Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Started

Back as a kid and young adult, I love writing but decided that I wanted to live first, and then have something to say. Forty sounded like about the right age to start. Who knows if it was serendipity or intention, but at around forty, I did get the unstoppable urge to write. I started with poems, then decided after a few months to try to write a novel.

The writers' group I was in at the time advised me to set a schedule, to write every day or at least once a week at a set time. I tried. I really tried. I wrote about a chapter a week, and the book (never published) felt boring even to me. Then three things happened that catapulted me into a novel writing future.

Three Serendipities

I’d always been a huge fan of Georgette Heyer, legendary Regency romance novelist. I found a copy of her biography in a used bookstore. Turns out she didn’t write on a schedule at all. Whew! At the moment of reading her bio, I became an open, acknowledged, and ultimately successful binge writer.

Second was that I read Anne Rice's erotic trilogy written under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure. The sex was a little extreme for me, but the idea that a respected, even idolized, writer would publicly write erotica energized an unexpected impulse for me. I'd always liked sex a lot, and now it felt like I could write about it. Woohoo!

The third serendipitous event was the release of the movie Pretty Woman. I loved that movie! That it was a modern retelling of an ancient fairy tale felt like light bulbs going off in my head.

Writing the First Book

About a week before Spring Break (I was an English teacher at the time), I had a dream one night of a modern fairy tale told as a novel. The dream was complete down to the chapter breaks. I dream-realized that I had two choice: go back to sleep, or wake myself up completely and write down the whole plot. I woke up and wrote brief summaries of about 30 chapters of what became my first published novel, Beauty of the Beast. If you know a little about the Law of Attraction, you are probably saying to yourself, inspired action! Yes. 

That Spring Break, I told my daughters that I was going to try to write a novel, and please not to interrupt me unless the house was burning down. They were old enough and comfortable enough with my eccentricities that they just went about their lives, and brought me in a peeled banana from time to time. Seven non-stop days later, the first draft of Beauty was complete. From there it went through half a dozen edits, then got shipped out to ten potential agents. Long story short, one year almost to the day after finishing the first draft, Beauty of the Beast was in every Barnes and Noble in the United States.

What’s the takeaway?

Okay, true confession, in another life, I’m a blogger for the Law of Attraction. Here’s how the LoA worked for me way back before it was ‘invented.’.

Takeaway 1: Intentions do manifest. At exactly the age I naively thought I’d be ready to write, guess what, I was ready to write.

Takeaway 2: Find your own version of the flow, and everything will work. Writing by somebody else’s rules didn’t work. Writing what and when and how I wanted, produced a happily published book with what felt like little effort.

So for beginning and long-time writers alike, I’d remind you of two things: believe in your intentions, and honor your personal work style.

What is your personal process? I’d love to hear your story of beginning to write. What advice do you have for aspiring or beginning or publishing authors? Please share!


  1. I haven't heard the term "binge writer," but I love that. My process involves burning fires and fear. Left to my own devices, I'll piddle around revising forever. I need deadlines, either set by a publisher or, if necessary, set by myself. I respect a deadline. I don't seem to respect "x words a day until I'm done." All the best with your new blog!

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Thanks for being my first commentor ever! Woohoo! I think I made up 'binge writer' - certainly works for me. Deadlines paralyze me. Shivering... How great that everybody finds a different way to work. Whatever gets you in the flow.



      PS Sorry some of the lettering colors are unreadable. Hopefully I'll figure out how to fix that tomorrow.

    2. Arggg. I have a face, really I have a face. Another thing to fix tomorrow...

  2. Hi Carole,

    That is a great story. I love the idea of binge writing too. I actually took a couple days off from blogging. I had a three day weekend so you would think I would have gotten caught up, but just the opposite. I didn't touch it. I came back last night to a bunch of comments which is a lovely way to return.

    Good luck with your book. When was it published?

    1. Hi Amy,

      Thanks for writing! I've been taking a bit of a break too, taking my own advice from this post. As you can see, I've revamped the look, and I've thought a lot about what I want to write about. Also, I`ll be adding commentluv shortly.

      The book is ready (fingers crossed), and hopefully will be out before Valentine's Day. If you'd like a free Kindle copy to review, I can add you to the dropbox file. Just leave me a note and sign up for the page so I have your email address for dropbox.

      Hugs, and thanks again for writing,