~ By Jade Chandler
Please stand up now, raise your right hand and repeat. Writing is a solitary art.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. One of many things I hear about writing is that it is for loners, that it’s all about the muse waking up full of ideas, and that with just a bit more time we’d all be done with that insert troublesome project.
So I call bullsh*t on those, and for me, I see each as a challenge to embrace and find a way to work through, over, under or around it. And that is what my survival list is all about!
When I need a specific image of a scene, a dress, a detail of any kind, I find it and pin it to Pinterest.
This way my poor Swiss cheese brain doesn’t have to work too hard.
So my husband was tapped out before I ended book one, and my vanilla friends (non-writers) are supportive but clueless. So I joined RWA, which you probably are too if you are reading this blog. Then I joined my local chapter, online chapters and a few other groups. I found critique groups and critique partners to share my journey with, and I connected with classmates from craft classes. Writers, especially romance writers, are generally very supportive. Find your people and embrace them! It gives you so much—accountability, advice, and encouragement to name a few.
So I became a writer because I love books, really love books, and at some point, I became more interested in the stories in my head than the ones I was reading. But after obsessing in my writing pool a few months, I missed books. Sometimes I can’t read romance, other times I read romance for a publisher I’m trying to snag. But I read, no less than a book a week. I “read” by listening via audible.com. For me it makes driving, housework and all my tedious chores more fun.
So like any newly-converted fan, I obsessed about writing at first, ignoring most things that didn’t pay the bills or bleed. But that was short-lived as my husband and kids staged an intervention (kidding about that intervention). I realized I was living with all my eggs in a single basket. Not healthy. And then there was guilt. I’m not a guilt-ridden person by default, but I knew I wasn’t doing the balancing thing. So now, I spend time playing games, hanging out, cooking, seeing vanilla friends, and I write in 30 minute chunks. I can find four to five of those chunks in my day instead of one long two-hour, don’t-interrupt-me, stretch. Find your balance, which could mean more writing time or less.
I kicked out all the losers who took up space inside my head, and they can’t come back.
- The Muse: She demanded I write on her schedule and didn’t give a diddly-damn about my schedule or my family. And I write without her, just as well, maybe better.
- The Critic: She was haughty, skeptical and laughed at every mistake. That bitch is now out and gone.
- The Doubter: This mousy girl liked to point out how she liked our writing but no one else would, ever.
- The Yes-Woman: She is the hardest to get rid of as I like to say yes to things. I like to think I’ve turned her into a Meh Woman.
So my challenge to you as you start the New Year is identify your writer survival list and come up with one or two ways you can strengthen that, or add to the list. I want to add exercising to my survival list, but right now that would be fiction. We’ll see if it can make the list by 2017.
Go forth and conquer, or you know, search the internet for hot guys and cute cats.
Jade Chandler is a new author who lives in Kansas City Missouri, with a hubby surrounded by a house full of girls–two daughters, a dog and a cat. A life-long lover of romance, she decided to write romance in 2014. Her first book in the Jericho Brotherhood MC series will be released Summer 2016 by Carina Press.