Procrastination and a Mutinous Muse


Every year in May, I join the ranks of authors at the Romance Writers of Australia in a race to write 50, 000 words in thirty days. I had good intentions. Yes, I did. My muse, on the other hand, had other ideas. So my May challenge went something like this …

Day 1:

Muse: You’re going to work today.

Me: I have no choice. It’s a work today.

Muse: Huh. Okay then, I’ll stay home and drink wine.

Day 2:

Me: So, are we going to write today?

Muse (shrugs): Maybe.

Me: 1600 words?

Muse: I’ll give you 1476.

Day 3:

Me: Can’t write today. Work and an MTAA launch tonight.

Muse: I’ll forgive you. It’s Craig Lowndes. Ain’t nobody gonna say no to that.

Day 4:

Me: Great night last night. Let’s write!

Muse: Glad you had fun without me. Was he nice?

Me (sighs): Yes. He hugged me, touched my arm. I’m never going to wash it again.

Muse: Great! I’ll give you 1590 words.

Me: Cheers.

Day 5:

Me: Work day

Muse: Go then.

Day 6 & 7:

Muse: We writing this weekend?

Me: Nope. It’s V8’s at Barbagallo

Muse: Garth Tander?

Me: Yep.

Muse: Ain’t nobody gonna say no to that!

Day 9:

Me: Only 967 words?

Muse: I gave you Garth Tander, Craig Lowndes, Greg Murphy, Roger Penske … need I say more?

Me: I guess not.

Day 11:

Me: We’re almost half way. Can I have some words?

Muse: I’ll give you 654.

Me: They’re getting less. Are you punishing me?

Muse (stretches out on the couch): Zzzzzz

Day 13:

Me: 789 words. Total count: 5476/50000. We need more. We’re not even close to target.

Muse: Talk to the hand.

Day 16:

Me: 649 words on the WIP, numerous email responses and a work-related ad for the winter. Total count: 6125/50000. Current WIP now at 18916. I’d hoped to be around the halfway mark by now.

Muse: Stay at home and write then.

Me: Can’t. Day job. It’s how you stay alive.

Muse: Pffft. Pass the wine and chocolate.

Day 18:

Me: A dismal 198 words today. Ridonculous! We can do better than that.

Muse (in a chocolate coma): Maybe if you can get your characters to stop dancing around each other …

Me: That’s your job. Inspire me.

Muse: I’m off to Fiji …

Day 21:

Me: Today’s achievement – I made soup. (No, this photo was the stew my husband made. You don’t want to see what the soup looked like)

Day 25:

Muse: Your edits for Secrets are here!

Me: But I want to work on Heart.

Muse: Too bad. Edits first, write later. And by the way, if you don’t stay off Facebook, you’ll never get anything written or edited.

 

Running total: 6323/50, 000

To be continued ….

 

 

 

 

 

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?