Thursday, April 15, 2010

Glamour, Perception, and Reality With Connie Wood!!

G'Day!! Welcome back, mates!

The featured author this week is one of my dearest friends. I met Connie Wood via a yahoo loop in summer of '08 and like peas and carrots, we just went together. She's been both a shoulder to cry on and my terra firma, willing to give me a swift kick when needed. Friends like Connie are definitely ones to treasure.

Without further ado, here's my peep from the Land Down Under!

The wonderful Sarah, kindly invited me to write an article for her blog, and I was very honoured. I wanted to write something witty, something to capture the imagination, perhaps even something glamourous. But then I realised something, writing isn't really a very glamourous profession. It may seem like it in the initial stages. As a novice writer I got caught up in the allure of being a writer. The wonderful excitement of even the narrowest possibility of seeing my name plastered across a book sitting proudly next to the well known and great authors.

Then the reality of what it truly is to be a writer set it.

Being a writer is all the above, the glamour, the magic, imagination refined and honed into characters and stories. But it is also hard work, doubt, motivation, sacrifice and sometimes even a lot of luck. The reality of writing and being a writer is a very complex matter. Perhaps the problem with the perception of being a writer, especially a romance writer, in any sub-genre, is the fact that to write we must live in imagination. You can see the contradiction all ready. You need to have a brilliant imagination to write, and yet you also need a good dose of reality to be able to get your prose out there for the masses to enjoy.

Some surveys suggest that the impossible standards introduced in romance are destroying the reality of real life romance and partners. Is this the writers original perception or is this the way it is interpreted by the reader? Personally, I am unsure, but as a writer and a reader, I want the perception, the glamour of imagination. If I wanted to read pure reality, then I would pick a different genre. This is not to say that our romance needs to be taken completely out of the realm of reality. Every good writer (and reader) knows that characters, plots etc need to have believability, otherwise the level of suspension of disbelief goes out the window. Even when the romance has paranormal elements, or is set in a totally different world, the rules of that world need to be believable. But it also needs to be fantastical at the same time.

And that level of disbelief is a main reason people read. To be immersed in a different time, land, or situation along with characters that the reader learns to love and grow with is why we read. And it is why I write. There is, of course, a survey that counteracts the above results and states that romance novels actually help instead of hinder real life relationships.Considering the level of popularity romance novels endure, then I would have to agree with this statement. How can a little romance, love, overcoming adversities, capped off with a happy ever after, be bad for you?

When you sit in front of a keyboard to write, some say not to write with an audience in mind, it can hinder the creative process. When I sit down to write, I do have an audience in mind. And that audience is me. I can not guarantee that anyone else will enjoy what I write, but I can make sure that I write something I would read. And I have to admit, I am a fairly discerning reader. By all means, do your market research and analyze what you enjoy reading and go from there.

This is where the contradiction in the writing industry really comes into its own. To write, we must escape into the realms of creative fantasy. The right side of your brain comes to the foreground and hopefully the words flow for you. But then the left side of your brain must come to the party and consider the realities of the prose you just spent forever writing. Is it good enough? How do I edit it? What publishing company do I submit to? Traditional or ebook publishing? The list goes on, and don't even get me started on marketing and promotion after the book is accepted.

The most basic reality of writing is that it is a long hard slog. A labour of true love. It is not easy. Sometimes the creative side, actually writing the book is the easiest. But the cold hard facts can actually stop you from initializing your creativity from the outset.

If you worry if the book will sell, where to publish it, or even if anybody will like it, then it can stop you from getting the book down on paper. So, go into this business with your eyes wide open. Your popularity and success can be as much a contradiction as the rest of the business. You could work for months, sell your manuscript and then earn pittance. Or you could whip together a book, sell it and become an overnight success. But to be honest, nearly all the writers who become successful earn their way through a lot of hard work, hard times and many years.

There will be times when you feel all messed up because the right (write) side of your brain and the left are competing for superiority. This can cause you to procrastinate, not be able to find the time to write, writers block etc. There may be times when you want to quit (yes I have been there). But most of all, you will probably love the challenge, because you love to write. You probably feel compelled to write, which is a great thing. Temper this with a business like attitude to your writing and there is no stopping you.

Learn the business, never give up and understand the differences between the perception and the reality of writing. Learn to switch over between reality and fantasy and your future readers will love and thank you for it.

Most of all, don't ever give up. Even when you feel like you're flogging that dead horse, get creative and make him come alive again. After all, that's what being a true writer is all about, reaching into the depths of your imagination and pulling out an extraordinary story. Changing the way people see things. That is real glamour.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and the biggest thank you to Sarah, for giving us writers and readers a platform to express and learn things we never would have otherwise.

Cheers Connie Wood
Win an iTouch until 04 May 2010, please see my web site for details. Connie Wood :

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What a fantastic post full of inspiration and advice! Ain't she sweeter than a Tim-Tam?! I'd like to thank Connie for being here today and for all her lovely words of encouragement. Here's wishing you tons of success, mate!

Writing has blessed me with many friends who have quickly become like family. What an awesome community! So, THANK YOU, TLN'ers! ((hugs!!))
Now, let's get the weekend rocking with another of Australia's most talented, KYLIE MINOGUE and CAN"T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD! Turn it up and get those toes tappin'! Set yourself free and enjoy a little R&R. Check ya back on Monday!


Kaye Manro said...

This is beyond doubt a wonderful article! Thanks to Connie for sharing it, and thanks to Sarah for posting it!

Jasmine Black said...

Nice article, Connie. But I guess you let the cat out of the bag. Now everyone will know that I sit around in track pants all day instead of sexy lingerie. Oh well.

Sarah, you blog looks pretty.

susan said...

Love this article and have to add my comment today. The article is so much of a push to anyone who needs a gentle push and I love the kindness shown. susan L.

Connie Wood said...

Hi Kaye,
Thanks! I'm glad you thought the article was wonderful :)
I hope you enjoyed reading it.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Connie Wood said...

Hi Jasmine,
Sarah's blog certainly does look beautiful, I agree.
Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting on the article.
Here's a secret for you....I dont sit around in my sexy lingerie writing either :) I might sit in the bath, lol!

Connie Wood said...

Hi Susan,
I'm so glad you stopped by and felt the need to comment. I have a tendency to read almost everything on this blog, but hardly have time to comment.
I'm happy the article doesn't sound harsh and steer people away from writing, which can be a brilliant occupation.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Great post!! I just found your blog and started following, I love romance too!

Connie Wood said...

Hi Carrie,
Sarah's blog is fantastic. I'm glad you love romance. So many of us do and it is such a broad scope of sub-genre's that there is something in there for everyone.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on the post.
Happy romance reading,

Sarah Simas said...

Wait! You mean you don't sit around in lacy,racy undies writing all day, Connie?! Well, that rumor is a clanker if I ever heard one. *wink wink*

Thanks for making Friday fun everyone!((hugs!))

Nicole Zoltack said...

What a great blog post! Thanks, Connie!

And Sarah, there's an award for you on my blog.


Connie Wood said...

Hi Nicole,
Thanks for stopping by and reading the article. I hope you found it interesting :)
Sarah sure does deserve an award for her wonderful work here.
Thanks for leaving a comment,

Micole Black said...

What a great blog Connie! Thank you so much for the inspiration! This is something I will look back on again and again when I need the pick me up!

Hugs to both of you!

Micole Black