Today is my birthday. But, more than that, one year ago, Portia de Moncur was born. January 21 will always be the day I became a writer. This journey has been so much more than I thought it would be. Maybe someday I'll write a real writing book. One that tells aspiring writers about the necessary evils of self-promotion; warns about the crazies that assume you are available for sexual advances because you write erotica and the time sucking phenomenon that is social media.
Most recently, I've spent the past weeks stuck in a fog that took writer's block to a dark, nasty place. All my WIPs seemed superficial and predictable. No characters were speaking to me. The voices in my head had just stopped speaking and I was scared to death. Was this just a bad case of holiday blues, or was the flow gone for good? The more I worried, the less I wrote. The less I wrote, the more I worried.
I'd like to blame this lack of productivity on my muse quitting. I talk about my muse all the time, but my muse has a name, Laurent. He was the first person, outside of my family, who made me believe I could actually write a story that someone would lay down hard earned cash to read. He was who I bounced story ideas off, sent my first drafts to, and who I looked for unconditional support. And then one day he was gone. The little green light dot across the bottom of my screen just stopped coming on. In the blink of an eye, I was alone on this journey. Or at least that was how I felt. To say I panicked is putting it mildly. I just stopped writing. I didn't want it any more. No Muse...No voices.
Now you see why I'm a writer. I do melodrama better than most people you will ever meet. It took me a couple of months to break out of that funk. Months where I started another blog, Chocolicious Reviews, dedicated to steamy romantic book reviews. If I didn't have what it took to write books, maybe I could hang around the writing fringe as a reviewer. I am an Aquarius, I can tell anyone how to do themselves better. (smile)
That site is still sitting waiting for me to post my first review. I am amazed daily at the poor writing some authors are willing to throw into cyberspace. I've read groups of words I can't even call stories because they shared no common purpose. I've read stories with plots so predictable my 4 year old could tell you what was coming next. Plots so bizarre, I'm still trying to wrap my head around them. Subplots that lost themselves within a larger plot and never found their happy ending. Authors with egos so grossly out of proportion with their skill set, the only way to describe them is clinically deluded.
Many earth based religions profess that nothing happens by accident. I believe in that truth. I needed the months of seeming silence within my head to find my unique literary voice. In addition to reading all those terrible books, I read and took apart the works of my favorite writers. James Patterson, Kate Pearce, Cynthia Eden all were reduced to 3x5 index cards as I learned to plot, plan and characterize. I discovered Maya Banks, Shelli Stevens, and Karen Erickson. I saved clips of people I wanted to know better. Printed out lyrics of songs that caused stories to pop into my head. I listened to people talk and stole dialogue that resonated with me. Without my noticing, I was getting my mojo back.
In the past 5 days, I've written 7823 words. If I wasn't trying to be more consistent with the running of my household I'm sure that number would be doubled. I go to sleep thinking about my characters and wake up with new ideas on how to tell their stories. I'm not agonizing on how to set up scenes. The words on the paper are matching the pictures in my head. Sure, I'm going to lose some of those brilliant words to the editing floor, but I know my WIP good. Mind you, my muse is still MIA, so I only have my humble opinion that my words are hot. I'm banking on the fact that delusions are not contagious, else I am in serious trouble.
Finally, I want to break from my usual post and thank a few people who have been in my corner every minute of the last year.
To all the published authors who have offered me both friendship and encouragement via FB, Twitter, Goodread here on my blog...thank you.
To the members of the Writer's Block who have chosen be join my merry band of wordsmith...you guys make me better, thank you.
Steve: Thank you for reading my stories even when I link up body parts you think are an abomination. I have 20 more weeks of unemployement so don't look for me to look for a job for 19 more weeks.
Frenchie: Thank you for reminding me I'm not too old to think dirty.
Wycliff: Thank you for giving me a behind the scene glimpse into the workings of a gentleman player.
Tommy: If you knew what your mama was writing you would have a fit, but thank you for asking for my word count at the end of everyday. And being proud of me even on days when I don't write a word.
Tatia: Thanks for always keeping a fine point pen hidden for me.
Gina, Judy and Raquel: Thanks for ALWAYS believing.