Yes, It Is Possible To Fall In Love With Writing Again

if you trying being good at everything you will never be great in anything

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I don’t recall if I shared this, but there were a couple of times over the last year where I began to wonder if it was possible to ever fall in love with writing after I left the “writing to market” mindset. Though I enjoyed what I was working on, I didn’t fall in love with my stories like I had when I started writing romances back in late 2007.

Those initial years of getting my feet wet in indie publishing and figuring out what kind of romances I most wanted to write was like a courtship. Everything came so easy. I didn’t think about word count or money. I just sat down and wrote the story that came to mind. I joined the characters on the journey they took me on, and when each story was over, I felt this huge sense of sorrow that there was no more story to tell. I never thought that feeling would return, especially after being wrapped up in word counts, book promotion, sales, etc, etc…

I had brief periods last year where I would get a boost or two along the enthusiasm radar, but I’ll be honest, most days I had to force myself to sit in the chair and write. I enjoyed the story, but I had to make myself write it.  The reason for this is obvious now that I look back on it. I was detoxing from the “writing to market” mindset. Apparently, just making the decision to write for passion wasn’t like turning on a switch and making all of my dreams come true. It took time to re-train my brain to think the way I thought back in 2007.

Looking back, I realize this was bound to happen. No one acquires a habit overnight. It takes time and perseverance. I hadn’t adopted the writing to mindset philosophy right away, either. I’m not even sure when it slipped it, but I know it grew bigger and bigger the more I focused on podcasts, blog posts, and books aimed at selling more books. I also had conversations with other authors in forums and in emails where this was the dominant theme. Authors weren’t concerned much about the craft of storytelling. They were much more interested in maximizing the money they were making.

For example, today alone, I got an email with the headline, “How an author doubled her income on the first book in her series.” This is from a site that isn’t known for pushing the book promotion, so I was surprised to see that email. But it shows how prevalent this mindset is in the writing community. I continually have to delete and unsubscribe from this stuff because it only pulls me back in, and I don’t want to go back to that.

When I think on it, it’s sad that very few of the conversations I had over the past few years had anything to do with the love of writing. I remember starting out with publishing ebooks in 2009, and the conversations I had with most authors were focused on the love of writing. We were indie publishing because we didn’t want a publisher coming in and telling us to do with our stories. We wanted freedom to write what was in our hearts to write. Sink or swim, the focus was on creating the best book we were inspired to write. And it was so easy to write those kinds of books. Those books pretty much wrote themselves. All we did was record the movie that was playing out in our minds. And it was natural that falling in love with the story would happen. Ending the story was saying goodbye and moving on. It was hard to do.

I never felt sad when I finished a book that was written to market. I was relieved. Why? Because I could finally publish it, make money, and start the next book. And as I write that, I cringe. That shouldn’t be the driving focus of writing a book, especially not one that is fiction. I only confess this because if some other writer is struggling with trying to find their passion same way I was last year, they’ll know they’re not alone. Sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not the only person who’s struggled through something. I was relieved when I found out Dean Wesley Smith grew to hate the critical voice when writing. (That critical voice is what writing to market is all about. It’s always looking at what others want in the book instead of letting characters tell you what will be in it.) What he wrote about critical vs. creative voice in his book, Writing into the Dark, resonated with me, and it gave me hope that I could once again fall in love with writing.

Anyway, it took me almost an entire year before I finally shook off the last remnants of the writing to market philosophy. It is HARD to train the brain to think differently once an idea takes a root. But I finally did it. In December, for the first time in years, I finished three books that are 100% passion based. I was sad to see all of those books end, and I missed working in them for a full month. It was only when I got about 15,000 words into my current books that I began to fall in love with the new ones. Once you’ve had an amazing high while writing one book, it’s hard to think another book will ever be as wonderful. But it turns out that falling in love with the next book is possible. It might take some time while you get to know the characters and figure out the story they want to take you on, but it’s definitely possible.

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Happiness Thrives off of Positivity

I should remember to limit my time on Facebook. There is so much negativity flying around on that site. Authors are told to keep their platforms alive by engaging on places like Facebook and Twitter, but when I go there, I get majorly drained. I went there today and, afterwards, when I sat down to write, I had a hard time getting into the stories that I was super excited about writing just last week.

One thing I’ve learned is that negative thinking drains a person’s energy. It doesn’t help writers make better stories. It actually hinders them. So I’m not going back on Facebook for a while. If a friend messages me, I’ll go to the message there, but I’m not checking the timeline. It’s counterproductive to what I need to be doing.

I understand there are terrible things going on in the world. I keep up with the news, though I prefer independent news sources since they are far more balanced than what I’ll find on TV. I find independent news sources to be a lot less “panic! panic!” in tone, too. To me, Facebook has became increasingly negative over the past couple of years. It used to be a place where people were civil. Sure, there were the hackers that caused us grief, but at least there was a sense of peace when scrolling down the timeline.

These days, I see a lot people arguing with each other. I really don’t like to watch the arguments that erupt over there. I also don’t like seeing people putting down other people for not believing the same way they do. None of this is productive. I don’t know how anyone can expect to change someone’s mind about something when they say, “You’re such an idiot if you believe that.” (And believe me, that is tame compared to some of the comments I’ve read over there.)

I realize we’re not all going to agree on everything. What saddens me is that some people don’t even take the time to listen to the other side. They’re too busy trying to convince someone they’re right that they refuse to acknowledge there might be something they can learn from an opposing person’s point of view. I’m not saying they have to agree with  that person. But whatever happened to listening to them? Whatever happened to sitting down and having an honest discussion where both sides feel safe to give their point of view?

I’ve met people who didn’t agree with me on many things, and yet, we were able to get along anyway. In high school, I used to have fun political debates with a friend who supported the other side. We joked around and had a good time. We weren’t calling each other names or treating each other like trash. I’ve also had good discussions with people of different faiths. I found it interesting to find out what they believe and why, and I felt the spirit of give and take was a positive one. It didn’t change my own faith, but it showed me a perspective in the other’s life that I never would have had otherwise, and in the end, my faith grew stronger as a result because I was better able to solidify why I believe the way I do.

Anyway, it’s just sad to see where social media is going. I’ve enjoyed Facebook because I met some wonderful people over there. It’s sad that going there isn’t a pleasant experience anymore. I have to get away from it in order to get back into the positive mindset. I really do believe that what we surround ourselves with impacts our attitude. Now, I don’t think we should put our heads in the sand. It is good to know what’s happening, but we also need to keep a positive perspective on things so we don’t lose our joy for doing things we love. Because what we put into our minds will come back through our words and actions.

I hope I didn’t bring anyone down by writing this post. That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to encourage people to focus on what is right with the world instead of what’s wrong with it. We might not be able to change things on a global scale, but we can be a source of encouragement to a person we know in our lives. Also, we have a purpose. There is a reason we’re here at this point in time. We have something we’re supposed to do, and you are the only person who can do what you’re called to do while I’m the only person who can do what I’m called to do. There are no two people exactly alike. We’re all unique. By being positive, I think we can best reach our purpose and help those around us.

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It’s a Tie (So I’ll Work On Both Books)

Before I get into the post, I should mention that One Enchanted Evening is now available.

One Enchanted Evening ebook cover

Here are the links where you can find it:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple Books

Google Play

Smashwords

I have so much going on that I had to include that in this post because I probably won’t be doing another blog post for a week or two. 🙂 I’m eager to get into writing the new books that I have started.

For a quick update on what I’m doing this year, I made a post on my newsletter blog.  (This post includes updates on The Imperfect Husband, Shane’s Deal, and Kidnapping the Viscount.)

Now to address the issue of how people voted in the last post.

What books I’ll be working on from now to June 1.

Between this blog and Facebook, the vote was a tie. I was surprised because last time I asked about two books, about 75% of people voted for a particular one. But the tie is a good thing. It means there’s an interest in both books, and I’m happy about that.

Thank you to everyone who voted. I appreciated hearing from you!

Okay, so my plan is going to be to write four books. I’ve already started them, and they are Nelly’s Mail Order Husband, Forever Yours (Dave and Mary’s third story), The Wedding Pact, and Fairest of Them All (that was the Regency I put at Option 2 in the last post).

I’ve figured out how I’m going to work on four books at a time.

I’m not going to deal with word counts like I used to do. Instead, I’m going to go by time limits on how long I work in each book for the day. I’m going to give one hour to each book on regular school days when I have that large block of time with peace and quiet in my house. So no matter how much or how little I write in the story, I’m going to quit when I hit the hour mark.

I’m going to also give myself four and a half months to work on all four books. I usually finish three books in about three and a half months’ time if I start and finish them all at the same time. The extra month will allow me to go at a slower pace on all books.

I think the new plan is doable. I’ll take the summer off from writing, but I’ll continue on with publishing and edits. Then come this fall when the kids are back in school, I’ll go back to writing.

Thanks again for telling me which book you wanted to read most!

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