Monday, June 15, 2015

Writing is Hard "Work"

Good Morning. I've been thinking about my five year plan. I touched on it with this post in January. The Year of the Popcorn Kittens. Writing the Regency series took a lot out of me, in more ways than I ever thought. During my last blog break between March and June my brain just shut down. I didn't want to write anymore. Seriously, I thought about giving it all up. Actually, I just wanted to sleep until I decided to get up again.

However, writing is my JOB. I am (for the most part) an historical romance novelist. That's what I do to make money. Yet, after pushing out so many Regencies, (7 novels and 6 novellas in 4 years) I just didn't want to write another word. But as self-published authors, we're taught to write, write, write. To get it out, publish, rinse and repeat.

not all the books are here

What I had forgotten during the last two years, and what my blog break showed me was how much FUN I used to have while writing.  I always have five or six different WiP sitting on my hard drive. (If one gives me fits, I just go to the next.)

However, the guilt I felt for wanting to abandon my chosen genre was eating at me like a cancer. How could I disappoint my readers if I didn't churn out another series when I said I would write it? Would I lose my fan base? I had found success by publishing every four months or so. Would they wait for the next book? (To make a success of a series, readers don't LIKE to wait. They want to read them all from beginning to end. Write, write, write, publish, publish, publish.)

However, what I found when I sat down to write the next series was that I had no new ideas. I have six heroines I have to find plots for, and I had already pretty much done them all. Mistaken identity, brutish hero, war hero, lies, spies and country bumpkins and long-suffering women who waited for their man to come up to snuff. I had nothing left. And I couldn't bear to do any more research. (The timeline for the new series is set 5 years before the last one. Different wars, different people, different politics.)

So I said f*ck it. Yes, I did. I had written 5 chapters for the new Regency series first book and I stopped.

And let me tell you what a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Writing this detective novel has been like a breath of fresh air. New characters, minimal research, contemporary language. I feel as if I've been reborn. (Could I have any more cliches in that paragraph?)

Like that rhyme we used to sing at the end of the school year -- No more teachers, no more books, no more bully's dirty looks. Well my rhyme is now -- No more Dukes, no more Viscounts, I can write whatever I feel like. Yes, I know it doesn't rhyme, but I never said I was a poet. lol

I'm writing for FUN again and it feels so good. I don't feel guilty. I don't feel like I'm driven to the brink of madness doing research. I don't feel as if I'm wasting my time writing other things when I should be "WORKING".

And this, my friends, is the most important lesson I learned --

No matter WHAT I write, that means I AM working. 

Tell me -- Do you write for fun? Or are you writing as a job? Do you ever feel guilty if you write out of your chosen genre?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015


Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Hi, Anne! :)

Maria Zannini said...

My blog theme today has a similar theme.

Life is too short not to do what makes you happy. Go for it.

Bish Denham said...

I figure if writing becomes a chore then how will it not show in your story? Write what you want to write and it will be fresh inspirational not only to you but to your readers.

Who knows, you may well come back to those Regency stories at another time.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I write mostly in two genres, epic fantasy and space opera. I like them both and for different reasons. Glad you found the path to happy writing.

Shelley Sly said...

Wow, perfect timing. I'm glad I read your post today, because I'm going through something similar.

While I'm still working on my next book in my usual genre (MG), I've also started writing something completely different for fun. And I just said to my husband the other day, "I don't want to just stop working." He responded, "You're still working. You're writing." So I took that as a green light to add a new, fun project to my pile.

Enjoy writing for fun, Anne! It's worth it.

dolorah said...

I don't have any published novels; but I write short stories, and have published several of those. I write when I feel like it. But, its more of a hobby for me, I know I have to find a JOB soon or go crazy. If I had a steady income though, and did not have to got to a day job, I'd love to write for a living. I think I'd still write the same way though; picking the specific publication I want to write a story for, meeting their deadline. I'd have more time to work on my novels though, and I'd love that. Novels do take so much more work.

Work doesn't have to be work, though; as you discovered. Creativity should be fun. If you have a solid reader base, you can take your time getting out the next book. And some series readers like to collect all books in a series and read them in a binge. I've done that lots of times. So ya see, you can please both reader types :)

Laurel Garver said...

That's the beauty of being indie. No one is forcing you to stick with just one genre, especially when you're burned out.

I say, go have fun. Keep writing!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I don't think I ever had a chosen genre. I have 6 books out from 3 different genres. #7 is another. I think burnout happens when writers force a story, despite what people say must be done to get sales. I hate writing for sales. I just don't do it.

Anne Gallagher said...

Mac -- Hi Mac. *waves*

Maria -- I think eventually we all need to act like a spoiled brat and do what we want to do. Chucking the norm is good for us every once in awhile.

Bish -- I have no intention of giving up the Regencies, I'm just sick of writing them for the time being. I just want to give this detective thing a shot and see what happens.

Susan -- I think we need two or more different genres to write in to keep ideas flowing. Besides, I miss writing contractions.

Shelley -- I'm glad you're still writing. And writing for fun is even better.

Donna -- Writing full time is not all that it's cracked up to be. Even with being self-published, I still have deadlines I try to keep. Some days, honestly, I'd rather have a job. At least I know what my paycheck would be on a regular basis.

Laurel -- And that is the BEST part about being indie. I can do whatever I want to do.

Karen -- I don't necessarily write for sales, I write to get the story out of my head. The characters drive me crazy if I don't. However, if the story happens to bring in sales, I won't say no.

Sarah Ahiers said...


Also, just because you say Fuck it now, doesn't mean that has to be a forever decision. You can always change your mind later, when your regency muse has had time to recharge a bit.