Hello, dear reader!
And welcome to my quarterly existential crisis!
Okay, I’m being hyperbolic, but post #20kin5Days, I always find myself ruminating over what I’ve written and what I want to write in a way that no other creative writing exercise ever provokes me to do. I often spend quite a bit of time ruminating over the words I wrote during the challenge, what I wrote during past challenges, how those words faired, and what I plan to write in the future.
Small aside: If you’re not familiar with #20kin5Days, it’s a writing challenge that I run in my Wordmakers Writing Community. Five days of writing four thousand words a day for five days straight. You can get more details at www.wordmakerscommunity.com.
More and more, the question I keep asking myself is… am I writing what I want to write?
I’m not going to regale you with all the navel-gazing I did in my journal during and after the challenge, but I could help but realize that I hit the 20k goal because I writing something that wouldn’t be considered contemporary romance.
Here’s the thing… writing is a skill, and if you’re like m, you like to find a way to do what you do well. Constantly and consistently honing that skill, always learning. Learning new things is an important part of my process that I really enjoy. But in that process, I discovered that I spent way too much time on that, especially when it comes to writing what is “salable,” and that focus has changed my pen. Altered my voice and focus in a way that I don’t like.
I want to fix that, but it’s going to require some rewiring. But I want to do this in a structured way.
First, I need to dig down deep and rediscover what I really want to write.
Why It's Important To Rediscover What I Want to Write
Writing is a journey, and like any journey, is rarely ever a destination that gets me from A to B without traffic, gas and bathroom breaks, or detours to unexpectedly beautiful places. More than once, I’ve started a story, only to find that it's not going where I want to go. I get lost in the weeds, lose my passion, and forget why I started writing it in the first place. That’s been happening frequently since I burnout out in Sept of 2021 — yes, I remember the month. I could probably even remember the date if I thought about it long enough. Somehow, some way, I’ve gotten it in my head that, rediscovering what I want to write is crucial to staying on track as a writer, even as your path shifts and changes. In this blog post, we'll explore why it's important to rediscover what you want to write, and how to do it.
1. Finding my focus.
When I first started writing, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to write and how I wanted to go about it. But over time, that focus blurred, and I found myself writing stories in ways that focused more on what the reader wants, versus writing what I wanted to write and finding ways to sell that story to a reader. It took a while, but I became frustrated with the business of selling books because it was antithetical to my creative process. So taking this opportunity to rediscover what I truly care about and what themes I really want to explore and share with you, the reader, seems super important. I’m going to take the time to think about what really excites me, and the topics that make me want to leap out of bed in the morning and dive right into putting words on the page. When I narrow my focus, I find that my writing becomes more powerful and effective. This is the space that produced one of my favorite stories and characters in The Truth Duet.
2. Reconnecting with my passion.
Life be life-ing, you know? It's easy to lose passion for the writing process, especially for someone like me. Drafting is my least favorite part. It’s hard for me to find the focus and desire to do something I don’t like when other things are getting in the way. Whatever the reason for my lack of enthusiasm, I think it’s important to take steps to reconnect with my passion. I’ll do this by reading more, spending time with other writers who motivate me, and taking breaks from writing altogether to get in touch with my creativity in other ways. It’s much easier for me to show up for my writing when I feel energized and enthusiastic about my writing. Hopefully, it will lead to more productivity as well.
3. Writing for myself, not for others.
This is a big one. It's easy to get caught up in what other people think about my writing. You might worry about whether your work is commercial enough or literary enough, or whether it will appeal to the "right" audience. But writing should ultimately be about me, not about pleasing others. In rediscovering what I want to write, I'll be able to tap into my own unique voice and style, without worrying about whether it fits into a particular genre or category. This is where my writing tends to truly shine.
4. Staying true to my vision.
Rediscovering what I want to write might reveal that my vision is different from what I originally believed it was. I’ve been writing contemporary romance for the last twelve years, but maybe I’m interested in exploring darker themes. It's okay for my vision to evolve and change. The key is to stay true to my and my own unique perspective. When I write from a place of authenticity and honesty, your readers will be able to connect with my work on a deeper level.
I don’t know how long this process will take or if it will even work, but I’ll keep y’all updated in these wrap-up posts every month.
So What Did You Miss?
Last month’s focus on the blog was Pride Month. I wrote some posts I’m pretty proud of so I hope y’all will take the time to read and share them if you agree.
June is a time to celebrate the beauty and courage of Queer Citizens across the board. Check out this list of queer Black books written by queer Black authors!
I shared an excerpt of Seventy-Two Ours: A Lust Diaries Novella. It’s a conversation between Elijah and Julian, two kinky bi-sexual heroes sorting through the messy love triangle created by my unlikeable heroine Yves Santiago.
I would’ve been remiss if our inclusive celebration didn’t confront issues within the romance writing community head-on in order to ensure my voice is among those who support queer Black authors and their efforts to be seen and have their stories reach their desired audience.
As writers and creators, it is essential to recognize and avoid harmful tropes and stereotypes that perpetuate misconceptions, dehumanize individuals, and lack authentic representation.
Next month I’ll be focusing on Kinky Romance with a focus on Femdom Stories.
One Love Reunion is coming up quick! It’s being hosted in Charleston, SC. You can still buy tickets, but the Saturday book signing is free and I will be in the company of several amazing authors!
Plan-a-thon is July 8th for the Wordmakers Writing Community. We’ll spend the day planning for Qtr 3 together. It doesn’t sound fun, but I promise it is — if only because we’re doing it together.
Content Marketing for Wordmakers - I’m doing a beta run of the content marketing course that I’ve been working on. It’s free for Club level members, but 15 Community level members will have an opportunity to join for $89. If you’re interested visit the community for details!
As you can see, this is going to be a busy month!