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Friday, October 27, 2017

The Wheel of My Year- The Writing Life

by Joanne Rock

Hello from sunny Florida...
I’m at the end of a long book contract right now and it’s interesting how different my writing days are now versus when I’m at the start of a long book contract. Or in the middle. Or when I have a no contract at all!

As a creative endeavor, writing can be a challenging way to earn a living. It starts out as a passion and, if you aren’t very careful to protect the art from the income, it can quickly become a chore. I was warned about this as soon as I sold a book. I would bubble with enthusiasm when I spoke about all the projects I couldn’t wait to write and more experienced authors would exchange wry glances. I was warned the “honeymoon period” with my writing wouldn’t last.

Like so much advice from those who have tread the path before me, they were spot on. It gets hard to stay excited about your creative passion when it suddenly becomes your means of support. You need to set dependable hours and produce pages regularly. There’s no more sweet-talking your Muse until she’s ready to cooperate. She has a job and she’d better show up daily.

My latest release! 
But over the years, I’ve found ways to keep my creativity flowing in spite of the more rigorous demands on it. One trick is to mix up my schedule so that I’m bouncing back and forth between kinds of story. For a while, I would write historical stories in between my Blaze books to give myself a break from the same style of novel. Or write a few short books, then a long one. The different demands of different story styles helped me to stay engaged and excited about what I was doing.

As my readers have asked for more contemporary stories, I’m often writing books in similar genres, close together. That presents new challenges. Lately, I’ve found it helpful to write fast and furious while the Muse turns cartwheels at the start of a new contract. Chase the ideas fast, write like a madwoman, and get lots done before the creativity wears off a bit. Then, I slow down. Recharge more often. Read a lot in between writing a little. It helps me to feel like I’m taking more downtime, and really, I am. I focus more on scenes and less on the big picture. I research little snippets of a story and that jazzes me up to fuel more pages.  

Coming Soon...
Really, I play a lot of mind games. Like any self-employed person, I have to stay disciplined to get my work done. But since the work is creative, I know better than to crack the whip too much when my brain is churning at a different speed. Right now, my pace is leisurely. I think a lot and stare off into space. By the time the contract is done, I’ll take a few weeks off and forget all about writing.

Funny how when I ignore my Muse how impatient she gets. After a few weeks of quiet, she’ll start pinging ideas around. I won’t listen. She’ll talk even more. Then, the frenzy to create starts all over again. A new phase of writing mania begins. An all new honeymoon period. The wheel of my writing year turns.

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Speaking of “all new”… I’ve got fresh-off-the-press copies of Little Secrets: His Pregnant Secretary available this week! You can win one by sharing with me your favorite way to recharge after a big project. One random commenter will win their choice of print or digital book. And if that doesn’t work, go enter the contest at Goodreads where I’m giving away five more copies!

21 comments:

Patricia Bennett Barber said...

Love going to the library, and sitting all by myself :)

dstoutholcomb said...

reading with a cuppa hot tea

denise

Irma Jurejevčič said...

I go on a run. I put on some music, angry stuff, and that helps so much :)

Kimberlyindy said...

I read or binge watch Hallmark movies I have recorded. It was great to hear about your process. Thanks for sharing.

Latesha Ballard said...

Love your creative process. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Emma said...

I read and watch movies or walking. Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books

Donna Griffin said...

I love to just work in the yard and let my mind relax.. and in the evening relax with a good book and a mug of warm green tea 🍵

Anonymous said...

This is my second try, Joanne so here goes! I don't think I ever can say I'm in this category . The only think I can think of is the trip last fall to Tampa for my daughter's wedding. There wasn't much for me to do since I live here in New York state and she's down there. So, she said to relax and have fun! So, would you believe I had fun with my ex - family. We spent the night before sitting outside enjoying ourselves while the party was held inside. When the kids went on the honeymoon I went to the local mall, Big Cat Rescue, and met Jimmy Hart *WWF* from WWE in a store and talked with him and got pictures of him with us! My down time was spending it on-line while there, watching the wild birds, turtles, and people walking. Pam Hamblin

Tina Gene said...

I love to go and watch all my animals and in their own way they talk to me and make me laugh as they play. Also love to sit by fire with coffee and read so relaxing

Phyllis Lamken said...

A good book and a cocktail

Donamae Kutska said...

Reading in my bed with my little dog.

Diana Tidlund said...

Relax in hot tub

Beth Reimer said...

I love to take walks in the woods this time of year and clear my mind

Kathleen O said...

Nothing better than to curl up with a good book and pot of tea..

ptclayton said...

After a big project I like to take the pups on a walk out on our land and just let them do what they want although they have to stay close and be near the wheelchair but it relaxes me outside and seeing them chase leaves and just sit and watch the birds

Sue Farrell said...

In the summer. a long walk in the woods-------in the winter, a trip to the spa for a massage.
suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

Nova said...

have something nice to drink, rekax, and watch a girl movie.

Lori P said...

I love taking a break a nice cup of hot tea and a good book or listening to music.

jlipayer (at) charter (dot) net

Mary Preston said...

Hi, after completing a big project I am likely to take on only small challenges for a while. A treat is also called for. Ice-cream!!

Laney4 said...

When I'm totally wiped (and that happens more and more frequently as we age), I will feel the cold seeping into my bones, so I head to bed or an Epsom salt bath with a good book (or two).

Joanne Rock said...

Lori P, you're my winner!!! Congratulations to you and I'm emailing you to see if you'd like a print or digital copy of His Pregnant Secretary, my December story. Thank you so much for visiting with me!