Many of my fellow Roses have written about their Good, Bad, and Uglies. I read them when they came out but have deliberately not gone back and reread them. I hope my take on a writing career isn’t a rehash of what has gone before. Since I prefer to end on a positive note, I’m changing the order.
BAD Writing is a solitary occupation. We sit in our caves surrounded by characters who talk to us. No, wait, they yell. Some are demanding that we start their story when we’re in the middle of someone else’s. Or they want the current story to go in a different direction. Our family doesn’t understand how we can sit for hours at the computer. Even the most supportive spouse or child can feel neglected and they let us know about it. Some writers aren’t blessed with a supportive spouse, one who sabotages the writer’s time and efforts.
UGLY We send our “baby” out into the world and someone says she’s ugly—an editor, an agent, a critique partner, a contest judge, a reviewer. Everyone in the writing community tells us to develop a thick skin. Easy to say, hard to do. We want, no, need a critique partner who will tell us the truth. If we want only praise, we should send our work to our mothers. Rejections are part of the writing process. Sure they hurt. If we’re lucky, the rejection is accompanied by reasons that we can learn from. We’re told don’t read reviews. How unrealistic is that! And, of course, we’re more bothered by one bad review instead of celebrating the eight 5-star ones.
So why do we do it? Why put ourselves through all the heartache?
GOOD Despite all the BAD and UGLY parts of a writing career, writing is fun. Or it should be. Our imagination takes us to a different place and time. We can go back in time and meet historical characters. We can write about places we’ve been or long to visit. We can go on adventures with our characters who become real people to us. I will never go into space. I accept that, but my characters can. And I can enjoy that adventure with them. I’ll never be young again (don’t I wish I could have that do-over), but I remember the thrill of finding my soul mate. I can experience that exhilaration again and again in each of my stories. Writing gives me the freedom to be my own boss, to do what I want to do. What could be better than that?
In my newest science fiction romance, THE CHAMELEON, my heroine has a dual personality. She’s a ditz who doesn’t seem to have a brain in her head. She’s a tough, driven woman who wants to run the family business. I love the fabulous cover (by Rebel Ink Designs) that shows both sides of her. This story presented a challenge. While I have no trouble writing strong women, writing a ditz is a lot harder. But even challenges can be fun. Since our theme this month is movies, the tagline for this book fits right in: Legally Blonde Meets Mata Hari.
I blog here on the 8th and 30th of each month and Mondays on my own site http://dianeburton.blogspot.com