Everybody Needs a Writing Conscience

So while A Little Bit of Spice is visiting the editor, I have begun work on the next book, the first in a series of I haven’t decided how many yet. Let me tell you how that came about (not the series, the starting of the next novel already, which is very unlike me).

I have a writer friend. Well, I have many writer friends, but I have one who is kind of my writing conscience and I’m hers. By writing conscience, I mean that I kick her ass when she’s screwing around on Facebook instead of writing, and she kicks mine when I whine about how I “just don’t feel like writing today.” We try hard not to let the other get away with lame excuses or laziness that prevents us from doing our jobs: writing romance novels. We are good for each other and we’re good for one another’s careers. Every writer could benefit from a Writing Conscience.

Now, I do not enjoy being between books. I feel lost, like I’m floundering, walking aimlessly through a field of nothing. It stresses me out and makes me cranky. I get unnecessarily snippy. I don’t want to do anything. I am not fun to be around. But I wasn’t ready to begin the new book yet–or so I thought–because I had little-to-none of it mapped out. My Writing Conscience said this: “You know what I do when I feel like that? I start writing.”

Well, that’s just silly, thought Georgia with a scoff. How can I possibly begin writing without a plan in place? I am not a pantster. I am a planner. Everybody knows that. Why would you even suggest something so ridiculously out of my comfort zone? Have you even met me?

But I was tired of feeling untethered and snapping at Bonnie for no reason and watching too much bad television, so I followed the advice of Writing Conscience. I began to write. And I kept writing. And it has worked surprisingly well (which I hesitate to admit, as Writing Conscience will then have an excuse to say ‘I told you so.’). I can’t say that I like it, because I am not used to sitting down at the computer and having absolutely no idea what I will write today, but I can say that I’ve written more than 7,000 words so far with little more than character names and occupations chosen ahead of time. It’s been a pleasant surprise. We’ll see how far I can get before panic sets in. If I throw myself out my own window, you’ll know why.

I guess the moral of this story is this: don’t be afraid to try something new with your writing or even your writing routine. Variety is the spice of life, isn’t that what they say? You might surprise yourself. I did.

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Elaine Burnes

I thought I was going to be a one-book writer (and it’s not even out yet), but then an idea that had been composting decided to ripen (not sure that’s the right analogy). I’m trying to be a Planner, but not sure that’s going to work out yet (I need names! I need places! I need…!) So I like your idea of just writing. Thanks!

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