Today is the first day of my new blogging schedule and format. Wish me luck. You know how fickle I am. A new mantra:
Make a plan.
Take the stand.
Stay. On. Track.
Please hold while I repeat that three times.
(insert any Barry Manilow ballad)
Okay. I’m back.
I recently asked if there was anything you wanted to know about me or my writing process.
Roni wrote: “I'd like to hear more about how you balance writing more than one kind of romance (contemporary humorous with suspense and westerns).”
Beth says: "It ain’t easy."
My first western was a labor of love. It was my first attempt at writing a novel, the story of my heart. I wrote and rewrote--what became LASSO THE MOON--over a span of ten years before it finally sold. When I pitched the idea of two more westerns to Medallion Press, I was riding high on the rush of seeing my labor of love born. I thoroughly enjoyed revising and polishing LTM. I absolutely adored the characters and the time period. Secondary characters screamed, “Tell my story!” And to my delight, Medallion responded, “Tell away!”
As it happens I had just sold three contemporaries (the Evie series) to HQN. How fabulous! One of my long term goals—writing two different sub-genres for two different publishers—became reality in the blink of an eye! Previously, I had written three contemporaries back to back for Medallion with eighteen months. So I thought, no problem. I can do this. Six months to write each book. Alternating deadlines. Contemporary. Historical Western. Contemporary. And so forth.
What I didn’t take into consideration were the overlapping production deadlines (because I’d never had those) and promoting one book while writing another. In addition, I had had years to research the historical aspects of my first western, not a few scant months. Nor did I factor in the time it would take for me to shift my mindset from that of contemporary to historical or the fact that one series is in first person and the other in third.
Most importantly, for me, the characters and ‘their world’ have to click before I can get in the groove and rock creatively.
Period of adjustment.
It appears I need at least one month to stew and tinker and shift gears from one time period, one sub-genre, to another. In reality, between various production deadlines, promoting upcoming/new releases, and shifting mindset gears, six months to research and write a book turned into 3-4 months. Depending on your level of writing speed and style, this could be a challenge. It is for me. I’m doing it. But it ain’t easy.
In hindsight it would have been easier to write the westerns back-to-back and the contemporaries back-to-back. I’d already be in that groove I mentioned. But that didn’t fit my career plan. I listened to my business instinct and I went for it. I’m not sorry. I’m writing stories I love. I’m published by two terrific publishers. But this stressful process and consistent time crunch has caused me to reevaluate my career plan. I need to slow down or narrow my focus. Bottom line: I can’t create if I burn out.
If you want to write in two (or more) sub-genres the trick is factoring in all of the things I mentioned earlier on. I tripped upon a fabulous article by author Julie Kenner pertaining to this very subject—Juggling Books and Publishers. Click here to read. Even though I’ve already read it, I’m right behind you.