Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Putting the FUN back into dysfunctional

Monkey typewriter Years ago, when I was an unhappy, unpublished writer there was one thing I truly enjoyed doing:  writing.

I kept gathering rejection slips by the hundreds, but I knew I had it in me to be published and I kept trying (and crying).  I'm nothing if not stubborn.

Mad_scientist The great thing about being unpublished was that I could experiment.  When my Jeff Resnick series was gathering dust on the shelves I decided to try writing cozy mysteries.  While they were gathering dust on the shelves, I decided to try short stories.  They sold!  (I've still got a copy of the first check hanging on the wall over my computer.  $20 for a short story I called Valentine's Day.  It's now called Are You Lonely Tonight and it's available on Kindle, Nook, etc.)  I tried my hand at women's fiction (not very successful -- 14 chapters in, I decided to abandon it.  Why?  It kept trying to be a cozy mystery).  But the thing was, all this experimentation was FUN.

Then I sold.  Yea!  Bells rang, champagne corks popped, and confetti fell.  And suddenly I had deadlines.  And even worse, I had to spend a LOT of time promoting the books.  Promotion seemed to consume my entire life. And it never stopped, because I was building a brand.  Well, three brands:  Lorna Barrett, L.L. Bartlett and Lorraine Bartlett.  Let me tell you, it became absolutely EXHAUSTING.

Now that Sentenced to Death is out, I've got an entire seven months without promotion.  What an opportunity.  I suddenly have time on my hands to do something else.  And what I've chosen to do is WRITE.  I'm currently juggling four writing projects (with two more on the back burner).  I've got ideas for two more cozy mystery series (should I ever have time to write them).  Without the constant pressure of promotion hanging over my head for a period of time, I've got time to sit down and get back to something I love to do.  Write for myself not just a deadline.

AND I LOVE IT.

Woman_juggling I feel like a juggler.  Here's one day's schedule:  Get up read/answer email.  Fix breakfast for husband and hungry cats.  Work on short story until 10 a.m. At 10, I switch over to the laptop and work on the special project until noon.  Eat lunch.  At 12:30 I switch over to the 3rd Victoria square Mystery.  Yesterday I exceeded all my expectations by making my 1250 word "minimum" requirement on two of the three projects.  (And I did 1121 words on the other.)

I can't keep that pace up.  For one thing, real life rears its ugly head.  I have errands to do today, and tomorrow Mr. L needs my help on an all-day project. It's a holiday weekend and I intend to paint my office during that time.  (Have been putting that off for months.)  So look out Monday, because I'm jumping back into writing . . . which has suddenly become fun and exciting once again.  (And as a writer, I don't feel so dysfunctional because I've recaptured the love of writing once again.)

All I can say is "Yee-ha!"
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