My writer pals, Ainsley Brooks and the Lit Diva are taking part in a Writing Process blog tour and they’ve invited me along. I agreed because this is kind of a sensitive topic for me, and I think it’s because I feel like I should have a process, but I’m not at all sure I do. I want to be able to tell you that I write x number of hours each day and set word count goals. I want to tell you that the writing always, always comes first, that I pop out of bed at 4:30 each morning and get my 1000 to 1500 words in before the sun rises. I want to tell you that I’m a disciplined outliner, that I make timelines and character studies, and that I know from word one who all my characters are, where the story’s going, and how it will end. That is process to me and real writers—professional authors—have a process. Right? Well, I do none of those things. I write when I can write, squeezing words in between editing gigs or staying up late at night when the muse is kicking my creative ass. I take copious notes on scraps of paper, napkins, on my little digital recording device that I keep in my car, and on my cell phone memo app when ideas hit me or I hear a word that I like or characters start having a conversation in my head. But is that process? Does that make me a writer? I don’t know. I hope so…to that end…my answers to the Writing Process Blog Tour questions:
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Unquestionably, my work differs in the fact that I’m writing romance for Baby Boomers. My books are geared to an audience of over-age-40 women, who are tired of always reading about hot little twenty-somethings and their hunky billionaire boyfriends. My heroines have been around the block, so to speak. They’re divorced, widowed, have kids or will probably never have kids. They’re independent women who can take care of themselves, but who want someone to share their lives with. They may be lovely, but they’re not hard bodies, they’re not wearing bikinis, they’re more likely wearing yoga pants and hoodies. My heroes are older, still sexy, but they might be a little paunchy and that dark hair has streaks of silver. They’re settled, established in life, and ready for a grown-up romance.
Why do I write what I do?
I wrote romance for mature readers because I am a mature reader. I got so sick of vapid or snarky little twenty-somethings…I couldn’t relate. So I starting writing what I wanted to read. My heroines are Meryl Streep, Rita Wilson, Emma Thompson, and Helen Mirren. My heroes are Tom Selleck, Alan Rickman, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, and Tom Hanks.
How does my writing process work?
See paragraph 1 of this post. To which I’ll add, so far it’s working. If that changes for some reason, if I suddenly stop editing (which would mean I suddenly hit the lottery or made the conscious choice to stop eating and live in a box under the highway), or my novels take off like crazy and I’m selling books by the millions, my process may get more disciplined. But you know, I’m guessing it probably won’t because I’m not a naturally disciplined person. My editing career is the most disciplined area of my life and honesty compels me to tell you, I am a disciplined copyeditor because I’m being paid. Hey, facts are facts. I do love my job, but if I miss deadlines and don’t get jobs done and done well, I won’t make money. The writing pays, but not consistently or as well as the editing and I’ve grown accustomed to eating and okay, decent wine. But the writing, I do for love and that’s also a good reason to work hard, process or not, right?
I’m tapping romance author and friend Linda Morris to continue this tour. Off to to you, Linda!