Way back when I first began writing romance, I started out convinced that writing was not a difficult task and could be accomplished by anyone with the passion for the genre.
Right? After all, I'd burned through shelves upon shelves of books since I could walk. How hard could it be?
*Cue hysterical laughing*
So, as I was saying...
With my mind set, I merrily informed my husband that I was going to be a writer, and since NANOWRIMO was right around the corner, I would begin with writing a romance novel in thirty days. I mean, we're talking fifty thousand words. I totally had it in the bag! (I can hear your giggles, ladies!) After hearing my self-proclaimed miraculous writing super power, the hubster kindly smiled (looking back, it was probably a smirk), did an about-face and continued on his way. Smartest move the man ever made (besides marring me, of course;) ).
Armed with nothing more than a laptop, a vague character idea and a "Go for it babe" from the husband, I cracked open my word document and promptly at the stroke of midnight on November 1st typed CHAPTER ONE.
As if those words served as a red flag in front of a two ton bull, my muse stepped in with a snarky eye roll and a evil laugh. He plastered on a broody don't-bother-me expression, threw himself into a wing backed chair in his dank little corner and refused to budge. Instead, he resorted to devilish taunting by flashing a picture of a cranky baby in my mind's eye every few seconds.
The first week, I convinced myself writing was a left brain act and I had no need for the creative muse's side. Said muse wore a perpetual smirk on his face and remained parked in his chair with his leg propped over the arm, thumbing through my old worn copy of Pride and Prejudice.
On the second week, I sputtered and stalled in the road a few times, the muse nothing more than a bully by now with his told-ya-so's and his exasperated sighs. I tried to shrug him off, but by the third week, I was at a flat dead stop with the muse burning rubber on his Harley out back desperate to hit the nearest bar that served Tequila. I admit, I was very tempted to join him and chuck this whole writing gig from the start.
At the time I saw the whole situation through a veil. There was no passing go, no collecting a new plot, and definitely no get out of jail free card. If I wanted this I had to work for it.
The hard truth was settling in and it hurt. A little over halfway through NANOWRIMO I was left high a dry with a fifteen thousand word manuscript, no way to write myself out of the whole I had created, and no muse.
At this point I discovered three things about myself.
First, my creative right brain, or muse, is a nasty selfish bastard that needs constant coaxing and persuading. M&M's are his favorite, but he's open to suggestions. The only reason I let him stick around is because he's a card carrying bad boy that looks hulla-good in leather pants and every once in a while he has some pretty kick-ass ideas. ;)
Secondly, unless you have a divine gift for the word, starting a writing career out on the thought that you can write a fifty thousand word novel every single month might not be the best way to begin a writing career. Just saying. And just in case you aren't convinced, my muse has demanded I post this image as a reminder. He says it also serves as reality check and now that you've seen it, your muse is now armed, so beware.
And third, it's always good to start a book (or series) with a plan in place. Winging it on a big project like writing a book won't work. Even pansters start with some sort of road map.
Take it from me, by not having some sort of crumb trail to follow, could lead to you wasting your time, dissuading yourself from wanting to continue, and might even throw such a huge kink in your desire to write that it might take you five years before you get over the sheer fear of typing those opening two words again: CHAPTER ONE.
Needless to say, I've since then wrangled my muse into submission long enough to write a couple of books with many still in the works. Saying that my first writing experience was a learning curve is an understatement, but I'm so glad I never gave up. It's been one helluva journey and I look forward to sharing more of my stories with you all.
What about you? Do you have any eyebrow raising muse stories? Will you be participating in NANOWRIMO this year? Are you a reader with an itch to write? Talk to me!
Thanks for stopping in for a spell!
P.S. I know a few writers that can crank out a full length novel in thirty days and they are my rock stars! Seriously. They kick ass and I tip my hat to them. On that note, one thing I have learned from them is burnout is a real thing writers do deal with if not careful. Food for thought. :)
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