It has been awhile since I have written. It isn’t for lack of words, but quite the opposite. I have been immersed in a torrent of words that have flowed, swirled, and floated in and out of my mind. At times they have crashed to the forefront only to dwindle and disappear much like a wave as it hits the shore; midway through a post. At other times, my words have flowed like a mountain stream, but wisdom and conscience prevailed and I decided that pouring out my opinions onto a page was enough without sharing them. Then there have been moments where I waited for my muse to appear only to discover that our schedules were simply not in sync.
It dawned on me that what I have experienced is something that many writers go through. The ideas flow, crash, dissipate, rise again, or become nothing more than mirages in a desert of literary granules. It is a common struggle and one that is very real. I often ponder how the multipublished seem to have an endless font of unique stories. I ask myself, “where do their ideas come from?” For every writer the source is different. For some it is life experiences, for others it is life’s observations. Sometimes success is born amidst failures like the phoenix rising from the ashes. Characters from one story morph into a place or adventure they are better suited to.
When I first decided to write romance books, I thought I was destined to write Regency with an element of suspense. I had the plot all worked out as well as the characters, and I even had sequels planned. After all, I reasoned, I love history, and I had read countless Regency romance books to the point where I felt I could predict every potential plot. I had grown familiar with all the locales of the period, the dress, the verbiage, and the customs. I was wrong. The elements were there, but not the voice. I was echoing what I was familiar with, but my voice was missing. Those stories are tucked away in a file which is exactly where they belong.
Recognizing what was missing is only half the battle. The true crusade is finding your voice and putting it into your stories. It is a lot like Don Quixote doing battle with windmills. The effort is there, even if the antagonist is a bit unorthodox. I wasn’t even sure where to look or how I would recognize my voice when it passed through the words on a page. Countless trees are grateful for the fact that there is a delete feature that erases the mistakes, misdirections, and the hapless accumulation of grammatical errors I am destined to make. Yet, through the journey, I found my voice and the types of stories that my voice lends itself to. Sweet Historical Western Romance, set in a mythical town where characters come to settle, come to grips with their pasts, and find their happily ever after.
The inspiration for the first book in the series came at the most inopportune time. I was sitting in my car at a light, in my midst of wearing my parental taxi driver hat when it struck like a lightening bolt. The names of my characters popped into my head and their conversation kept playing over and over as if they were on a loop. Abigail and Jake. I could picture their interactions, their pasts, and their future. Their story was written followed by book 2, William and Maggie’s story. And, the plots for more have been mulling. I, like my stories are a work in progress; subjected to much editing as I move onto the next phase of the writing journey.
The written word is as much an escape from reality as the words upon a page are for a reader. They transport us to a world of our imagination; befriending our characters, and experiencing their emotional highs and lows. Their struggles and triumphs become ours as we strive toward an ending that is filled with joy and jubilance. We become the crashing wave and the streaming river; filled with highs and lows, rushing currents and ripples that grow imperceptible and still. We become the lifesource that is needed for our own survival and for the hope we can give to readers; taking them to our worlds and fulfilling needs we can never imagine.
I would be deceiving myself, and others, if I said “No, I don’t ever want to quit.” The idea of walking away has hit me often as I find myself treading to stay afloat; doubting my ability; and believing that no one would want to read my story. Then I am reminded of the kind friends who have stepped into Hobart, Wyoming Territory with me and helped me to give Abigail and Jake eloquence and fascination. I am grateful for their inspiration and indebted to their faith in me. They have enabled me to delve into the well and discover it is not dry, just deep. The struggle is not just one a new author faces, but even the seasoned ones. There is no magic fix, but what I have discovered is that where there is dwindling, just dig deeper. The words, the stories, and your voice are there waiting to bubble to the surface and immerse you.