Friday, January 22, 2021

Starting over...with a little wisdom

 One of my favorite quotes of all time is from the amazeballs Maya Angelou, and I repeat it to myself often. 

Never has this thought been so profound in my writing life as it is right now.

When I started writing as a child I wrote like a, well, child. My short stories were a series of "and then his happened-s,"  run on sentences, and prose packed with adverbs, flowery descriptions and analogies that had no real comparatory basis behind them. My fiction read more like a diary entry than actual crafted story telling. But I found great joy in the writing.

My graduate thesis was written from a scientific methodology viewpoint, and reads like the driest medical tome ever penned. Facts, figures, graphs, statistics. Boring with a capital BORING. But I loved writing it.

As I began writing non-fiction articles on motherhood and the life of a 30-something for magazines after I had my daughter, I wrote with an easy, I'm-just-talking-to-you-over-coffee style. Nothing craft-heavy at all, no real plot or story structure, just a simple imparting of info laced with humor and self deprecating insights. Writing these articles was a labor of love that made me feel lighter and more confident with myself as a new mother and a woman trying to navigate through a crazy world.

Even blog writing, which is more of a conversation with me in the driver's seat brings me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. I can pop a blog post out in less than a half hour most days, never have to edit it for content - only spelling mistakes - and then hit post without worry. Love that!

When I first began writing fiction in my 50's I knew nothing about plot, structure, conflict, subplot, sub-text, or character motivation. I simply had a story in my head and wanted to get it on paper. I look at my debut romance novel, SKATER'S WALTZ from The Wild Rose Press, now and think, yeah, it was a decent story...but really could have been better. But I wrote that book with such joy in my heart during a time in my life that was very challenging. The sense of accomplishment and utter jubilation that it was actually published was a top ten event in my life.

Now that I write romantic fiction in a few sub-genres - RomCom, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense lite - I have to write in a way that brings the reader into the story, gets them hooked on the characters, and that leaves them at the end of the book satisfied and wanting more from me. I have an obligation to the reader to present a satisfying product to them.

No easy feat, this, and one which - daily - gives me agita! I've gotten too worried  this past year about selling books, marketing, and learning new digital ways to publish just to get my books in front of people that I've lost my way a little in the writing from my heart department. The joy just hasn't been there and I think it's shown in my writing.

So, after close to 30 books published, I've decided to do something that sounds a bit crazy, and, in all honesty, probably is.

I'm starting over. 

See? Crazy.

What it really means is that I'm going back to basics, armed with the wisdom I've managed to gather these past 5 years since I was first published. Readers want a story that they can tell the author just loved writing. They want to fall in love with the hero and heroine much the same way the characters fell in love with one another, and that the writer did as well as she was bringing them to life.

I want that, too.

Those are the books I want to read, the stories I want to fill my soul. 

They are also the stories I want to write.

So, with age and experience, comes wisdom and I am taking that wisdom into 2021 and writing my heart out. I've got a list of books that will be written and released this year, some traditionally published and several new indie releases as well. I'm not worrying about marketing, sales, getting on bestseller lists, or even winning any awards this year.

What I am going to do is simply write my heart out because that's what makes me happy. And I know when I'm happy, my readers are, too.

See? I know better I'm going to do better.

Looking for me? Here I am: 

Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Amazon Author  // Website/blog 


Liz Flaherty said...

As long as you can keep the happy, it's all good, isn't it? Nice post, Peggy!

Kara O'Neal said...

Putting your heart on the page...yes! I need to remember this.


I need to remember this as well.

Roni Denholtz said...

We wall need to capture the fun in writing. I think if we simply spit out words, readers can tell. We want our works to shine with sincerity. Of course some parts come easier than others--but we need to enjoy our stories if we want our readers to, too.

Jan Sikes said...

I love this, Peggy. Going back to what brings you joy is the perfect way to start 2021. And the readers will respond because when it comes from the heart, they feel it! Best wishes!

Bonnie Edwards said...

A great post Peggy. And i agree about what readers enjoy. they want to read something we’ve loved writing, because it shows.

Sadira Stone said...

It's so important not to forget the joy of writing that motivated us in the first place!

Mary Morgan said...

Interesting, Peggy. It's exactly what I am doing for 2021. I only published ONE book last year. Yet it was extremely successful. I took that illuminating message and decided not to worry about the marketing, awards, contests, or how many books to write. The stories are all there and shall come forth. Once again, writing took center stage. My readers became my focus. And enjoying life, as well. My muse has returned in force.

Wishing you continued success, my friend!

Diana McCollum said...

Love the quote! Certainly a quote to apply to life and writing. Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us.

Judith Ashley said...

Peggy, I totally agree that readers can tell when we are just putting words together no matter how eloquently if our heart isn't in it. Good for you!

Tena Stetler said...

Yep great post Peggy. Pretty much what I’m doing in 2021. Keep the heart in my writing and my readers coming back for more. Promo is a necessary evil but sometimes less is more.

peggy jaeger said...

thank you all for your kind words!!! I wanted to reply to each of you individually, but time has gotten away from me today. Please know how much I appreciated your kindness and support - ALWAYS!!!!

Marcia King-Gamble said...

When we know better we do better. Words to live by. Keep writing those wonderful stories and your readers will buy

Maggie Lynch said...

Writing from the heart always creates the best stories. It is a rough road to focus exclusively on the business side. It is particularly easy to get caught up in the making more money part when your writing is an income you really need to grow. I'm not sure what the balance is, but I do know if writing doesn't bring you joy then it's unlikely you will want to do it.

Sounds like you have your head and heart together, so that 2021 should be much more creative for you.

peggy jaeger said...

Maggie - thank you!

Deb N said...

Way behind on blog reading, Peggy - but well said! Just finished your first Dirty Damsels story - and yes, it had a TON of heart :-)

peggy jaeger said...

Oh, DebN = thanks so much, sweetie