Make Sure You Love It
First of all, I want to thank Denise for having me. Denise made a huge splash at my blog with her 'Kinky Vampire Novels' gig (Trailer looks hot, by the way!), and I hope I can return the favor and either inform or amuse. She is further in process than I am, and I love the chance to get around a little and meet some other bloggers, readers and networkers. I really appreciate the chance to be here.
So this writing deal is solitary and slow... A lot of work all by ourselves, with rewards delayed again and again... and then we hear, as we start to think about publishing, that we need to NETWORK... get out there, meet people, WORK IT, SISTER!
It is a rare bird indeed that is naturally suited to both of these activities... Yet I think if we really DO work it, we can make them compliment each other.
I would do this in a vacuum. I would write for no one and still love it. This may or may not be because I do most of it naked (I write about 80% of my stuff in the bathtub) but I love letting my brain run on free form and see what it comes up with, seemingly with no input whatsoever from me. Now while that's not true... I actively collect and organize the pieces, I do surprise myself with some regularity, and I think I'd keep writing just for the delight in that.
But you know what? There was a time it was in fits and starts... every day for a month or two, then nothing. SHARING what I wrote, having accountability to a crowd is what gave me discipline. It also made the writing more satisfying because I was sharing, being cheered on... it had become social.
I should confess my earliest writing was fan fiction and the forum was very social, fairly silly, and there was much more joking and laughter than there was writing, though I did finish three novel-length works...
Progress a few years, come out of hiding with a real book and...
When I started to think about querying was the first time I actually considered the social networking thing... you know... on purpose. (never mind that when I actually dived in, I realized I had a fairly stable network of friends to support me as I got started from my fan fiction friends—I managed 30 blog followers in a week, just by begging people I'd been 'networking with' informally for three years—MAN that helped me past feeling small!)
But blogging and social networking as a WRITER who might one day PUBLISH was intimidating! I felt called to act professional at first... In fact I did that on Facebook for a while... very stiff and... oh man... it is SO HARD for me not to let... you know... ME... out to play. I really have a hard time behaving myself (you would too, if your superpower was Misattributing—innuendo around every corner)
And then I got to thinking... why the heck would the same rules as had encouraged me on the fan fiction not apply? I'm not the sharing the writing part, as I have traditional publication plans and they frown on that, but if I am really committing to this marketing, networking, daily blogging thing... on top of a day job... on top of writing... I just couldn't fathom taking that on as WORK... so the logical alternative—something I had experience with, was to make it PLAY.
So I let insane me out of the closet, even if she is inconsistent with the suspense I typically write... and you know what? It paid off. I had only been blogging a few months the first time someone suggested to me I had the perfect voice for Cozy Mystery. I ignored it, as mystery intimidated me. It's... you know... organized... but last February I had an opportunity to audition for a gig—write 50 pages to editor defined parameters—and it WORKED. After a request for revisions, I was contracted to write three Cozy Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and the really nutty thing? Writing Cozy Mystery is back to PLAYING again! It is just a lot of fun. I have permission to be quite zany (my first book includes a boxers versus briefs argument, even).
So I think the lesson is, it's always best to be ourselves and have fun with it—the rest will follow.
Brief Bio: Hart Johnson writes suspense and mystery that jumps back and forth across the adult/YA line. Her Cozy Mystery series has the first book (as yet unnamed) due out in June 2012 under the pen name Alyse Carlson. The Watery Tart blogs every weekday and is leading the Naked World Domination Tour, in case your life doesn't have enough insanity.
I'm so pleased to welcome Hart Johnson to the blog today! Hart has one of my favorite blogs, and I hope you will pay her a visit there!