Monday, January 23, 2017

To write or not to write

I'm trying to decide if I feel guilty for not writing. For not editing. For not doing diddly-squat on my writing career. I'm trying to decide if that career is also over or if I'm on an extended break.

I certainly haven't sold anything worth talking about for the past year. EC's closing put a huge damper on my income, too. But did I write to sell only? Or did I write because I enjoyed the creative expression?

Both, actually. I liked creative expression, even if I got tired of the genre a long time ago. Seemed I could only sell erotic romance stories and I have more than that in me. I have two fantasy novels begun and one historical that needs some major revision. But I've been putting off even opening those files. Why? Because I don't think I can sell them. Why bother if no one is going to read it?

Yeah, that's defeatist, I know. But that's what the lack of sales does to one. And when you don't publish for a while, people (readers) forget about you and you have to start all over. And that takes energy, energy you can't spend on writing your next novel because you have to be promoting your last one. Again. And your preparing your backlist for publication. Again. And...and...and...

I used to enjoy reading. A lot. I read book after book after book. But once I had kids, I was lucky if I got to read an entire magazine article. And then my husband gave me the time to write and instead of reading the books, I wrote them. Kids grew up and needed me less, I finally retired from my day job and, this past month, I've rediscovered the joy of going from book to book to book. No more, grab a book, read a chapter, go do something else, read a few pages, get interrupted, read a little more, go to the grocery store.

No, I'm talking, the past few weeks of starting a book, reading straight for HOURS, getting up only to use the bathroom and eat. I've gained two pounds (so I walked this morning because, you know, a single three-quarter mile walk around the block to catch Pokemon is going to help so much) and am more relaxed than I have been in two years.

So, should I feel guilty about not writing? About taking time off? Still not sure. The Short Story Challenge started Friday and I have until next Sunday to write a 2000 word story and submit it for the contest. I started it this morning - and remembered how hard it is for me to write openings. I've written 500 words or so and might set it aside and begin again later today.

But for right now...I'm going to go start reading another book.

Play safe, 

Monday, January 16, 2017


When I don't write for a bit...I don't write for a looong bit.

Yes, I missed posting a short story at the beginning of this month. Mea culpa. I love the holidays and this year more than most. My brother is not only alive but, this week, he walked over a hundred feet without his cane! Speech is still troublesome for him, and small motor skills aren't quite what they need to be yet - and spelling is nearly non-existent, although he can copy short words. Reading is fine, it's just he has the same trouble writing as he does speaking: everything is scrambled. Still, the recovery from such a severe hemorrhagic stroke is a miracle - and the entire family is grateful.

So, yeah - I threw myself into celebrations and quality time with friends and family that will still continue this week. My birthday is Thursday and several of us are getting together on Saturday night for a Very Special Event. Depending on how it goes, I'll let you know on Sunday. Make that Monday. You'll see why then. ;)

Of course, that's meant my writing took a vacation for a while. An entire month. Total writing stop. I wrote one entry in my journal, but otherwise? Pfft. Well, Facebook posts, but those don't really count.

What have I done instead? Besides going to the movies with hubby, I've read books, of course!

Each year my family asks what I want for Christmas. This year I told them, "Books and music." They listened to the first word - I got thirteen new books! Three are coloring books (and a new set of crayon/pencils I have yet to try out), two are non-fiction (Book 2 of the Foxfire series and the new behind-the-scenes Outlander series book), one is a comic book (the new Bloom County book, and its signed by Berkeley Breathed!!!!! Fangirl alert!!!!), the other nine are fiction. Yay!

My daughter got me two Neil Gaiman books: Ocean at the End of the Lane and Neverwhere. I'd read the first for my bookclub a few years' back and had it on my ereader. I didn't choose to re-read it at this point, but it is nestled on my shelf in the fantasy section. I DID read Neverwhere, and enjoyed it very much. Gaiman originated the story as a BBC TV series; this book is the definitive version (its gone through several permutations, in between).

My hubby got me a trilogy by Pierce Brown: Red Rising, Golden Sun, and Morningstar. Space fantasies. I had some trouble with the physics put forth by the author and the story had far too much violence for my tastes. That said, I read all three because the story was compelling. But by the third book, I found myself skimming over the battle scenes.

He also got me two Brandon Sanderson books (one of my son's favorite authors, btw. He's the one who got me hooked on Sanderson's books): Shadows of Self and Alloy of Law. Both are part of The Mistborn series. I'd read the first three books in that series several years ago when my son bought them for me (told you he hooked me!). I just finished re-reading Mistborn, the first in the series. Figured it would be better to start at the beginning and work my way up to the new books, since they take place well after the first set. It was fun to read it again - I remembered why I liked it so much. Good, strong characters we become quite attached to!

My daughter-in-law got me The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - it's the first book in a series. I will start that when I finish with Sanderson.

So, starting the year surrounded by books. Life is good.

Here's hoping your holiday season was joyful, energetic -and filled with "down time" to simply sit and read a good book!

Play safe,

PS. Oh, I did start a Georgette Heyer but only got twenty or so pages into it before I set it aside. Her style is just too stilted for me. Granted, she was writing in the early days of modern romance, but still...Not my cup of tea.

PPS. Edited to correct: it WASN'T my son who got me Rothfuss' book, it was my daughter-in-law who did all their shopping this year. Thanks, Jenn! :)