Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I FINALLY finished the first draft of Hartland Book 5: New Beginnings! It’s been such a struggle to write this one, but it’s finished. It didn’t give me a feeling of elation like the other books we’ve finished. This one is making me sit here and look at the 69,440 words of the first draft (before edits and rewrites) going “I can’t believe it’s done.”
I am going to let this one sit for a few weeks before starting on the rewrite/edits. All I know is I’m relieved I finished book 5. This is by far the most difficult book I’ve written. I’m also eager to go onto some of my other book ideas I received while struggling through this one. It’s almost as if I’ve gained my freedom…. HA HA
There’s this saying about writing what you know and it’s true. Even when we write about what we don’t know, things we’ve made up, there are certain elements to the writing that we bring to it through our own life experiences. Many writers make a character loosely based on someone, sometimes several people, they know in real life. I know a few of our characters have several character traits from multiple people, which, in turn, makes them, their own person.
The reason I wanted to talk about life experiences is because my husband and I have regretted moving away from Casper, WY to Savannah, GA. We don’t like it here. We tried so hard for the first couple of months, but it just isn’t for us. I want mountains back. I do not like the swamp. Yes, Savannah, GA is a swamp, no matter what anyone says. Some would think its beautiful, and it is in certain aspects.
There is one aspect here that I cannot get use to and that’s the smell. The stench that some days smells like someone farted in your face. Other days it smells worse. The worst part is that it comes and goes, so there isn’t really a way to get use to it. There can be several days in a row where it doesn’t stink. And then, there are days where you go to a movie and when you come out, the outside smells so horribly it nauseates you. That’s something I can’t get use to.
The beach life, for us, is not worth it. I know this is going to sound odd, but we don’t really care for the beach that much. It’s only okay. That, right there, is something we would have never known had we stayed. Nor would we have been able to experience the heat down here that seems to oppress you. We’ve experienced extreme cold by living in Bismarck, ND. I guess it was time to try the humid heat. Not a fan. Now we know for a fact and learned something we can add into our novels.
The people here are okay. They aren’t much different from the people we left behind in Wyoming. They talk about southern hospitality, but I don’t know if that truly exists anymore. There are just as many rude, inconsiderate people here as there were back in Casper. Probably more, since the metropolitan population of Savanna is roughly 384,000, and the population of the entire state of Wyoming is 585,000.
My point is (if you’ve stayed with me this long) is that although we regret moving here, we wouldn’t have ever had the experiences we’ve had. We would have never seen a person trying to squeegee off ice on a windshield (one of the few times there’s ice down here). That one had us giggling for quite a while.
It’s these experiences that have shaped us. Being here has given us several fantastic ideas for one of the series we’re working on. I don’t think these ideas would have come to us had we stayed back in Casper. That’s kind of the point though. Our paths are set before us. We can choose which way to go. Sometimes these choices don’t always work out in our favor. Sometimes they do. It also depends on how you choose to see life. For us, we choose to see life as a learning experience, as a way to improve ourselves.
Our writing might have taken a hit after we moved here, a little over a year ago. Part of that is because my husband’s mother was killed in a car accident due to a driver texting while driving. The other part is we decided to let ourselves be miserable while here because we didn’t like it. Because it didn’t work out like we had hoped it would. We have another year ahead of us to allow us to pay off some bills, so we have a few choices. 1.) Stay in the same mood and do nothing, waiting for time to pass. 2.) Write and enjoy ourselves and try to enjoy our surroundings. 3.) Or continue to absolutely hate it here and delve into writing to forget the outside world. We have made a vow to attempt number 2. Out of the options, it sounds like the best one. That’s the thing. We have control over a lot in our lives. It’s all in the way we choose to see things. So, today, choose those life experiences. Choose to look at things in a new light.
For the other writers who need a reminder: Remember that life experiences bring life to writing. These emotions we have felt have helped us delve deeper into some of our characters. The things we have seen help us with story development. Everything we go through in life, both good and bad, help with our writing. Don’t fear going out and having life experiences, even if they don’t work out like you planned. Without them, what would writers have to write about?
We’ve been real quiet on all our social media websites lately. We apologize for it, but the simple truth is we’re struggling with writing. There have been far too many days where we haven’t written a single word. A part of that is because of the struggle it’s been in finishing Book 5 in the Hartland series. It’s kind of funny to think about. Books 1-4 came oh so easily. Book 5? Nope. Not in the slightest.
Part of the struggle is trying to combine all the pieces and make sense of all the story lines in the books. A lot happened in books 1-4. I have many plans for book 5. We’re over 50k in words, so not too bad of progress, but it’s taken quite a while to get there. Also, things just kind of keep happening to the characters I didn’t plan on. He He. With that said, I have to rework some of the plot because of what happened and probably come up with a new ending. What happened was just too good to remove. Other writers will know what I’m talking about. Characters truly have a mind of their own!
My aim is to finish the first draft by the end of September! Here’s to hoping I can do that and not get snagged on plot holes and plot developments. Characters need to do what they’re supposed to do! Silly people.
As much as we love writing, we have another writing confession…. We also hate it. We have a love/hate relationship with writing. There are some days we absolutely love writing and can hammer out 5,000 words or more on a project. And then, there are days where we can barely write 50 words. That’s okay though. The thing is as long as you continue to write and plug away at your WIP, even if it’s only 50 words at a time, it will eventually get done. The important thing is that you keep working at it. Never give up, even if sometimes writing is difficult. It took us a while to admit it, even to ourselves, but it’s okay to admit something is difficult, even if it’s your chosen career path. Things are going to be difficult some days. There’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, it’s those difficult days that help us grow as writers.
For us, the best written scenes are the ones we struggle with. We like to think it’s because it’s such a struggle and we have to sit there and think precisely what we want to write. Often times, we delete sentences or paragraphs and start over in these scenes.
We know we’ve written a few posts like this in the past, but it’s something every writer needs a reminder about from time to time. I know we do. Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea “we should be writing” that we forget writing isn’t everything. It’s only a part of who we are. So, if there are days you can only hammer out a few words then there are days like that. It isn’t something we should really, really worry about unless we’re under a deadline because of a contract.
Enjoy life. Enjoy writing. Don’t give up.
We haven’t written anything in 3 days! That’s saying something for us. We always write something, even if it’s only a paragraph or just a sentence. But, it’s been 3 days since either of us have wanted to write. Sometimes, although we love to write, we need to take a break from it. While we’ve taken this break, it feels as if we’re a little more refreshed and focused now.
Life is supposed to be enjoyable, and so is writing. But when writing starts to feel like something else, one needs to take a break from it and reflect on why it’s feeling different. Writing, for us, isn’t supposed to feel like a chore, not when we’ve always loved writing and creating new worlds and people. However, writing had started to feel like it was something we HAD to do, and it’s because we lost focus. We were focusing more on the end result than on the enjoyable process of creating and writing. We were starting to write for other people. That’s something neither of us have ever wanted to do. We want to write the stories we want to write, not what we think others want us to. The reason we write for ourselves is because we know not everyone is going to like our stories or the way we write. That’s okay as long as we like it.
On a side note, it’s also nice to know there are people out there who enjoy our stories. We are fortunate enough to have a few fans who absolutely love our stories and we always look forward to hearing from them. We also enjoy hearing from others who have stumbled across one of our novels.
Now that we refocused our priorities again, the pages and stories are coming easier again. Thank goodness! Hopefully, we won’t slip again. I’m not saying that we won’t. We’re only human. The important thing is we try not to lose our focus and that we continue to enjoy doing what we do.
A note to other writers out there. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Writing is hard enough without the extra harsh criticism coming from ourselves. It’s okay to be critical of your own work, but don’t become so critical of it, you start to hate doing what you do. Chances are, even if you go over your manuscript a thousand times, there’s going to be some mistake in there that someone will point out. It’s okay. I’ve read a few traditionally published books that had several mistakes in them. I’ve read indie books with only one or two. It all depends on the editor. Mistakes happen and are easily overlooked sometimes. Just remember to enjoy yourself. Life is too short for anything less.
I was to have book 4 of the Hartland, The False Gods, series published already but one of my beta readers was delayed. I still haven’t heard back from them…. So, what I’m going to do since I’ve gotten the green light on the other beta readers is press forward. I shouldn’t have waited this long for them, especially if they don’t have the common courtesy to email me or shoot me a Facebook message telling me something like “life got in the way, sorry I didn’t finish your book”, or “I didn’t like the book and I have no good things to say about it”. That’s two things I cannot stand: lack of courtesy and lack of communication. I know they’re not dead as they’ve been on Facebook posting things. Otherwise, I’d be concerned.
Anyway, we’re aiming for a release date of July 12th! Just 6 days away. I wanted to read through the manuscript one more time, looking for any mistakes I may have missed. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book so I’m coming to it with a fresh set of eyes. I’m so excited to reveal the 4th book in the 5 book series. Book 5 is already halfway through its first draft as well. For those of you who may have forgotten what the cover looks like, here it is. Enjoy your day. I have a busy few days ahead of me!