Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Writing



Here's a trip down memory lane.
RWA National in Dallas, 2004. Pamela Clare finaled in the Daphne awards for her first RS, Extreme Exposure.
That was a great conference. Below is a photo of some of the RBL Romantica gals who went to Dallas. It was my first time meeting them, and it was great.My last RWA conference was Atlanta, 2006. I got to see Jennifer Ashley win her RITA (yay) and meet my HQ editor for the first time, before my first Nocturne was even published.

This year, I'll be in DC. And I think RWA will be different for me. Lots different. I'm seriously thinking of not doing the booksigning. I'm waiting another week or two to see how it goes with the family health issues, which take priority right now.


But I'm feeling kinda strong about this. DC for me will be more of a "me" conference. I want to see old friends I seldom ever see, and I want to play tourist. A friend is coming down and we're going to sightsee. I've never been to DC before and I figure this is my only time to do everything.

So for me, this will be more of a "behind the scenes" RWA. I might attend a workshop or two that gets my interest, but there'll be no "networking" or career pumping for me. RWA is the place to network, and this year I have little interest in promoting my career.

Why?

Because this year, I've decided to focus on something much more important to me than promoting my career or aiming to get new contracts or climbing the romance author ladder.

I'm focusing on my writing. Writing is one of the few things you can control in publishing. You can't control distribution (ask me about this, lol, I can tell you) or if readers will buy your books or maintaining momentum or creating buzz or sales or even control release dates and scheduling.


Or if your books will be pirated and available as free downloads, stripping you as the author of funds needed to promote your books or even to pay the grocery bill. (Pamela has a great post on this subject, click here to read it.)


But you can control your writing.

I came to a tough decision earlier this year when I realized something had to give. It wasn't going to be me, either. One of the genres I was writing had to go, at least temporarily. And trust me, seeing my books out on the internet as free downloads helped me come to this decision. I asked myself, "Why am I working so hard just so people can rip me off?"


So I dropped the Egyptian historicals. It wasn't easy for me to do, but in retrospect, I'm glad I did. The pressure and the strain to produce one 90,000 historical a year, along with the Nocturnes, and working a demanding day job AND traveling to Haiti, Nicaragua, etc, and having a life! was too much.
And now I'm writing another Bite, a 15,000 word or less short story that's released in ebook format only (though my first Bite, Broken Souls, was released in trade paperback in April in the Midnight Cravings anthology). When I wrote Broken Souls, I knew I could do better. I'm not very good at writing short stories; they're a huge challenge.

So when I set out to write the next Bite, Darkness of the Wolf, I resolved to do better. I took my time, revised, revised, revised. I just turned in edits for that Bite, which is out in August. And I was delighted to see the edits my editor requested were few. I had a real good feeling when I turned in Darkness that it was a stronger story than Broken Souls. I think I was right.


It was a better story because I took the time to write it, putting in as much effort as I would to a full length Nocturne and I resolved to learn more about writing short stories.

This is a fluid business. I firmly believe writers should always be learning, otherwise, your writing grows stale. There's always new ways/methods out there to explore.


So this year, I'm exploring. I also made the tough decision to push my next deadline way back. It wasn't easy, but the family health issues came first. I knew it would be near impossible with a very tight deadline to produce the kind of book I want to write, the kind of book that makes me go "ah!" with what's happening now.


Right now, I'm writing another Bite, due in August. It's called Courage of the Wolf. I started it last week and so far I really like it. I brainstormed an idea to give it a new twist and now I'm experiencing a feeling that makes everything worthwhile.


I'm getting excited about writing romance again.It's a wonderful feeling. I want to write this story, not because it's a contracted work or I'll make oodles of money (I won't, lol) but because it's galvanizing me as a writer. I'm writing as I once did, as I should. There'll be a learning process along the way, and mistakes will be made that will require revisions or edits, but that's okay.

I'm loving this again. And to me, that's more important than anything else in the business right now.

4 comments:

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner May 26, 2009 at 10:42 PM  

I'm right there with you about writing being a fluid business, and that writers should always grow and change and try different things.

I very much enjoy your Egyptian historical series, but your Nocturnes rock (I'm still thinking about that Rafe, and looking forward to his story).

Our choices should be what's best for us and our writing, and it sounds like you're doing what you need to do.

Last year, for me, was a year from hell (I won't say *the* year, because I know more will come, LOL). But I cut back everything, I mean everything, except my writing (and my personal life), and it's been paying off. Like you, I found the creative joy returning, which is why I wanted to write in the first place.

EmilyBryan May 27, 2009 at 4:57 AM  

Wise words from a wise lady.

Whenever I start stressing about the things I can't control about my career (which you so correctly pointed out are legion!) I have to stop and take a deep breath.

"Go back to the writing" is my new mantra.

Cindy Holby May 27, 2009 at 6:21 AM  

Writing the best book possible is about the only thing you can control in your career. Worrying about the rest is just to dang hard and time consuming.

Gerri Russell May 27, 2009 at 2:12 PM  

Bonnie,

When there is joy in the writing, there is joy in life.
Congratulations on finding that "bliss" once again. I will miss your Egyptian historicals, but I'm looking forward to discovering other aspects of Bonnie Vanak, the author. :-)

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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