Monday, May 25, 2009

Writing, RWA, etc.

Here's a trip down memory lane. RWA National in Dallas, 2004. Pamela Clare finaled in the Daphne awards for her first RS, Extreme Exposure.

That was a great conference. Below is a photo of some of the RBL Romantica gals who went to Dallas. It was my first time meeting them, and it was great.

My last RWA conference was Atlanta, 2006. I got to see Jennifer Ashley win her RITA (yay) and meet my HQ editor for the first time, before my first Nocturne was even published.

This year, I'll be in DC. And I think RWA will be different for me. Lots different.

I'm seriously thinking of not doing the booksigning.

I'm waiting another week or two to see how it goes with the family health issues, which take priority right now. But I'm feeling kinda strong about this. DC for me will be more of a "me" conference.

I want to see old friends I seldom ever see, and I want to play tourist. A friend is coming down and we're going to sightsee. I've never been to DC before and I figure this is my only time to do everything.

So for me, this will be more of a "behind the scenes" RWA. I might attend a workshop or two that gets my interest, but there'll be no "networking" or career pumping for me. RWA is the place to network, and this year I have little interest in promoting my career.


Because this year, I've decided to focus on something much more important to me than promoting my career or aiming to get new contracts or climbing the romance author ladder.

I'm focusing on my writing.

Writing is one of the few things you can control in publishing. You can't control distribution (ask me about this, lol, I can tell you) or if readers will buy your books or maintaining momentum or creating buzz or sales or even control release dates and scheduling. Or if your books will be pirated and available as free downloads, stripping you as the author of funds needed to promote your books or even to pay the grocery bill. (Pamela has a great post on this subject, click here to read it.)

But you can control your writing.

I came to a tough decision earlier this year when I realized something had to give. It wasn't going to be me, either. One of the genres I was writing had to go, at least temporarily. And trust me, seeing my books out on the internet as free downloads helped me come to this decision. I asked myself, "Why am I working so hard just so people can rip me off?"

So I dropped the Egyptian historicals. It wasn't easy for me to do, but in retrospect, I'm glad I did. The pressure and the strain to produce one 90,000 historical a year, along with the Nocturnes, and working a demanding day job AND traveling to Haiti, Nicaragua, etc, and having a life! was too much.

The Nocturnes are fun and different for me. And now I'm writing another Bite, a 15,000 word or less short story that's released in ebook format only (though my first Bite, Broken Souls, was released in trade paperback in April in the Midnight Cravings anthology).

When I wrote Broken Souls, I knew I could do better. I'm not very good at writing short stories; they're a huge challenge.

So when I set out to write the next Bite, Darkness of the Wolf, I resolved to do better. I took my time, revised, revised, revised.

I just turned in edits for that Bite, which is out in August. And I was delighted to see the edits my editor requested were few. I had a real good feeling when I turned in Darkness that it was a stronger story than Broken Souls. I think I was right.

It was a better story because I took the time to write it, putting in as much effort as I would to a full length Nocturne, and I read some articles about writing a short story, and asked friends for advice on how they write short stories.

I learned more. This is a fluid business. I firmly believe writers should always be learning, otherwise, your writing grows stale. There's always new ways/methods out there to explore.

So this year, I'm exploring.

I also made the tough decision to push my next deadline way back. It wasn't easy, but the family health issues came first. I knew it would be near impossible with a very tight deadline to produce the kind of book I want to write, the kind of book that makes me go "ah!" with what's happening now.

Right now, I'm writing another Bite, due in August. It's called Courage of the Wolf. I started it last week and so far I really like it. I brainstormed an idea to give it a new twist and now I'm experiencing a feeling that makes everything worthwhile.

I'm getting excited about writing romance again.

It's a wonderful feeling. I want to write this story, not because it's a contracted work or I'll make oodles of money (I won't, lol) but because it's galvanizing me as a writer. I'm writing as I once did, as I should. There'll be a learning process along the way, and mistakes will be made that will require revisions or edits, but that's okay.

I'm loving this again. And to me, that's more important than anything else in the business right now.


Mary Ricksen said...

Writing has to be fun too! I am so glad to hear you are revitalized and enjoying it once again. That's what it's all about for me.
Enjoy the conference for a change. Your whole life is dedicated to others. Now enjoy some time for Bonnie! I wish I could be there to have a few laughs with you.

Chez said...

I love hearing that as an author you wish to go back to loving the writing .... so much. Sometimes, I feel that too much appears to be expected from authors in the way of promotion and networking. The writing should always be the most important and I think it shows when an author has been moved by the story they write. I don't write, but am a reader who adores those books that are obviously loved.

Amanda said...

Hi Bonnie,

I came here from the link that you posted on the RBL. I am sorry as I posted on Pamela's topic that your books got pirated I think this is awful!
But I do think that going back to writing is great, I think that sometimes too much pressure is on authors to finish something promote it etc and live their normal lives, as you said something has to give and as you're an author i'm so glad that you can go back to what you enjoy and have fun doing it.


Bonnie Vanak said...

Thanks so much, Mary, Chez and Amanda!