Stop and smell the roses
Yet another cliché among many, and definite no-no for writers, but should it be? I mean, these idioms originated for a reason, right? Rich in tradition, their meanings are deep and profound and transcend generations. Why shouldn’t we use them?
Because who wants to be same old-same old? We’re trend setters, breath-stoppers, writers, artists. We’re original thinkers. We create clichés, we don’t copy them!
Aw, pipe down with all that hub-bub. Truth be known, I like some clichés, especially this one (and I LOVE roses). In fact, “stop and smell the roses” is a sentiment near and dear to my heart.
Almost two years ago, I’d had enough of the writing business. Okay, that’s not really accurate. I’d had enough of the “rejection” business. Now we writers understand this is all part of the process. You send out your wonderfully written manuscript to agents and editors only to have it rejected via an impersonal form letter.
Agents and editors are busy people. There are a lot of aspiring authors. There’s simply not enough time in the day for anything more. It’s not intended to be an insult. It’s just the way the industry works. Expected. But for some reason, this rejection swiped the sidewalk clear out from under me. Apparently, my thick skin was wearing thin. But didn’t they understand I was going to be the next #1 New York Time’s Bestselling Author? Didn’t they realize this book would make their career?
Oh they realized all right—it just wasn’t what I had hoped!
So I stepped away from the beast; the “writing” beast. I needed to gain perspective, clarity, and the only the way I would be able to achieve that was by taking time away. Much like editing my work-in-progress, I had to put some space between me and the business of writing else I never “see” what needs fixing. So off I went to my garden, intent on focusing on the important things in life. (Yes, I dragged the kids to the garden with me.) Growing backyard vegetables was a new venture for us and I looked forward to learning more about it from my green-thumbed neighbors.
And what an adventure it’s turned out to be! Not only can I grow a mean Hungarian Wax Pepper but I can chop it, spice it and can it, too. Who would have thought there was a pioneer woman hiding out in this Miami-raised girl? Not me. But I am the adventurous type so it makes sense I’d take to the outdoors and make candy out of sunshine.
But of course my mind refused to stop crafting characters and twisting plots. (Surprise!)
Tucked away between rows of corn and carrots I began to form analogies between plants and life, plants and kids and men. Mother Nature does have a sense of humor, you know! If you like, you can read more about it at BloominThyme.
Yet I yearned for my romance characters; my sassy ones, my sweet ones, my delectably handsome and sexy ones. Writing women’s fiction with strong romantic elements was something I could put off no longer and back to the WIP I went. Many professionals had expressed interest in my work, my voice, my talent (though all wanted to change it in some fashion or another) so I decided I’d do it myself. After a final round of professional editing and critiques, satisfied it was the best it could be, I self-published my first novel this summer titled Jennifer’s Garden.
“Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the stew.” Or pasta sauce, manuscript… It’s true. If allowed to run unchecked, opinions can shape and re-shape a manuscript until it hardly resembles your original vision. But writing is something I do for myself and will continue to do—traditionally published or not. Sharing my work with others is a joy and a thrill and a dream come true.
Would it be a dream come true to reach the New York Time’s Bestseller’s List? You bet. Absolutely. But the only way I’ll get there is with the help of my readers. And at the end of the day, it’s their opinion that counts most.