Two years ago, I decided I would write romance.
I love reading romances, have a passion for writing and in one of those epiphanies that hit you in your 30s (because I'm finding there are lots of them) I put the two together. Finally!
Two years isn't all that long, I know. But I feel a little better and a little more knowledgeable than I did in September 2009 when I started my first manuscript, never dreaming that in about seven months I'd hold those 220+ pages in my hand, breathe a sigh of relief and preen with pride. Never dreaming that the short moment of peace and feeling of accomplishment would quickly be followed by a "what the hell have I done?" emotioanl rollercoaster of angst, happiness, conflict and drama -- all those twists and turns we enjoy creating for our heroes and heroines. No wonder we identify with them so much!
So, without further ado, here's what I've learned in the past two years. It's not much, but it's not nothing. And I'm proud of that.
1. You've gotta write. If you want to be published, then write something. There's no shame in dreaming, but dreaming is just the beginning. Write.
2. I need a critique group. Writing can be a lonely process. I talk to myself. A lot. The only things I miss from my school days are brainstorming sessions and the cafeteria's tasty cinnamon rolls. Must. Talk. To. Writers.
3. Obstacles. There are always obstacles. Something's going to come up and cut into your writing time. In my case, my husband lost his job and I had to pick up extra hours at work to help offset our loss in income. Don't give up. We believe in happy endings, right? Tell yourself that happiness is just around the corner.
4. Some people will love your writing. Some people will hate it. Deal with it.
5. Twitter is not evil. Twitter is fun, and helps offset some of the loneliness referenced in No. 2. After joining, you might find yourself conversing in "real life" by using pithy phrases and sentence fragments, but this is only temporary.
6. I am an infrequent blogger. I love to read others' blogs but am not that great at writing my own. I have trouble coming up with topics. : /
7. Some days are good. Some days are bad. You will hate everything you write. You will wonder what the heck you're doing. You will feel defeated. Don't give up. Take a break if you need to, but don't give up.
8. Writing is work. The creative process is extremely exciting, incredibly rewarding -- and will consume your every thought and free moment. It's exhausting. Which segues into...
9. Sleep is overrated. Coffee is not. I think that is self-explanatory.
What are some of the things you've learned over the years?