A Writer’s Life: Social Media, self-doubt and creativity.


DB Tait has some comforting words for writers struggling with self-doubt and social media on Romance Writers of Australia – “Doubting myself is a chronic condition with me but I found social media made it worse. I saw other people discuss their work, including their work output, and knew I would never be able to achieve what they did. I saw people win dubious prizes and brag about their position on Amazon and wondered if I should be involved in that. Sometimes I did and then didn’t like myself. Other people marketed their work ferociously, which irritated me but also made me again wonder if I shouldn’t be doing that too.” Read on here.

Romance Writers of Australia

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk.  This peek into DB Tait‘s writing life first appeared in the October 2016 edition.  Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA]. 

db-taitSocial media, self-doubt and creativity

Back in 2004 when I started writing seriously, the internet was a great source of information about the craft of writing and a whole range of other writing-related issues. I started out not particularly wanting to write in romance as a genre, just wanting to write something. But I noticed that everything I wrote had a romance in it or a romantic theme. So I googled, found the Romance Writers of Australia…

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Killer Doubt and Kicking Butt


Writing is like a balanced diet – everything in moderation.

Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. In embracing the art and craft of writing, we aim to improve with every book we publish. Each conference we attend, every workshop we take and with every round of edits on our manuscripts, we’re honing our technique and learning new skills. As a reader, I never noticed things like ‘point of view’ swings nor did I care about the hero or heroine’s ‘mirror moment’ or ‘character arc’. All I knew was that the story did or didn’t work for me. I didn’t understand what it was that drew me out of the story after the opening paragraph, made me reach halfway point only to be unable to finish the book, or (most importantly) what it was that kept me on the edge of my seat entertained until ‘the end’.

Then came writing, editing, research, competition entries and finally, publishing. I learned technique, the do’s and dont’s of writing a good book, publishers’ guidelines and styles…the list goes on to assist you in presenting the reader with a book you hope will be the next international bestseller. And who knows, you might just be lucky 🙂

So that’s book one on the shelf, all nicely packaged and ready for ripping through the roof of sales charts world-wide…until that devil named Self-Doubt comes knocking on your door. And you don’t have to be a writer for him to come knocking.

My current work in progress is a small town romance and I’m having a little trouble with my characters. I’ve plotted and planned out the chapters, defined their personalities, their arcs, their mirror moments, and generally organised them within an inch of their lives. Three chapters later, I’ve hit the wall with them dancing around each other like boxers in the ring with no fight plan. Right after that comes, “I can’t do this. What makes me think I can write a book? What if readers don’t like it?”

Why am I having trouble? Because I’m trying to stick to the ‘rules’.

When the monster Self-Doubt comes calling, I back away from my keyboard and curl up with my all time favorite author, Nora Roberts. It’s there I see all the ‘rules’ being broken that, as a reader, I didn’t recognize before. Here’s a few:

  1. Starting a sentence with ‘And’ – Nora did it
  2. Starting a sentence with ‘Because’ – Nora did it
  3. Starting a sentence with ‘But’ – Nora did it
  4. Switching in and out of POV’s – Nora did it!

 

The editor in me shouts “No!” while the writer in me shouts, “Yes, yes, yes!” Why? Because that’s how ‘real people’ speak and since our characters are ‘real people’, they should be allowed to speak naturally. What gives your writing a ‘voice’ is the uniqueness of your style, the way you structure your sentences, scenes and dialogue; that little bit of ‘you’ in every story. So perhaps it’s time I followed the same advice I give to others in my role as an editor – write from the heart and apply the rules later, if they apply. If we apply the same rules to our work all the time, all our books would be the same – like a recipe passed down through the family – until someone comes along and adds a twist to it.

Be that person to add the twist – in moderation of course, you don’t want to break the rules all the time! Write from the head and the heart of your characters, and you’re on the road to writing a book that will resonate with the ‘real people’ out there – your readers. And when Self-Doubt steps into the ring, tell it to rack off and remember: Nora Roberts did it.

Night TalesThe most succesful novelist on Planet Earth’ – Washington Post

Night Shield

Even though he agreed to protect her cover — even though her own dad vouched for him — Allison Fletcher refused to be seduced by Jonah Blackhawk’s smooth charm and good looks. She was too much of a cop to fall for a shady character like Jonah…even if her pulse did race at his touch.

If only she didn’t have eyes like prime whiskey and a smile that melted his insides. If only she weren’t Boyd Fletcher’s daughter. Jonah had never cared much for cops…until now. But Ally was definitely off-limits to a guy like him. If only he could stop wanting her…

Night Moves

The house had stood vacant for ten years, but Maggie Fitzgerald knew she could call it home. An award-winning songwriter, Maggie had sought peace and solitude from the Los Angeles celebrity hounds after her husband’s accidental death. Instinct had brought her east, to the small Maryland town of Morganville.

Instinct also told her that Cliff Delaney, owner of a local landscaping company, was just the person to revitalize her property. But once that project began, the remains of a dead man were discovered and everyone she knew, including Cliff, seemed to have a motive for the killing.

Could she trust her instincts again or would the truth be her undoing?

Romance Rocks the East Coast


350 women and 4 men … Olympic Park has not experienced an event like it before. The bar was abuzz, the first floor under siege and the Novotel staff smiled from ear to ear.

Of course, when you bring together a bunch of romance authors there’s bound to be more than a little entertainment. Imogene Nix, Danielle Belwater and Xanthe Blake found the intriguing pattern in the curtains inspiration for a murder plot,

Body in the Bedrooma little Luna Tango at the Harlequin dinner with Juliet Madison and hottie, Marco (phwoar!)

Marco n Julietand, with a cocktail party theme of leather and lace … well, I’ll leave that one up to your imagination!

Maggie Mundy DeliversThere were plenty of “squee” moments too. I was thrilled to be part of the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation Wall of Hands project last Thursday. Thank you Escape Publishing for choosing Under the Hood as part of the package donated at the RWA Literacy High Tea in Sydney.

Then it was time for Awards Night. This year I was honoured with two award nominations: RWA’s R*BY (Romantic Book of the Year) Award and the Lynne Wilding Volunteer Award. Both these nominations are close to my heart, one because I love writing romantic suspense and am thrilled the reader judges loved my book enough to put it through; the other because volunteering for RWA has made my life so much richer.

RBY Finalist

Catching up with everyone at conference is like coming home to family. Every year I’m inspired by the warmth and generosity of the members, the wealth of knowledge applied to the workshops and of course, the … perks 😉

Marco n Me

On Sunday afternoon, weary delegates disbanded with sore feet, strained voices, information overload and a stash of goodies to add to their luggage. I think we can say a good time was had by all and Romance really does Rock. Thanks to Juliet Madison, Maggie Mundy, Xanthe Blake, Danielle Belwater and Imogene Nix for the photos. We’re off to Melbourne next year. I wonder what surprises will be in store for us there?

sydney-conf-logo

 

Cruisin’ with RWA


Come on over to the Romance Writers of Australia for a line up of new releases, good news and romance author blogs. A great place to be…

Romance Writers of Australia

And the news just keeps coming as our Cruisin’ Chauffeurs run themselves ragged collecting all the latest on our members’ blogs. I hope you’ve got your TBR lists ready. We have a line up of books to look out for and blogs to cruise, so grab a coffee (or champagne if you prefer) and hop into the limo with Clint and Enrico. Let’s go Cruisin’…

Cruisin’ the News

We love celebrating success. Our members are encouraged to send in their New Release news for publishing in Hearts Talk and the New Releases blog. Don’t miss the deadline! Send in your new releases by the 8th of every month to: newreleases@romanceaustralia.comhtgoodnews@romanceaustralia.com Of course, the Cruisin’ Crew don’t want to miss out on the celebrations, so drop Clint and Enrico an email with your blogs, new contract, first sale, new cover or release news at cruisin@romanceaustralia.com. Don’t forget to come back…

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Off to a Flying Start


Tuesday February 21, 2012 will forever be emblazoned in my memory. It’s the day I went to bed a writer and woke up an author. Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe the emotions that followed.

But let me bore you with some details first :)…  I won’t make it too long, I promise. I began writing FLY AWAY PETA at aged sixteen. When I look back on my handwritten drafts in between the pages of a yellowed school note book (my maths book, to be exact!), I can see how far I’ve come in terms of finding my voice.

Scenes changed, the story grew, and the characters developed through years of maturity and several rounds of self-editing. The one thing that always remained true was the title: FLY AWAY PETA. No matter how many other stories I penned, this one would not leave me alone. Jaime and Peta wanted their story told and they nagged me until I finished it.

Convinced that it was now ready for submission, I sent it off to Harlequin. After six months of waiting, I assumed it had gone to the bottom of the slush pile. I enquired as to its progress and a few weeks later, received a letter of polite rejection. I was okay with that. It wasn’t my time yet.

Having had a break away from FLY AWAY PETA while I wrote TAMING THE TIGER and entered competitions, I found I could revisit the story with a less jaundiced eye. By this time I had also re-joined the Romance Writers of Australia. This was probably the smartest move I could make. Through the wonderful members and fellow writers, I learnt so much about the craft of writing. And as an added bonus, made some wonderful new friends. After a few more months of editing, procrastinating and more editing, I finally bit the bullet and said: ‘Enough! It’s now or never.’ 

Now comes the spooky bit. I have a thing for roses, hence my first thought was to submit to Harlequin. After all, it’s every emerging romance writer’s dream to publish with HMB. So while searching for alternatives for FLY AWAY PETA, I came across Eternal Press who are currently accepting non-agented submissions. The symbol on their website is a lilac rose. My gut feel said, ‘Send it!’ My head said, ‘What have you got to lose?’ And my heart said, ‘A rose is a rose, perhaps this is the right rose.’

On Monday 20, 2012 at 12:07 AM, I hit send, turned off my computer and went to bed expecting the six to eight week wait they promised. On Tuesday morning I turned it on to check my emails and there was an email from Eternal Press. I thought it was the usual response letting me know that they’d received the manuscript and would be in touch. And then I read it. ‘Your contemporary romance Fly Away Peta is accepted for publication by  Eternal Press…’

I screamed, scared the dog into barking, cried, danced and cried some more. Then I turned off my PC and turned it on again to make sure the email was still there. It was. A few days later I sat with the contract in my hand and faced the reality of designing my debut book cover, writing blurbs and outlining a marketing plan as hubby dreamed of movie rights and a house in Sausalito, California from the armchair behind my desk.

That’s my call story…I’m still pinching myself. Thank you Kim Richards and Erin Lale at Eternal Press for making my dreams come true. The moral of the story? Never give up on your dreams. I really hope you enjoy FLY AWAY PETA and I’m looking forward to hearing from my readers.

PS: Wooooohoooooo!

FLY AWAY PETA, Eternal Press, release date August 1, 2012