Friday, May 14, 2010

Now what?



Gabriel, my Draicon werewolf whose eyes turn a gorgeous shade of amber when his wolf emerges, has reason to to celebrate.

He finally got the girl, had wild and crazy sex, resolved all his problems and is living happily ever after.

Yes, his book is DONE and was mailed off to New York this week.

Can I shout with relief and giddy joy that I finally finished the book?

YAY!!

It wasn't an easy book to write. Back in January, when I got final approval on the synopsis and the green light to write the book, a terrible catastrophe happened. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti diverted all my attention. I worked long hours at the day job, took nearly back-to-back trips to Haiti, and struggled with my own emotional response to the disaster.

I've worked in Haiti for 16 years and what I saw broke my heart.

I also could not write romance for two solid months afterward. So I took a vacation to recover from the turmoil of Haiti, and to make a good, solid effort in writing Gabriel's story for Harlequin.

It worked. During the two-week vacation, I finished and turned in a Nocturne Bite. I also wrote an amazing 20,000 words on Gabriel's story, thanks in part to spending three days at a neighbor's cottage they kindly loaned me. I worked from morning until late night, concentrating on my writing.

When I returned to the day job, I finally had recovered my writing stride and was able to stay productive.

For three years, I've worked at a demanding day job, traveled, and had numerous deadlines and author responsibilities. And a home life!

And now, for the first time in three years, I'm without a contract.

It's a feeling of relief, not worry. It means it's time for me to take a break.

When you work at a day job and you're an author, you have different demands and different issues than when you write FT. The benefits of having a day job are simple:

Money!

A steady paycheck and benefits like vacation time mean you're not relying on contracts to pay the mortgage. I can honestly say I don't know one single author who writes FT who doesn't work extremely hard for every single dollar she earns. I have lots of respect and admiration for their productivity and talent.

The down side to working a day job, especially when you travel like I do, is time.

You must effectively budget your time. It's not easy, especially when life has a habit of interfering. Family health problems, job demands, sudden twists of fate, they happen. But the deadlines remain.

Writing is hard work. If you want to publish books, you must treat writing like any other demanding career. Publishing is unpredictable at best. But it's an amazing feeling to walk into a bookstore and see your name on a book where your ideas and imagination took flight...

or having readers tell you they loved your work. And receiving a check for the work you did and realizing you are being paid to do what you love.

I honestly don't know what's next. The fact that my brain is saying "Beats me, Bonnie" is a sign it's time for a break. Already I started playing around with two new story ideas, just for fun and because I'm a writer.

I can't stop writing!

But for now, I'm sitting back and not worrying about what comes next. Instead of spending the weekend writing and editing and gulping down caffeine, I'm going to the gym this morning. DH has obligations with his club, so I'm meeting a friend for lunch I haven't seen in way too long.

Next week I'll be in Honduras for the day job. It will be the first trip in three years I've not had to worry about writing in the hotel at night, or having a deadline hang over me.

I'll take my netbook and write for fun if I feel like it. But at night, if I'm too wiped out from the day's visits, I'll set it aside.

The other day I told a friend that every time I pick up The Falcon & the Dove and read a certain scene, I don't envision the desert and the hot sand and the handsome sheikh.

I see the hotel room in Haiti where I wrote that scene years ago at night, while visiting that country for the day job. I still can see myself sitting on the bed, typing like mad.

It's freeing knowing that I have no more writing obligations. It's a good thing as well because it enables me to visualize new ideas, have fun with my imagination and envision new possibilities.

I don't know what the future brings. What I do know is I've published more than 12 romance novels and short stories in the past 8 years, had a great time doing it, met lots of wonderful people and readers and publishing professionals, made some terrific friends, and achieved a dream I've had for years.

I'm grateful for the opportunities given to me, I've worked extremely hard once granted those opportunities and now...

I'm taking a break!

4 comments:

Colleen Thompson said...

Good for you, Bonnie! It's time to fill the well for a while, if nothing else!

Gillian Layne said...

I'm always going to be so grateful those fabulous Egyptian historicals found their way to the shelves. I love your harlequins, too, but those historicals have a special place in my heart.

Enjoy your break!

Bonnie Vanak said...

Thanks Colleen and Gillian!

Kelley said...

you have definitely earned yourself a break from writing Bonnie! You've had a lot you've put out in the past several years and your readers thank you for it! But at the same time, with the type of work you do FT, it's got to be brutal to write too sometimes. Good for you for getting yourself some well earned "time off". :-) Though as a reader fan I have to say I hope you don't take TOO long of a break since... well what can I say, I'm a wee bit selfish and want more books from you! LOL