September’s Here–Time to Learn Stuff! Guest Post by Meg DesCamp
Dearest Reader, please welcome Meg DesCamp to SJP!!!
l have always loved September. Even though I’ve been out of school for mumble mumble years, September will always be my month of new beginnings and unlimited possibilities. New sweaters, new shoes, new books, classrooms, friends–and romances. All those new men roaming the campus! Potential hotness around every corner, I tell you. At least, that’s what I remember.
So in the spirit of new beginnings, this is a good month for me to review what I want to learn and where I want to go next with this romance writing stuff. In my day job, I’m a freelance writer and editor. I meet my deadlines. I keep working until the project is done. And I take my work seriously. Every so often, however, I get an idea for a really terrific romance, and I write the first three chapters. And then I stop. I hate the characters, their lives are boring, they have no personality, and if I can’t be bothered to care about them, why would an agent or editor?
I’ve decided that what I want –what I NEED — to learn this September is how the hell to keep my butt in the writing chair when there is not a client deadline or a paycheck waiting.
I’ve had one book published — a nonfiction humorous gardening memoir (http://www.amazon.com/Slug-Tossing-Adventures-Reluctant-Gardener/dp/1570610444/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408725531&sr=8-1&keywords=slug+tossing) —
and it was remarkably easy to write. I decided on a main theme for each chapter. I wrote a one page outline of each chapter. And then I wrote each chapter, weaving in real-life stories and characters and events. It was fun to write. It was even easy to write (and rewrite…). And I’m pretty sure the fun and ease came because I knew where each chapter was headed.
The sensible person would look at my first book experience and conclude, “Outlining is the way to go! Guess I’ll plunk down at the computer and outline a romance.” But even if I take my own advice, I’m still faced with the problem of keeping myself to the task at hand.
Maybe if I buy a new sweater and a new pair of boots and write up a course syllabus titled “Finish Your Romance Novel, You Cretin,” I can trick myself into thinking I’m back in school. The outline might get written. The book might get written. I might finally pass Romance 101.
And then who knows what else I might learn? In September, anything feels possible.