Burnout & Hearing Voices: Why This is a Good Thing
Burnout can be a good thing.
Two days ago I sat with my agent Rachelle Gardner and signed a contract for a two-book deal with Howard Books. And yes, I made sure my husband Rob took pictures to record the moment. My debut novel, a contemporary romance with the working title Wish You Were Here, will be published May 2012.
Yeah, I'm still smiling.
Me--an avowed I'm-not-a-fiction-writer writer--landing a two-book deal?
How did I cross from the black and white world of nonfiction to the "Can you hear the voices?" world of fiction?
Three years ago, I felt as creative as, well, an old, dried up ink pen. I told Rob I would never write another word. Never, ever, ever. He came home several days later and found me typing away.
Rob: "What are you doing?"
Rob: "But you said you were never going to write another word. Never, ever, ever."
Me: "This doesn't count. I'm writing a novel. Just for fun. No one will ever see this."
And for a while, that's all the story was. Fun. No pressure. I ignored all but the most necessary nonfiction deadlines--I do edit a magazine, after all--and created characters. Chose names. Careers. Plotted crises.
One day as I ran errands, my hero and heroine started talking to me at the same time. Instead of driving to the nearest pharmacy and requesting meds, I listened. I also asked Daniel and Allison, my hero and heroine, to take turns talking to me, instead of talking over one another.
You see what happened? I heard Voices. And talked back to them.
Burnout--supposedly a very bad thing--had turned into a bend in the writing road. And around that bend lurked the Dark Side, aka the unexpected opportunity to write fiction.
Over time, my perspective, my passion, my commitment to fiction changed. Other writers helped me get where I was last Saturday--signing on that oh-so-unexpected dotted line. To hear about them, check back Wednesday.
(Ah, a cliffhanger blog post. See, I've learned a few things these past three years!)