Confessions of a Romance Writer
What scares or concerns you most about life as a writer? Is it the writing itself? Never selling a book? Aja and Carolyn Hector Hall confess their fears and tell us how they conquer them.
I must confess that I deal with fear. That I’m not confident each and every one of those twenty four hours in a day. That there are times I will randomly contemplate how I could invent some sort of contraption that will take my thoughts, as sparse as the are at moments, and create a first draft from them with little to no effort.
I’ve given the advice that writers write everyday and that’s true but there are days writers like myself don’t write at all. Sometimes I don’t have the mental space for my characters or some anecdote I can pen to keep my promise to write every day. There are also times I feel like I wrote crap and no amount of editing will make it better. The fear that seizes me as my book goes to publishing and the hours or days it might take to get some feedback on it, it will consume me. Externally I’m just fine. No one would know about my fears as a writer and I suppose that’s because I am confident enough to continue business as usual, that I’m not paralyzed by it but internally I am a mess and if a close friend or family member asks what’s up, I’ll admit I worry this release wasn’t “me” enough. That I went too far away from what people are used to.
One of my more recent releases, Love’s Required was a departure from my usual passionate, sensual, erotically sexy romance. I mean sure there were moments of that in there, I mean I’m me, but overall the story was heavy— the subject matter not pleasant—and my character had some self-destructive tendencies that I don’t usually broach so honestly. I couldn’t avoid it in this book, the heroine wouldn’t allow me and I worried readers would hate her and subsequently hate me for telling that story.
It was okay, better than okay actually. Reception was what she deserved, but those days leading up to the first handful of reviews which I viewed as a sample, those days were tough. I felt like I didn’t truly breathe in deeply until then.
I’ve been a reader most of my life but most readers have never been a writer, or someone who publishes what they write for human consumption. It’s tough shi*. The judgment that comes with publishing is something we are told to grow thick skin to handle, but that isn’t an immediate talent of a writer. It takes time to get used to harsh critiscm because there certainly is a difference in someone saying, “this book wasn’t for me …” and “this writer needs to stop publishing because her writing is garbage.” I’ve not experienced the latter, thankfully, but I’ve seen others that have and yet, they are supposed to remain cool. Maybe I fear that if and when I receive that type of review or reaction, I won’t be as level-headed as I’m known for. I mean, was it not Erykah Badu that said, “Now keep in mind that I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.
And yeah I am. I suppose that’s my confession. I’m really sensitive about this thing I do but I love it anyway. I’m a writer.
Love Taps is available now. You can find out more about Aja and her writing on Facebook, Twitter or on her website.
Carolyn Hector Hall
Indies or traditional
Or a hybrid type of thing
Heroes and heroines who make your heart sing.
Fantasy or regency or small towns and big cities
These are a few of my insecurities.
Showing verses telling
How many books is she selling?
What is her daily word count, how many books does she put out in a year?
These are the things most writers fear.
I’m a jealous b*tch but I handle it in an appropriate way…I will stalk you! Okay not in the creepy kinda way. I will buy every single one of your books, fall in love with all of your heroes and heroines and then hate myself for not being as brilliant as you. When we meet, I’ll get all #fangirl on you (think Season 12, Episode 8, The D&D Vortex of The Big Bang Theory). If I manage to get the words out about how much I adore you, my stammering will be more like verbal diarrhea (I have no other way to describe it)
My fear as an author is, “will I ever be a fraction of as good as you?” My husband once had a co-worker tell him that she loved my book and with the way she saw the future for different stories, she said I reminded her of Brenda Jackson. #DyingHere because as you know… I love me some Brenda.
My fear as an author is, “will I ever be able to write as fast as you AND deliver great work?”… I say that thinking of Catherine Mann, Reese Ryan and Sherelle Green. These ladies have me sitting back scratching my head like… WOW!
I try to find the humor in everything and laugh at myself in order to acknowledge that I can slip into a dark hole of self-pity. Trust me! I’ve mentioned two of my ha-ha- typical fears, but they also go deeper. I mean, have you looked at some authors’ review pages? Some of them have an actual comma in their number of reviews. I’m pushing 12 reviews on Amazon. Am I spending enough time on social media platforms in order to stir up enough interest to get people to read my books? If I spend time on social media, will I get my daily word-count in? How do these authors write so fast without constant hand cramp? How do they balance work, kids, spending time with their partners AND get in... not just a word count but beautifully strewn together words? I see authors post about Beta readers. How do they get beta readers? Maybe I need a critique partner. I’d be a horrible critique partner because I’ll look at someone else’s work in awe and hate myself for not coming up with a great idea. A lot of these authors have degrees and great jobs where they can travel and do research. I have a budget and no degree. I’m like Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting (should I dare call myself a genius). At the annual writers’ retreat I attend, I sit at a table with people I’ve admired and worshiped. And I’m seated across from them! All I can do is pray they don’t figure out I have no formal training. Or then I think! “Maybe they have and that’s why I haven’t ‘made it’ like they have.”
I need to take things in stride. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Everybody’s a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
As you can see, the spiral hole to my fears runs deep and long. Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of therapy as a teen. Now-a-days I look for the silver lining in things. Like, sure I may have nine amazon reviews for Mr. and Mrs. Rossi, but the book was published back in 2015. As we all know, I’m not that much of a math-magician but when I’m still receiving royalties (sometimes they’re over $20) I am excited because that means at least 20 people (who aren’t family members!) purchased my book. Go me!
I guess what I want to say is that we all have fears. Just don’t let the fear take over you.
Happy Reading! Happy Writing!
What are you biggest writing/writer fears? Do you stress about the same things in this article or have a whole other list of your own? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on our social media using #Confessions