Book Club, FAQs, Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

Writing Q & A Part 1

black and white business career close up

Since I’ve been writing, there are certain questions I get asked on a regular basis. I decided to feature them in a blog post along with my answers. I titled this Part 1, because there are other questions I’d like to feature, and I know there will be more along the way. Enjoy!

Side note: If you’re reading this and you see a question here that you have asked me, please know I’m not singling anyone out, I’m just featuring commonly asked questions… along with a few silly ones!
How do you come up with your stories?
I wish there was a clear, concise answer to this. I have an overactive imagination, so a lot of the time something will catch my attention. It can be a person, it can be a shiny object, it can be a pretty autumn leaf on the ground. Whatever it is, my mind will focus on it, then my imagination starts running wild and usually a story is formed from that. Other times I see vignettes in my mind, kind of like a movie. A lot of those images just pass through, but the ones that reoccur are the ones I pay attention to, and the ones I start to write.
How do you name your characters?
Sometimes I use a name that I love, like Alexandra. Sometimes, I see a character and I have no idea what to name them. A book of baby names comes in handy for this. Other times, the names come to me like the story lines do. I know this sounds crazy, and please don’t think I need a mental health evaluation, but sometimes a character will introduce themselves to me, and tell me their name. This happened to me with my current work in progress. You’ll meet her later this year!
Is Slater Heart named after A.C. Slater from that old TV show Saved by The Bell?
Um… that’s a hard no. Never even crossed my mind. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’m asked that. I don’t like that question, it actually kind of irritates me.
Then, how did you come up with the name Slater Heart?
I knew that Slater’s character would have a unique name. If you’ve read Set It Free, Slater tells Alexandra that his family has a tradition of making last names into middle names. So, Slater is his middle name. I think I was watching an interview on The Today Show with actor Christian Slater and I thought his last name would be a very cool name for a rock star. He didn’t inspire anything beyond the name.
You dedicated Set It Free to Axl Rose. So, you’ve met him? That’s why you dedicated it to him?
Yup, we’re besties… we go way back… Did you detect a hint of sarcasm? Ha ha! No, I have not met him. I dedicated the book to him because he was a huge inspiration to me while I was writing the series. I’ve started writing projects in the past and I’ve never finished them. I finished this one, and I wanted to thank him for that. That’s all.
Do you want to meet him?
At first, I thought, yes. My goal was to get my book into his hands and say thank you for the inspiration. Now, I’d love to know that he received a copy of my book and my thanks, but honestly, if I never meet him, I’m ok with that. That one is hard to explain but I get asked that frequently, so that’s my answer.
Do you put people you know in your stories?
Sometimes, and sometimes they’re good characters and sometimes they’re not. If you’ve read Let It Go, you might remember a part where Alexandra and Mona talk about 2 makeup artists they’re not very fond of. Those gossipy characters are 2 people I used to work with. No, their names have not been changed. Yes, they were that awful. Sorry, not sorry.
What if they read it and see that?
I’d like to introduce them to a friend of mine named, Karma.
Do you use real life situations in your stories?
To a certain extent. There have been many real life situations that have inspired parts of my books, but a lot of them come from my imagination.
You have some steamy content in your books. What’s it like to write a sex scene?
I get asked this a lot. A LOT! It’s challenging, that’s for sure. Sometimes it feels voyeuristic, like I’m spying on them. It can be a little uncomfortable, but I think it’s part of a romance novel that’s important, so I have to get past any reservations I have and write their story… steamy content, and all.
Are any of those steamy moments from personal experience?
I get asked this one quite often, too. My answer… you’ll never know.
Why is it taking so long to get your next book published?
The writing/editing process is a long one. The manuscript goes back and forth between me and my editors several times. Editing is very tedious, and I’m so thankful for my editors, even though I’m usually cussing them out during revisions! After editing comes formatting, then it’s off to the publisher. The cost of self-publishing is not inexpensive, so that’s a factor, as well. The more books I sell, the more money I make, so spread the word and tell your friends to buy my books, so they can get published faster!
You talk about reviews all the time. Are they really that important?
Yes, they are. Not only do they mean the world to me that someone takes the time to leave a positive review, but the more reviews I have, the more exposure I’ll get, which results in more book sales. If you’ve left me a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Google, social media, etc. I am forever grateful. If you have not left a review yet, please do. It truly means so much to me!

There you have it! If you have a question about my writing process, or a personal question for me, reply to this post, or leave me a message/comment on social media. I’m on Instagram as brookegillespietroutauthor or on my Facebook page, Brooke’s Books.

Book Club, Newsletter, Novel, Published Author, Writing, Writing about sex

Don’t Let Pinterest Get You Down

Pinterest

“How to develop strong characters.” “The 5 most important things your novel needs.” “Sex in romance, why it’s necessary.” “Sex in romance, why it shouldn’t be gratuitous.” “Dialogue; why it’s so important to keep it real.” “Dialogue; why it’s important to keep it to a minimum.”

If you’re a writer and you’re anything like me, you probably stumble upon numerous articles like this on Pinterest. While I love Pinterest for a variety of things… awesome shots of a young Axl Rose… (He inspired the main man in my romance series. You can buy that here.) Piercing images of Ian Somerhalder’s eyes… (He inspired the main man in my new romance novel I’m working on. It’s not available yet, but in the meantime, check out my first book!) Mouth watering Mediterranean recipes I’m probably never going to try… and articles on the rules of writing that keep you obsessed for hours/days/weeks. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great tips out there and some of the articles have really useful information. But some of them leave my head spinning and I realize it’s time to climb out of the rabbit hole and just get to work.

Newspaper

One of the articles that stands out is a piece on sex in writing and why it shouldn’t be gratuitous, even in a romance. Scroll down half and inch and all of your Pinterest suggestions refresh, and one will catch your eye claiming that sex is a MUST in romance. Today I stumbled across one telling me how important dialogue is in a novel… you guessed it… halfway down that newsfeed there was another article chastising dialogue and insisted that it should be kept brief. What the heck? What if dialogue is one of your strongest points? A lot of my readers have told me that they love the conversations with my characters and suddenly I’m reading from an “expert” that those conversations are fluff. Well, who is this “expert” anyway? Who are these faceless people that have put rules on everything I find fun about writing? I love documenting a conversation with my characters, even if it includes mundane small talk. Why? Because that’s what makes it real!! That’s what makes the reader relate to what they’re doing, what they’re saying, and how they’re feeling in a situation that someone can identify with. And how can an “expert” claim that dialogue should be kept brief when movies are nothing but dialogue and I can see my stories come to life as a movie?!?!

SteamyAnd let’s talk about the gratuitous sex! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Sex is important in a romance novel. No way in hell did I ever pick up a bodice ripper when I was a teenager because I wanted a history lesson! I wanted steam. I wanted situations that made me look over my shoulder to insure that no one could see what I was reading. I wanted Sidney Sheldon content, I wanted Johanna Lyndsey love, I wanted Jackie Collins scandal!! Why? Because I wanted to escape, and I want my readers to escape! Into a world of characters that while exciting and different from their own lives, is still normal with conversations, every day activities, and of course, with personal bedroom moments.

So, thank you Pinterest for all of your suggestions… ALL OF THEM… goodness, there are so many. There are so many opinions out there on what makes a good book and they’re all conflicting. My advice to fellow writers is this… WRITE! Ignore what those articles say you can and can’t do and do whatever the hell you want. Do it for yourself. Your audience will find you. In the meantime, enjoy Pinterest for stalking your celebrity crush and might I suggest getting lost in Ian Somerhalder’s eyes?? (Isn’t he dreamy? You’re welcome!)

Thank you for reading my rant on writing articles. I’d love it if you’d subscribe to this blog. I’d also love it if you read my book! Thanks for stopping by! I have to go write!

Job Interview, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

The Wrong Job

I’ve been getting some questions lately about what’s going on in my personal life. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I post a good mix of motivation, inspiration, and funny with a dash of inappropriate. I’ll admit, lately I’ve been posting some ominous pictures about making the right decisions and taking a leap of faith. Today I posted one that was the cover of a children’s book with a train on it that says, “The Little Engine That Said Fuck It”. I am that little engine. Today I said, “Fuck it!” Today I quit my job.

the-little-engine-that-said-fuck-it

That’s not as dramatic as it sounds, because I’ve given my 2 week notice, but I’m calling it quits a few days early.

Let me backtrack a little…about 5 months ago, a friend of mine reached out to me and offered me a job working with her. I’ve known her since elementary school. We didn’t really keep in touch over the years, but we connected on Facebook and once I moved to Nevada, we got back in touch since she lives here, too. At first, it seemed like it was the perfect job. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but it sure beat sitting at a desk and answering phones all day. At least I thought it did.

Hate work   Spreadsheets

3 months into the job, I started to realize it was not the right fit for me. I was working with my strengths and trying to make the most of it, but I realized it was a very analytical job full of numbers, spreadsheets, and data. Definitely not the right job for someone who’s creative and writes romance novels. I needed to get out. Not just for me, but for the good of the company, too. I knew I wasn’t the person for the job, so not only was it unfair to me to keep trudging along, it was unfair to the company. No business wants the wrong person in any position.

I wanted to be honest with this friend and let her know I wasn’t happy, when suddenly everything got turned upside down. She was let go from the company. I won’t get into why. Not just because she wouldn’t tell me specifics, but simply because this is not to bash her in any way. Something happened that shouldn’t have happened and she lost her job because of it. I felt bad for her, but then I started to feel really bad for me! With her no longer there as my manager, it became clear how much there was to the position that I didn’t know. I spent 2 days with a different manager and he really showed me what it was all about. By the end of that 2nd day, I knew without a doubt, I had to get out!

adorable animal berner sennen bernese mountain dog

I had 2 interviews with one company under my belt. That Friday when I got home after the 2nd day of training, they called me for a 3rd interview. I didn’t take this 3rd interview request as a done deal, but it was a good start. I also had a plan B. So, I took a leap of faith and put in my 2 week notice. But, once I gave my notice I couldn’t shake the nerves. Even when my duties went from basic administrative tasks to pretty much mailing it in because I was doing next to nothing, I was still sick to my stomach. I told my husband it was time to quit. He countered that I only had 2 days left, so why not coast along and at least get paid for the full week. When I told him the healthiest thing for me was to completely disconnect, he said he understood. But it felt like he didn’t. I know how his brain works. He’s always in manager-mode and he’s very analytical.

Some of you might not even understand. I mean, what’s 2 days? Isn’t that simple? Not to me. To me it’s come at the cost of the worst, crippling anxiety I’ve ever experienced. It’s cost me sleepless nights, bad dreams, physical pain, etc. I haven’t even had the creativity to write because it’s sucked the motivation out of me. That’s a huge price that’s worth more to me than a couple hundred dollars. And I’ve reached a point in my life where I need to do what’s best for me. I can’t say I have to do it for him, or for my family, because I have to put myself first in order to be the best I can be for them.

love romantic bath candlelight

What I’ve learned from this is that no job should ever make you feel this way. The only time a situation is allowed to panic you on that level, is when it means everything to you. My writing panics me and even though I hate feeling that way, I’m ok with it, simply because I know how much it means to me. But a job that’s just a job? No way.

The funny thing is, halfway through my morning of drafting my resignation email and finally being able to take deep breaths, one of the managers called me and told me he was getting my computer and phone from me because he needed it to start training the new person. The timing was perfect and I told him that’s fine, I’m leaving today anyway. It was done. I could really breathe.

person standing on boardwalk

You might be wondering what came of the 3rd interview. The next day they called and offered me the job. It’s a position that suits me so much better! You also might be wondering what was Plan B? It was anything. I was prepared to flip burgers, or work retail since the holiday are right around the corner.

It’s amazing how much this job sucked my energy and drive to write. Even when I gave my notice, I still couldn’t find the motivation. But, guess what? You’re reading this…so that means it’s back.

white and red plastic heart balloon on sky during daytime

 

Thanks for stopping by!
Brooke

Book Club, Newsletter, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

October Newsletter

The

Babbling Brooke

close up of tree against sky

 

Hello everyone and welcome to my first newsletter!! I’m still trying to iron out some details on my website, so for now I’m going to be posting my newsletter on my blog. I’ll keep updating as I can. Until I get things up and running, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Sorry for the delay!! 

Not too long ago, I asked for opinions on the title of my newsletter. As you can see by the header, I decided on The Babbling Brooke. I talk a lot…I always have. Because of that, this was a nickname many people called me through childhood and I’ve lived up to it!!

So, welcome to my newsletter! Stay tuned for monthly updates about Heart & Soul and sneak peeks into my world as a writer. I’ll keep you up to date on events and happenings, and of course, the status of the second book in the series. So, stay tuned and thanks for reading! 

autumn autumn colours autumn leaves beautiful

Happy Fall, Y’all!!
Sorry…couldn’t resist. Fall is my favorite time of year! Unfortunately, living in Nevada, I don’t get to experience fall the way I did in my childhood. I grew up in Denver, and nothing is more beautiful than to see those trees in the mountains change during this season. I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, but the foliage in Colorado during this time of the year is truly beautiful!
It does get nippy here in the desert, so at least I get to experience a temperature change.
I love to bake and cook and this is the season for soups, stews, and pumpkin spice everything! I love to make banana muffins, pumpkins scones, and loaded baked potato soup. Mmm…our home always smells so good when I make my favorites, and I love the joy it brings to my family. What are some of your favorite recipes?

Cover Final

Book Update:

Let It Go is the second book in the Heart & Soul series. It’s in the process of being edited and I hope to have it ready to go before the end of the year. Editing is such a lengthy process and it always seems to take longer than you hope it will. Progress is being made every day. The cover has been chosen and it’s amazing!

Check back for updates and a sneak peek at the cover art. It’s so good!!

I the meantime, I’m sharing my favorite quotes and moments from Let It Go, on Instagram. Check it out!

Excited for Let It Go, but haven’t read Set It Free? You can purchase your copy here.

close up of text

NEWS:

Romantically Inclined Reviews is a website that features everything romance! Heart & Soul, Set It Free, was recently reviewed. Please take a moment to read the kind review and while you’re there, take a look at the reviews for some steamy recommendations!

The holidays are right around the corner and it’s not too early to start shopping! Heart & Soul, Set It Free would make a lovely Christmas gift! I have a limited amount in my possession, but if you purchase from me, I will sign and personalize it to the recipient. Simply respond to this blog post, or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook to place your order. You can also order from Amazon or Book Baby. (Side note…you’ll probably get it faster directly from Book Baby. Amazon says they have some in stock, but sometimes that’s not accurate and can take forever if you want the printed version!)

Coming Soon

 

Coming Soon:

I’ll be doing a giveaway in the near future, so make sure to subscribe or follow me to stay in the know! 

That’s all for now! If you’ve read Heart & Soul, Set It Free, I would love to hear from you! If you haven’t, I would love to hear from you! I like to meet new people and hear about what books you love to read! 

Happy Reading!
Brooke

Book Club, Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

Book Club Questions

Book Club

If you belong to a book club, or you’re thinking of starting a book club, and just happen to be reading Heart & Soul, Set It Free, here are some book club questions I want to offer. If you have any suggestions for me to add to this list, please let me know!

If you’re reading Heart & Soul, Set It Free, I hope you’re enjoying it! Please tell your friends. And if this book is featured in your book club, please send me pictures!!

Here are the questions:

  1. What did you like best about this book?
  2. What did you like least about this book?
  3. What other books did this remind you of?
  4. What are your first impressions of Alexandra/Slater? Do you like her/him? Why/why not?
  5. Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone?
  6. If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?
  7. Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?
  8. Would you read the second book in the series? Why or why not?
  9. What feelings did this book evoke for you?
  10. What songs does this book make you think of? Create a book group playlist together!
  11. If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be? 
  12. Which character in the book would you most like to meet?
  13. What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents? What other title might you choose?
  14. What do you think of the book’s cover? How well does it convey what the book is about?
  15. How original and unique was this book?
  16. Did this book seem realistic?
  17. Did the book’s pace seem too fast/too slow/just right?
  18. Have your first impressions of the book changed? If so, how?

 

Please visit my website, brookegillespietrout.com for updates and sign up for my monthly newsletter!!!

Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

My Book Is Published!

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What an amazing feeling this is to finally hold my book in my hands! It’s been 4 years since I became inspired to write this story. In 4 years, I have written 3 books in the series and I’ve almost completed the 4th book. I’ve learned so much about myself in this process and I feel I’ve grown as a writer.

I’m excited to share this with the world now! Heart & Soul, Set It Free is available right now on Amazon as an eBook and a preorder for the printed copy. I do have a few copies in my possession, so if you would like to purchase directly from me, please reply to this post and let me know.

My website will be up and running soon and will feature content about the Heart & Soul series, a monthly newsletter, contests, and so much more!!

Novel, Self Publishing, Writing, Writing about sex

Is Your Book Steamy?

Book Heart

I’m starting to get a lot of questions about my book! Yippee, and thank you! If I’m just meeting someone and they hear about my writing, here is how the conversation typically goes:
“What is your book about?”
“It’s a romance,” I say with a smile.
“Ooh, a romance,” they say in a breathy voice. “Does that mean there’s lots of sex in there?”

I’m never quite sure how to answer that question. It gets me a little sidetracked when I haven’t gotten a chance to give a quick rundown of the story. But, it’s a valid question. I’m a fan of romance novels, and one of the guiltiest pleasures about a romance novel is, well, all the pleasure.
So, my answer to this question is: Yes, there is sex in my book. I’m not sure what’s classified as a lot of sex, but it’s there, it’s steamy and it’s gratuitous.

You’re forewarned, and you’re welcome!

Uncategorized, Unemployment, Workplace Drama, Writing

When You Want To Grow

TP

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been unemployed for about 2 1/2 months now. Some days it feels like it all happened yesterday, other days it feels like it was years ago. It’s crazy how it can be such a blur to me, yet still so many things stand out. The good things stand out. The friends I made, and the people I would enjoy seeing every day. And, of course, the bad things stand out. My unhappiness, the poor way the company was run, and the gossip. Oh, the gossip was the worst! I don’t miss that part, at all!

When I looked at the calendar today and noticed the date, I thought of a few things. First, 25 years ago today, my grandmother passed away. Amazing how the time goes by, but I’ll never forget April 11th for that reason. Also, it happened to be Easter Sunday that day, so that makes the date stand out, as well. 2 years ago today, I started my job at That Place…I’ll refer to it that way from now on. Within the first month, I knew it wasn’t the job for me, but I had living expenses, so I dug in and I did it with a smile every day…well, not every day, I’m not perfect. 1 year ago today, I sat down with HR and told them being in my position for a year, I felt confident that I was ready to grow and move forward, and by moving forward, I meant moving out of my position, and of course, making more money. I left that meeting on a high since the HR manager agreed with me and made suggestions of areas where she thought I would be a good fit. 2 weeks later, my high became a low when she sat me down and told me she had spoken with “The Family”…aka the owners of the company. The conversation went a little something like this:
She said, “They like you where you are.”
“Does that mean I’m not doing a good job, and they don’t see that I have potential?” I asked.
“Oh, no,” she smiled, trying to reassure me. “It means you’re very good at what you do, so this is where you’ll stay.”
“Wait, what, huh?” I stammered through my response. “You mean they don’t want me to grow?”
“I’m sorry,” she said, shaking her head with pity.
“Seriously? Does that mean I won’t ever have an increase in pay?”
“Not at this time. I’m sorry. How do you feel?”
If I had told her how I really felt, I would have been fired on the spot. Who doesn’t want their employees to grow? It put me in mind of my time at Sephora. For makeup junkies like myself, it sounds like a dream job, right? At first, it was. It didn’t pay the best, but it fed my addiction with free products. About 6 months into my time there, I told the store manager I wanted to move into skincare. I thought she would be thrilled given the fact that, at that time, I had nearly 15 years of experience in the beauty industry. Halfway through my pitch to her about my deep knowledge of skincare and why I’d be a great addition to that team, she shook her head and very loudly said, “No. I’m sorry Brooke. You’re so good with the customers and ringing people up quickly, I can’t lose you there.”
Needless to say, my time at Sephora was short-lived after that. Not only was I told I couldn’t move forward, but it was retail during Christmas…at Park Meadows Mall. (My Colorado friends will totally understand that!)
I really wish my time at That Place would have been short-lived after I was told I’d never move up, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but even with numerous interviews under my belt, I wasn’t successful at finding a new job, and it just wasn’t possible to walk away from it. I have a family to feed!
Losing my job in January was truly the best thing that could happen. At first I felt elation, but that “up” was quickly followed by a “down”. I didn’t know what to do with myself with all this free time. Sure, the house could be cleaned, or I could jump into an intense fitness regime, but I haven’t done that. I’m writing, so there’s my blessing. I love to write! (Debut novel will be released soon…come on, had to do the shameless plug! Follow me on Instagram for updates!)
I’m getting better at meditating and praying, and I’m opening myself to accepting new possibilities. As I write this, there is very good potential for a new possibility, but that’s all I’ll say for now. I don’t want to announce anything until I have a firm offer.

I can’t be the only one who’s felt stifled at a job. I want to hear from you! Have you been in a position where you’ve been ready to grow, but your employer wouldn’t let you? I look forward to your response!

Novel, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

Book Update

Cover Final

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that this week was a big week for me. If you don’t follow me, please do, just click on the links above!

Why was this a big week? Well, I sent my first novel off to the publisher! So, actually it’s not just a big week, it’s a major week. These screen shots made me smile a lot:

Book Baby

ISBN

Files downloaded, and ISBN numbers for both the printed book and the Ebook. I can’t tell you how giddy I am that I have an ISBN number!!!

This has been such an emotional process. I had a conversation with a friend this morning, and she confirmed what I’ve felt all along. She said it’s very much like parenting. So much love, time and effort goes into a project like this. Now that it’s complete, all I can do is watch it graduate and succeed with nothing but love and encouragement along the way.

It’s been 4 years. Yup, 4 years since I first had this tickle of a story and now I’m putting it out there into the world, and I’m ready to share it with you! If you’re wondering why it took 4 years, I can’t blame you. That sounds like an awfully long time to bring one book to life. It is a long time, but considering the fact that my characters basically became family members, it seems like just yesterday that they introduced themselves to me. I’ll share this process and how it came about in a future post.

In that 4 years, I’ve outlined 10 books in the series, written the first 3 novels and I’m halfway through the 4th book. Book 1, Heart & Soul – Set It Free, has been written, rewritten, edited, revised, edited, proofed, edited and revised…probably not in that order, but you get the gist. So much love has gone into this project. The series is aptly titled Heart & Soul and I’ve certainly put my heart and soul into it.

I went the route of self-publishing. My next step is to be traditionally published, but I felt the pull to self-publish my first book because I wanted to be there every single step of the way. I’ve learned a lot, and I can’t take credit for all of it; I’ve had some amazing help along the way.

So, what’s next? Well, it will take about a week for my book to be available as an Ebook, and the printed copies will be in my hands in about 3-4 weeks. By the end of this month, I can officially say I’m a published author! And that, my friends, is a major dream come true!

Stay tuned as I post updates on how you can get a copy! And if you have any questions, or want to be kept in the loop, please comment on this post, or follow me, and you’ll be in the know!

Thanks for reading, thanks for following and thank you for all your support, it’s meant the world to me!!

Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing

Writer’s Block or Unmotivated?

pexels-photo-267684.jpeg

Currently, I’m working on self-publishing my first book and I’m in the process of writing additional books that are included in the series.
Writer’s Block is something we’ve all heard of. You’re stuck. You don’t know where to go with the story. The characters aren’t doing what you want them to do.
I’ve experienced this and though it’s never fun, it is very real. But, sometimes I wonder, is it writer’s block, or am I just unmotivated?
The reason I wonder this is because when I’m not writing, it’s not because I don’t know what happens next in the story, or what the characters need me to write, it’s because sometimes I simply want to be lazy. But recently that laziness has been earned.

As I mentioned, I’m getting ready to self-publish my first book. As I’m putting the finishing touches on that, I delved into an intense edit of my second book. On top of all that, I recently lost my job.
Minus the money factor (that damn money!), I’ve loved being home and having the freedom to write all day. As soon as the layoff happened, I jumped in on the edit and gave it my all. My editor was loving my motivation. She wanted to read the book first to get a feel of the story and where it goes before she took the reigns and had fun with her red pen. (She really loves her red pen, by the way.) It’s very motivating to have someone reading your work as you go along. It really pushes me to finish.
Well, I finished my edit of my second book, although it’s nowhere near ready, there will be so much more work on the horizon. And I handed off my first book to be formatted to print, so what was I to do? It’s not like I don’t have plenty to keep me busy, but once I reached a stopping point and I actually stopped, I realized something:
I’m exhausted!

Writing is extremely emotional. I’ll sit here with my fingers flying over the keys and tears streaming down my face at times. Other times I have a scowl in place because I’m angry at the situation that’s being created, or I’ll giggle like a loon and make my family wonder if I need a mental evaluation. But, something I don’t think people take into consideration is how taxing it can be. I certainly never knew!

I have to feel good when I’m writing. If I’m bored and trudging through a chapter, I believe that will come across when someone reads it. The flow of the story has to be there, the emotion from the characters has to be there, even if it’s a simple moment of sharing coffee in the morning. One of my favorite writing quotes is, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” I love that quote and believe it to be true. If it touches me, it will touch the reader. If it bores me, it will bore the reader.

Sometimes I need a day or two, sometimes more. But this was turning into weeks. Weeks of me staring at a chapter and changing a word here and there, then justifying my time with playing Bejeweled or My Vegas Slots on Facebook, claiming that would clear my mind.

Since I’ve started writing, I’ve always lived by this rule: Ass in chair – write. Sometimes when I do this my writing resembles that scene from the movie Misery where he’s trapped with a psycho fan and he can’t get away:

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, wrote Paul Sheldon as he emoted his frustration at being held captive by Annie Wilkes. I get it, Paul. I totally get it. (Sidebar, I love this movie and must watch it again soon!)

I start to freak out when I take breaks. I worry that my creativity is gone forever (I’m really good at worrying), I get frustrated with myself, I let my brain become inundated with every single doubt I’m sure every single writer has ever had.

So, what did I do to try to get my mojo back?

  • I started to read a book, but that didn’t help. When I get in these droughts, all I do is compare my writing to other writers and nothing good comes from that.
  • I got out of the house. Since I’ve been unemployed, I’ve become reclusive and it’s not always a good thing. Getting out of the house helps clear the mind.
  • I worked out. The treadmill does wonders for helping me find the words I’m looking for.
  • I drank wine. A lot of it. Another quote I love: “Write drunk, edit sober.” I’ve written some of my best stuff tipsy. (Not all of it, so don’t judge!)
  • I took a walk with my daughter.
  • I talked about it. Endlessly. To both of my daughters and my husband. I emailed my woes to a friend of mine. They all assured me I would find it.
  • I giggled. A lot. My oldest daughter has Fridays off from college. This past Friday, she and I walked to the store, made lunch together and laughed about everything and nothing. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
  • I finally sat my butt down and wrote.
  • And wrote and wrote and wrote.

Just like everyone told me it would, and like I believed deep down in my heart, my mojo came back.

I realize I never answered the question: was it writer’s block or was I unmotivated? It could have been either one, so I honestly don’t know. What I do know is, it’s OK to take a break. As I’m learning along this crazy road, some of these breaks are going to take longer than others. This was a long one. I didn’t like it, but it’s over. Eventually I found the words and the rhythm of the story again and wondered why they were ever lost.

Now I have to stop rambling and get back to writing, I have characters waiting for me to finish their chapter!