I’m staying at the lake this week and my intention is to write. No more jotting down ideas on the backs of envelopes or making hurried notes across a scratch pad while I’m doing a quick laundry switch in between editing gigs. No more working out dialogues between my characters by talking into my little DVR while I’m throwing something into the crock pot before heading upstairs to work on someone else’s books. No more feeling deprived because my focus is on fixing other writer’s work instead of writing myself. I’ve worked my rather ample behind off all summer (although sadly, it’s still there–don’t you wish when we say we worked our butts off, they really did disappear?). I even took a project with me last month when I went to spend my birthday week cuddling my tiny grandboy, and although I did get in some terrific baby love and Son and DIL time, I still had to work.
Nope, this week is mine and I hope with all my heart that I can use the time productively. My goal is to finish the romantic suspense so that I can send the rough draft to Lani Diane Rich for critique. Interestingly…or perhaps I mean inspirationally (I know that’s not a word, but I’m a writer, I can make up words if I want to), Lani and her husband/ business partner, Alastair happened to mention me and my writing on their StoryWonk podcast today. I was doing my usual Sunday evening thing—enjoying their weekly podcast—when suddenly, I heard my name! Totally freaked me out, but as I listened, I was delighted and touched…and inspired. Go listen...as a matter of fact, if you’re a writer or hope to be a writer, StoryWonk should be considered required listening.
Stay for all of the podcast because it’s wonderful, but mention of me comes in at about 57 minutes into the conversation, which centered on “intended audience” and who we’re writing to, who we’re hoping to appeal to with our stories. Lani talked about how I’ve struggled with writing the stories that are in my heart and writing what agents and big publishing editors believe will sell. My problem is that I’m being told that my stories are great, my writing works, but my characters are too old. She and I have had this conversation a couple of times, and she always insists that I need to write what I want to write. Create the stories and the characters that are in my head and my heart and then put them out there—on my own, if need be. A scary proposition.
Lani is a wonderful writer and for her to admire my writing is not just inspirational, it’s downright amazing to me. To have an author that you love to read and that you respect tell you that you’re good can build you up in a way that nothing else can. How did she and Alastair know that I needed that shot of encouragement this week? That after four long months of having to set my own books aside in order to work on the paying gigs, I’d finally granted myself a week of renewal as a writer. Just a coincidence or maybe a higher power using StoryWonk and Lani and Alastair to let me know that I can do this.
I can tell my stories in my own way. I can write my older heroines and people will enjoy them and want more heroines who are mature and strong and experienced. Heroines like my twice-divorced decorator who vows to stop falling for the wrong kind of guy, my widow struggling to find meaning after losing the love of her life, and my single mom raising a teenaged musical prodigy all alone. Readers will be anxiously awaiting the story about my 36-year-old shy freelance editor who decides to break out of her shell and have a summer fling with a handsome writer, but instead finds herself in the middle of 40-year-old mystery that involves sunken treasure, the mother who abandoned her as a baby, a ruthless mobster, and even a murder in her own back yard.
I can do this…I can! Because you know what? I am a great writer!