The Week So Far

This week has yielded very little by way of writing progress and a tremendous amount by way of existential crises.  Admittedly the crises themselves have not particularly hindered the writing process, at least I don’t think they have, rather the necessity of the little one in spending his so-called nap time screaming has.  That he is now doing this before bedtime as well has not done much for my sanity.  Honestly, who can listen to a child scream/cry for more than an hour each day without feeling their sanity slip away if even just slightly?  And, let’s face it, as an artist what sanity I have is precious little and hard won so it needs no encouragement to wander off and find better company.  [So you can rest easy the little one gets checked on during these spells and all efforts are made to soothe.]

The crises I’ve been facing have been interesting and frustrating.  There is emotional turmoil in dealing with some issues I had already thought dealt with (I really should know better than to take such things for granted) and then I began to question this notion of being a writer.  Not just being a writer, but to what end I should pursue it.  Concerns abound about marketability, success and what constitutes it, all play large parts in this.  For several months I’ve been slaving over my wip and I have to be content in the knowledge that someday others will see it, that all this time and painstaking effort will not be in vein.  While I don’t feel it’s quite a waste regardless of who sees it, the notion that this will disappear into the void truly upsets me.

You see, part of my emotional mishigas is the want and need of acceptance.  Never one to move or change myself to achieve this I’ve demanded acceptance upon the grounds of who I am.  Same goes for my work.  Problem?  It really hurts or upsets me when I’m not.  To accept other people’s derision for doing nothing more than being me is a difficult path to walk upon especially as I refuse to change even if I know I’ll get that love, acceptance and possibly accolades as a result of doing so.  I’ve asked myself why sixteen different ways from Tuesday and the answer always remains the same:  If I change in the hopes of getting acceptance, have I not just affirmed that I am not worthy of being accepted?  Besides, CHANGING to get said acceptance is not being accepted for who you are, but rather who you market yourself as thus not granting me the result I want anyway.

This may seem a bit off about my writing so let me bring it full circle so as to make sense.  I want some commercial success and the best way to secure this seems through writing easily categorized genre material.  While it’s true I initially thought to write romance I found rather quickly that my style and prose were simply not the best fit.  Every time I turned around my style seemed more literary, more verbose, than most of the genre works currently out there.  And so, succumbing to the idea in the back of my head for the last couple years, I began working on a dark dystopic tale that defies genre classification.  It’s taking me longer to write as the language is more sophisticated and the flow is not quite conversational and has resulted in my frustration of not “producing”.  I have even been asking friends who have read my completed manuscript (a single title romance for all intents and purposes) if I should take a machete to it and try and shop it around to the romance publishers.  Make no mistake – it would take a machete.

The answers I keep getting is to continue working on what I care about and don’t get caught up on spending oodles of time editing a work that still might not get snatched up.  There’s a great deal of truth to that sentiment, but there’s still this need within me to move forward in some discernible manner.  As a result of that I’m thinking about working on multiple projects – one commercial, one the apple of my eye.

What about you?  How did you decide to move forward with your current project?  And, perhaps most importantly, how on Earth do you get a toddler to go down for nap/bed without screaming?!

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19 responses to “The Week So Far

  • Dawn

    Don’t ruin your baby! Work on another project of you want but you’ll never feel like you’re “moving forward” if you can’t express your true ideas in the long run. I understand the need to feel as though something is happening, though, so give them something else in the meantime. Who knows? You might find another outlet!

  • RosieC

    Well, I have no experience on your second question. Good luck with the little one!

    If the writing style of your blog is anything like your wip prose (which, undoubtably, it is), then I adore your literary style, but I agree that it’s probably not best suited for romance. There are plenty of people who genre hop and use varying styles in doing this. So if you want to try the romance/apple-of-my-eye split, you should. If you think that they would be incredibly different, you could try using a pseudonym.

    If the question is about the division of your time, this is a question that we all deal with every day, not just with our writing but with the work that brings the income. If for you that’s a romance novel and your dystopian joy, I don’t see anything wrong with that as long as you don’t feel like you’re taking too much time away from that joy. And only you can know that for sure, and probably only after trying it for a while.

    For me, I’ve put so much energy into my current wipX3 that I can’t possibly set it aside. I love the story (though it needs TONS of work) and I worship my characters like a 13yr old and her first boyfriend (but apparently I’m not monogamous 🙂 Honestly, for me, it’s not about the time I’ve already spent on them, but about the smile I get thinking about my plot, or how I can better develop this character, or even what scenes can be cut and tossed to the dogs. I can’t get enough of it, and if my series ever sees the light of day, I will cry the way my mom did when she dropped me off for college. (too many analogies–sorry!)

    Good luck! If you’re this worried about your work and wanting people to accept you for it, then it must be your true calling. No matter what, do it for yourself!

  • Anna C. Bowling

    First, the same thing I tell everybody else – tell your stories, the way they come to you and tell them until they’re told. Nobody gets anywhere without a manuscript.

    Second, romance is a big genre. Big, big, big. Not only in sales, but in scope. I’m a big proponent of the only two requirements being that the central relationship and emotionally satisfying ending. Beyond that, sky’s the limit; there are romances from prehistoric to postapocalyptic, from inspriational to paranormal, not-even-kisses to full blown erotic, and tones from light to I-need-therapy-now dark. If writing in the romance genre is something you would like to add to your repetoire (I know I spelled that wrong; this is precaffiene) then do it the way that it feels right *for you.* If not, then no harm done; I always advise going with one’s gut on this one.

    I can very much relate on the “if I change, I can get acceptance” thing, and I did try and do that for a long time. Finally realized being different is a good thing and cue “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles. Anything else better said in private, but in short, you be you, because that goes way beyond good enough into downright fabulous.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Anna – Thank you so much for your sage advice! I’m seriously considering breaking out a manuscript that is half finished that I can convert to the genre. The writing is more solid than my first completed manuscript and would be challenging enough to keep me invested intellectually. I need more time in the day.

  • Carol Kilgore

    Be a romance slut under a pen name and crank it out. Work on your true love in the process. I’ll tell you how to stop the crying if you’ll tell me how to stop a dog from barking/howling at every stray sound or movement and getting on my last nerve 🙂

    • kimberlyloomis

      Good words, Carol. Lol! I have no idea about the dog… I’m reasonably certain if we could figure out how to solve such problems we would be able to lay about writing whatever we wanted.

  • Jan

    With your little guy I have found that the very transparent ruse of telling a child that he may not sleep but does need to lay down quietly for 5 minutes has generally worked for me and it generally worked for my sons most of the time.
    As to your art: To thine own self be true.
    It is the only way to truly live. No one who sells their soul is going to be happy in the end.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Jan – It always depends on his mood. Sometimes he listens and sometimes he doesn’t. Will give it a go next time the problem presents itself! Luckily that has been mostly absent (except last night).

      It’s hard to stand firm in the space of one’s self, but I’m going to do my best.

  • Hart

    Kimberly–so sorry about the crabby son! Mine used to periodically have tantrums, and you’re right–sanity is hard to maintain. For HIM, it was about keeping things predictable… a routine (which happens to help my husband, who has borderline anxiety, too–so we keep our routine boring and the tantrums are minimized)

    As for the work… DON’T compromise if you feel strongly about the story. I mean all works can be improved and it should FLOW, but there is nothing wrong with literary. My first work I felt VERY similarly about and didn’t get any takers with 30+ queries, so I decided what I need is to write MORE books–sell one of THOSE and then when I have name collatoral, THEN I will sell that first, because frankly–it defies genre definition and is hard to describe in a couple sentences… I accept it probably really needs to start a little faster, but it’s MAIN problem is it is just a little complicated to ‘hook’ with any accuracy… better sold as ‘Best Selling author Hart Johnsons next great novel’… My next couple books are not quite as ‘big’–so they are easier to describe and hopefully, once polished, sexier to sell… no compromise necessary.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Hart – Good words about the routine! I try to stick with the same thing, but sometimes he just balks at it. Yikes about the anxiety!

      You have a very good point about producing more then marketing it after other works have “made it”. Writing cover (as in the query) is one of the most difficult things to do in my opinion. When a story has elements that put it solidly in a mish mash of genres it’s only more difficult. Good luck on the process with your new works!

  • Lua

    I think in one way or another, we all have the need to feel accepted. I know I do… I express it through my writing; when someone likes something I write, I become the happiest girl alive but when they don’t, I feel like I’m not being accepted for who I am and that is one difficult feeling to deal with. So I can totally understand and relate to how you feel, it is frustrating.
    But- it is also what motivates us to keep on writing. So as long as it doesn’t become paralyzing and motivates us to keep on creating, I think it’s not that much of a problem.
    You’re a great writer Kimberly and if you didn’t truly love writing, you would have given up by now. It is a long, difficult and nerve racking marathon but it’ll be all worth it once you see your books on the shelves 🙂

  • DL Hammons

    Benedryl! (just kidding…a little)

    I feel for your struggle. To make it as easy as possible to break into the ‘biz’ we are told to write commercially. But what if that’s not what we’re interested in? And what we are interested in limits our chances of finding representation. Is it a compromise to first write commercially to crack the publishing barrier, and then write what really speaks to us?

    I’m just glad I write straight up mystery/suspense. 🙂

    • kimberlyloomis

      DL – Lol! Not a good sign when the use of anti-histamines is actually tempting. 😉

      I don’t know that it’s a compromise to write commercially while working toward completion on the projects your heart requires, but it is quite an issue of time. When it’s such a finite resource (time) the use of it becomes paramount for happiness and satisfaction. Career wise, however, what you’re suggesting makes a great deal of sense.

  • sara

    I’m sorry you’re feeling so discouraged.

    I know you don’t really know me, and I’m not really a writer, so I’m not sure how much my opinion should matter to you, but that’s not going to keep me from offering it anyway. 😉

    If you enjoy reading romance novels, perhaps you should try to write one – a good one. Don’t do a slapdash job of it just because you can. Give it all you’ve got to make it worthy of your talents.

    I’m not sure it would be a good idea to butcher your current wip unless you feel, in your heart of hearts, that that is what it really wanted to be all along. Your goal here is to write something good, right? and to be published someday too, of course, but, you know, art takes time.

    Sometimes, shaking things up, doing something different for awhile, taking a break, can breathe new life into an old project.

    • kimberlyloomis

      You may not be a writer, Sara, but your words are excellent. Art does take time and just because something is written for commercial viability does not necessarily mean it isn’t art. I am feeling a renewed sense of purpose. Thanks!

  • Corra McFeydon

    Would you tell another man’s version of a story if you were surrounded now by willing listeners who came to hear him speak? Or would you use that fleeting moment to speak from your own soul? To speak your own truth? It’s all just a fleeting moment, in the rush of things.

    Acceptance is only real if they see your face.

    – Corra

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