It's 6:30 in the morning and I've been up since 4 a.m., working on Chapter 28. I'm still in my pajamas, but within the next ten minutes, I'll be getting dressed to start my morning commute to the "day job." That's the thing about writers. Most of us have "day jobs." Among romance authors, you'll find tax specialists, language forensics experts (that's a cool career choice, huh?), archaeologists, administrative assistants, teachers, lawyers, nurses, clerks, and probably circus acrobats if you look hard enough. Some romance authors are even (gasp!) male. Very few of us are independently wealthy. We don't write for the money. For every EL James and "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon, there are thousands of writers whose royalty checks wouldn't buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Those multi-million dollar advances you read about? Are as rare as lottery winners. That's why they make the news.
For the rest of us, writing isn't about celebrity. You won't see us interviewed on the "Today" show. When we do a booksigning, we're lucky if we can get our own mothers to show up and buy a book. Hollywood isn't clamoring to make our story into a movie starring Ryan Gosling.
So then, why do it? Why get up two hours before we have to, and/or stay up two hours later than we should, just to put one more paragraph on the page? Well, I can't speak for all writers, but in my case, I write because I can't not write. If I go too long without creating a tale of two people overcoming obstacles, the voices in my head begin grumbling. Grumbling increases to nagging. Nagging becomes shouting until I can no longer focus on anything but my need to put words onto the page.
Often I'm asked where I get my ideas for my stories. My stock answer: What's going through your head when you're stuck on the LIE at 5:30 in the evening? What are you doing while sitting on those hard wooden benches for over an hour at the DMV? Nothing? Really? For me, every moment of my day is an opportunity to find a story. Total strangers can inspire me with the way they look, speak, or arch an eyebrow.
Writing is not a job for wimps. It takes dedication and an ability to multi-task. You can't be shy about speaking or meeting new people. You have to be able to share your work with others and withstand criticism. You have to want to improve with each sentence you put on the page.
Think you've got what it takes to join the "glamorous life"? Contact me. I'd love to help you get started.