First of all, a big thanks to Wendy for letting me hop on her blog and yak at all of you.
I started writing when my kids were very young—both to escape mountains of laundry, but also to keep my sanity. After all, there’s only so much Barney a person can take and remain unmedicated. But there was one problem. There were too many voices in my head. And I don’t mean my characters’ voices, because that’s a good thing. No, I heard my mother’s voice—I knew she’d disapprove of anything above a G rating, my pastor’s voice—he’d question my saggy morals, and even—gasp—what if my kids someday saw that Mommy wrote all kinds of naughty words and shook their little heads in disappointment? I was my own worst enemy and I censored myself constantly.
Eventually, my kids started school and I was in full time Mom mode. I told myself there was no time for writing. I also had a couple of foot surgeries thrown in for fun. But I always thought someday…someday I’d go back to it. I jotted my ideas down in a journal and wished I had more time.
Now, my kids are pretty much grown—at least chronologically. So I decided to take the NaNoWriMo challenge and start writing again. For real this time. No censoring voices, no holding back. No fear.
It felt strange, this new freedom. I used dirty words with abandon and chortled the whole time. I wrote about sexy bad guys and missing potheads and a harajuku loli-inspired girl. The self-imposed rules were out the window and I loved every liberating minute of it. Occasionally, I would stop and ask myself, should I write that? Then I would ignore myself and continue. And if my book didn’t sell, at least I had written what I wanted.
But who was I kidding? Of course I wanted it to sell. I wanted everyone (except my mother and pastor) to read my book and laugh along with the kooky characters I’d let myself create. And it turns out that my eighteen-year-old son—who wasn’t at all shocked by four-letter words and sizzling sexual tension—was my biggest cheerleader.
I guess if I had one piece of advice to offer it would be stay true to who you are as a writer. Let the characters speak for themselves and don’t hold back because of what people might think. Remember—no fear.
I’m so glad I got out of my own way and freed myself to write the crazy that was in my head. Turns out my editor loved my characters as much as I did. Diners, Dives and Dead Ends is coming out July 17th from HeneryPress.
Now I just have to break the news to my mom.