Years ago, when our son was little, my sister-in-law lived in Memphis. She invited us to visit and bring our son to a mall with a carousel inside. We had a nice visit and our young son loved the carousel. On the way out of the mall, a cute guy with long hair and an Italian accent tried to beckon us to his kiosk. “May I straight your hair?” He asked. My sister-in-law and I had spent hours putting curl into our straight hair and didn’t take him up on his offer.
But inspiration struck for a book. The man became a French artist instead of an Italian hair straightener. Because I took two years of French in high school to satisfy the foreign language credit to graduate. And the setting became Galveston since I married a Texan and I love the beach. At the time, I had half a dozen unpublished novels. I was busy studying writing and editing techniques, so I could revise the books I’d written into something publishable. I didn’t take time to write the new book.
Once I got my first contract five or six years later, my life turned into a calendar of deadlines with a publisher the French guy wouldn’t fit. But the six books I’d completed before I signed a contract weren’t publishable. I ended up rewriting four of them under contract. One of the others is romantic suspense, which I stink at. And one is longer length and needs polished before it can be submitted. I put my French guy on the back-burner of my mind. But he was always there beckoning me to write his story. In the midst of eleven back to back new books, I thought about him, mentally wrote his story, found time to type the synopsis, and promised him I’d write it one day.
Eight years and fifteen published books later, for the first time since I became published, I don’t have a contract. I really needed a brain rest and took advantage of it. But the time lengthened since my editor left. It took my publisher a while to find a new editor and when they did, she was inundated. I have a proposal in now, but I’m still waiting. In the meantime, I’ve done nothing.
Since 1999, when I decided I wanted to write a book, I haven’t gone over a month or two without writing. I wrote half a dozen novels with no contract and just a hope that they’d someday get published. But now, I can’t seem to bring myself to write a book that may never see the light of day without a contract. I can’t seem to get out of summer mode and back to writing every day. I’ve painted my office, sewn curtains, petted my cat, done laundry, cleaned my house, watched Hallmark movies, read books, and swam. Everything but write.
I’ve taught seminars at writing conferences about not doing what I’ve done this entire year – procrastinate. My French guy book is longer length. And since I’m not published in longer length, I have to finish it. Maybe I’m afraid I can’t write longer length. But I know I can since I have a completed 80,000 word manuscript. I’ve gone back and forth on whether to polish the one I already have or write the French guy. Usually, when I can’t decide what to write, one of my projects will start bothering me. Not this time. So this last week, I looked at my Pinterest Boards for both books.
Guess what? The French guy has started bugging me again. And I figured out that the completed book needs to be 2nd in the series. Today, I plan to start Beau’s story. Whether I’m in the mood or not, whether he’s still bugging me or not, whether I’m inspired or not. I’m just going to write – no matter what. It may stink at first, but I can fix it later. And probably about the time I really get going on the story, I’ll get a contract for my shorter length books. But I’m still going to finish his story.
The sprinkling of pictures is from my Pinterest Board, which is currently private. I keep them private until the book gets published. My heroine is a former English as a Second Language Instructor and current English Instructor at Galveston College. My hero is a French Art Instructor there. Their paths collide when he needs help with his broken English to communicate with his students.
And of course, he’ll ask, “May I sketch your likeness?” The two will end up going on a quest that will have painful ramifications for both of their families. I love having pictures for inspiration and scene ideas. I have the models picked out for my characters too. He’s even cuter than the long ago Italian hair straightener at the Memphis mall and the weirdly dressed artist in the picture above. And I have a confession, I still hot roll my hair.
So tell me: Do you have any projects you’ve put on the back burner for several years? I’ll give a copy of book one in my Texas Cowboy series, Reuniting with the Cowboy to one commentor.