and never will have the hide of a rhino when it comes to such things. Why would I? I agonized and sweated over my book and I care passionately about my work. Of course it's going to hurt if somebody doesn't like it.

Would I do things differently knowing what I know now? Oh, heck yes. There are many decisions I could have and probably should have made differently - but that's the virtue of hind-sight, isn't it?

That said, I've have had a career that thousands of unpublished writers would envy and I've made some great friends over the years, from both sides of the publishing aisle.

So, thanks, Tracy and Harlequin, for giving me my start as a published author on April 2, 1991. I am forever grateful.

That first book was A WARRIOR'S HEART. No revisions required, and they even used my title. Little did any of us know at the time, but it was also the start of a 14 book and one novella series.