Easy writing doesn’t happen often for me anymore.
In the ‘old’ days, back before I published, back before I’d been rejected for 15 years on 12 different manuscripts, writing was easy. I sat down, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. The words flowed, the characters talked, (and talked and talked) and my books ended with a big bang. I loved writing in those early days (the 80’s and early 90’s) and it wasn’t until ten years of rejections began to make me desperate that the writing got hard. It was hard because I didn’t know what the publishers wanted. It was hard because I didn’t know why I wasn’t delivering what they wanted when I thought what I was writing was good. I didn’t know how to improve the writing to make it better–or make it acceptable to the publishers. I didn’t know how to handle my own hopes or expectations as I thought my books were getting better and better.
Twenty years later–twenty years from the point I started writing romance novels–and five years from the point of having the first book bought I look at the before pub Jane and the post pub Jane and shake my head. Yes, I’m a far more skilled writer now than I was then. But even more interestingly, I’m so much tougher. I’m not confident as in ‘oh, I’m wonderful’, but confident as ‘oh, I’m not quitting’ and ‘you can try to knock me down, but you’re not keeping me on the ground.’ It’s a fighter spirit, a spirit that’s necessary not just for dealing with the publishing business, but the creative life. It’s necessary for handling life as a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer.
For the first time in years, the writing is downright easy. I hate saying it, must knock on wood, but the writing is a strange dreamlike process where the words just come and I sit there, fingers poised above the keyboard channeling whatever it is I’m channeling. I’m telling a story I feel strongly about, a story that sits in my heart, weighing on my sense of rightness and wrongess, fairness and injustice, and maybe not all readers will relate to the story, but I can only hope I do justice to it. That I make the characters come alive and the emotions honest and real and the conflict believable, and therefore meaningful.
I’ll be done with this book in weeks and then it’s back to my brand new Harlequin manuscript–a Hollywood film story with all the drama of Vanity Fair magazine and the glitter and fashion of People. It’ll be a wonderful story to write after Flirting with Forty and I’m already crossing my fingers that the easy writing will continue. And if it doesn’t, let me be the first to say how grateful I am for a book that came to me in a flash, and hasn’t let go. I’m not sure if I’m a writer as much as a genie, but right now at this point in my life, I’m going with it.