You’re Not Alone

I don’t know about you, but shortly after the rush of the new year and all the terrific resolutions, intentions and big ol’ goal charts, something happens to me. I sort of sink into a funk. I’m not sure whether it’s the season – here in Louisiana it’s lifeless with yellowed grass, gray skies and fickle temperatures. Or maybe it’s the whole holiday hangover thing – the end of January rolls around and you realize it’s a long time until Spring Break. And let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is hit or miss. Or perhaps after this “high” of meeting your goals, drinking eight glassses of water and working out four times a week just like you promised on New Year’s Day, you get tired of being “good.” I’m not sure which it is, but something happens to me. And it’s not really good for me as a writer.

Disclaimer: I know I should have done Rita’s poor writer’s spa day. I probably wouldn’t feel this way.

But still, I get a little depressed.

And this time it was brought on by something I thought I went through alone. But guess what?

I’m not alone.

And YOU are not alone.

So a few weeks ago, several Rubies got to talking on the Ruby loop about our support systems. I realize there are many,  many writers out there who have wonderful, supportive families. Writers whose husbands who don’t mind a bit if his wife is, say, on a tight deadline and can’t fix dinner, wash his T-shirts or watch Big Bang Theory with him. And perhaps they have children who don’t mind if they can’t toss the ball in the yard with them, take them to the batting cages or watch reruns of Friday Night Lights. Yes, there exist writers who have a support system beyond compare.

I’m not one of those writers.

And when we started talking about husbands who sometimes stepped on our toes or pulled out those big giant pins to pop our bubbles, I felt better because I realized I wasn’t the only one having to do a song and dance to make my writing sound peachy, wonderful and apt to make us thousands upon thousands of dollars. It wasn’t a” misery love company thing”, it was more a “I know how you feel because I’m handling it too.” Now my husband is not some moustache-twirling villian determined to rip my dreams from my pudgy little hands. He’s a really good guy, but he’s pragmatic to the extreme, so when I signed contracts for 16 books, he figured I’d embarked on a career that could help us put a little back for retirement and pay for the fun things in life. It sorta happened, but not to the extent I had hoped. The industry is a tricky place, right? Self-publishing, new publishers with marketing savvy and ereaders out the wazoo. Heh, didn’t plan on all that when I signed on with Harlequin in 2009. But explaining the industry is hard to do to a layman – heck, I’m confused much of the time myself. So currently, as I stare out at the bleak February sky and brainstorm new books, he’s asking tough questions about my future…about the likelihood of my carving a true career out of my passion. I don’t have any answers, but what I do know is I’m not alone.

And YOU are not alone.

You are not the only one who worries about your numbers on Amazon. You’re not the only one who sweats over the amount of conflict in the current work in progress. You’re not the only one who obsessively checks her inbox for that response from that editor who said she wanted more. You aren’t the only one who thinks you’re a crappy writer. You’re also not the only one who strays from your outline, rolls your eyes at reviews, or cries when someone gives you a crappy score on your contest entry. You’re not the only person who has been rejected three times in one day (happened to me on my birthday for goodness sake!) or thought you’d final in the Golden Heart (but didn’t). You’re not the only writer who has pronounced the editors name wrong, misspelled a word in your query or read a  NYT bestseller and wondered what in the hell that was all about.  You are not the only person who wonders if you should have stuck with knitting rather than taking up writing (after all you could be making a fortune on Etsy) and you’re not the only person who has doubt about everything you write, submit and publish. You’re also not the only person who feels like a failure – as a writer or as a mother, wife or daughter.

You are not alone.

It’s a wonderful feeling to know there are others out there who know how it feels. That’s why the Rubies started this blog. Not so we could sell you our books (though we’re always happy to have new readers), but because we wanted other writers to know there is a place where people “get” you. Because sometimes the other “regular” people in your world will not.  I find great comfort in knowing other people feel the way I feel. There’s something to be said for surrounding yourself with people who have been there before…or are sitting right beside you trying like mad to figure out the same thing. It’s nice to have a hand to hold.

So as you put your fingers to keyboard today, take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.

So today I’m challenging you to recommit yourself to you dreams. If you haven’t been meeting your Winter Writing Festival goals, give it another shot. IF you haven’t dropped in the chatroom for a sprint, chekc out the calendar and make a plan to “meet” some new friends. If you don’t belong to a writer’s organization, take a chance on one. And if you feel alone, know that the Rubies are always here to listen and help (as best we can).  Virtual chocolate and hugs for everyone!

So what are you not alone in? Go ahead and let it out. I can just about guarantee there’s someone else who has the same neurosis you have. This is like writer’s therapy day on the RSS. And if we can’t help you, flip back and find Rita’s post on the spa day :)

75 Responses to “You’re Not Alone”

  1. Kristina Mathews says:


    Just what I needed. I tossed and turned Sunday night, unable to sleep after a crushing Super Bowl loss, worry over whether or not my son is going to make the baseball team- he’s good but stiff competetition and the fact he played football instead of fall ball, oh and my new book seems to be stuck at chapter 3. Plus, I took the plunge and sent my recently completed MS off and now I’m thinking I made a huge mistake it needs…something… I’m sure an editor could help me but I don’t have one yet.

    So yeah, it’s good to know I’m not alone. I am so glad I took the leap from writing stories in my head, then secretly hiding partially completed manuscripts under the bed or in files labelled something obscure like “household tips” where no one would dare to look, and finally taking the bold step of joining RWA, participating in contests, festivals and writers retreats. I’ve met some amazing writers, either in person or online.

    Besides, I’ve come too far to back down now.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Sometimes the overthinking and the doubt can shred our confidence and steal our joy in what we do. Maybe it’s silly but just knowing someone else is going through the exact same thing makes it a tiny bit better. Having other writers to take me in hand or give me a push up is priceless. I’m so glad you took the risk…isn’t that something to be proud about in itself? And getting stuck in chapter three is always hard because you’re usually transitioning. Try skipping to the next scene and then coming back to the transition afterwards. I had to do that in the last book, but it worked. I knew what needed to go in the beginning of four to get me to five :)

      • Kristina Mathews says:

        Liz,I think I’ve figured out what my problem is. I’m trying to get them into bed too soon. I wanted to write something sexier, but having it over by chapter 4 isn’t it. So, I have some ideas about keeping them apart a bit longer.

        As for the supportive husbands, I’ve got one, but he’s getting impatient. Wants me to flood the market with submissions, but I feel like I need to do a little more research before I submit to every single e-pub out there. I want more than just being able to say, “Yeah, I’m published.” I want my book to find readers outside of my family and writer’s group.

    • Laura Alfod says:

      I’m fortunate because I have a fantastic husband and he supports me like a steel I-beam. He’s the one who can see me better than I can see myself and encourages me to stay the path because whether I like it or not, I am a writer.

      A horrible, terrible, shallow POV writer who’s lost her voice. But, still saddled with the need to express.

      Thanks for sharing. Knowing I’m not alone is the best part of reading and writing.


      • Liz Talley says:

        Indeed it is, Laura. You are incredibly lucky. My husband doesn’t doubt my talent, he doubts the fairness of the publishing world. But it is like the rest of the world, and it’s sink or swim. It’s much easier to swim when others aren’t dragging you down. So you’re blessed to have a life jacket around you. I suppose my husband isn’t dragging me down, more like driving by in a boat suggesting maybe I should turn back to what I know. So I don’t want him painted as a bad guy. He’s one of the best husbands out there – he’s just not a dreamer.

        As for POV, that’s fixable. Writing takes practice and time and talent. Very few writers write brilliantly out of the gate. Usually it takes time. So give yourself that break. Know that the more you write, the more you attend workshops, the more you study the craft, the closer you will get to being the writer you want to be. And to make you feel better about it, when I come to the NOLA meeting on Sat. I’ll be bringing my earliest writing. You will feel so good about yourself after reading that crap. LOL.

        • Laura Alford says:

          Mark’s got a PhD in Finance– he’s a terrible realist. He just balances the reality of the bleeding budget against everyone’s happiness because mom’s doing something she really doesn’t like to make money.

      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Yes, Laura, you ARE a writer!! And if the need to express is in there, you can and will get past the “oh, no, I’ve lost my voice” panic. Give yourself some time to just think and dream (and lock your Inner Editor in a closet somewhere for awhile). The stories will flow again before too long!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That’s a HUGE leap, Kristina–the one in which you stop hiding what you’re doing and start saying, “Damn it, this IS what I’m doing.” Good for you!!!! Keep on going!!

    • Kat Cantrell says:

      Are our husbands related? They must be long-lost brothers. I swear I had this EXACT conversation with my dear non-mustache-twirling husband last week. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you’ve worked so hard (SO HARD) and the seven-figure checks are not in the mail. Heck, I’d take a four-figure check at this point. :)

      My husband has sacrificed a lot to get me where I am and I have to honor that. So I’ll be joining the ranks of those who work a day job in addition to being a published author. Lots of other people do it. I can too.

      I appreciate the reminder that I’m not alone. I’m just sorry you’re going through it too Liz. I’ll pray for you as you try to figure out the next steps. Hugs.

      So–since I’m not alone–if you work an outside job, have a family and write, HOW do you find the energy? Anyone?

      • Kat Cantrell says:

        Okay, did not mean to embed this in the post! Sorry

        • Liz Talley says:

          No problem, Kat :) Embed away.

          I think men are naturally more practical and thus success is defined by the amount of zeroes behind the figure, right? I’m not upset with him. He makes a lot of sense, and if I were in his shoes, I might be questionning the same thing. He’s proud of me, but he wants my time to count for something. And from the outside looking in, other than my books for sale on amazon or B&N, he’s not seeing a big return for the amount of time I spend. But, hey, the Beatles made less than nothing for several years when they were starting out. I’m trying to be patient but address his concerns. Hugs to you, lady.

      • Kim Law says:

        When work was really crazy, I basically accepted that I would give myself the evenings off (to remain sane), but that I would have to work LONG hours with my writing on the weekends. It wasn’t the best choice, but was sometimes what I had to do. Depending on the projects, sometimes I just didn’t have the mental capacity to do anything else during the week.

        When I could write a bit during the week, I mentally didn’t let myself think about the workday being over (when I left the office). So, I would get home, go straight to the computer (as if I’d just driven to another meeting or something) and sit down for an hour or two before I came out, declared the workday over, and did dinner and spent time with the husband. It was about tricking the mind for me. Otherwise it was too depressing to have to write in the evenings AFTER work.

    • Ahh. This post hit close to home. So here goes. I had a mildly successful run of erotic romance books and a fairly large support system in place. Then I got a chance to follow my writing heart and pursue fantasy. I couldn’t do both and maintain any kind if life outside the computer. Three years, a marriage, a baby, a published book y a contract for four more later, I still feel like I’m floundering in the publishing world. I know the contract is awesome but I’m just not finding a balance to hone work life that leaves me feeling everyone gets their due. I feel almost invisible on author loops because I haven’t had time to build those relationships. My blog is floundering with little or no comments–even when I have a give away and I’m still making more on my erotic stories than my fantasy and I haven’t promo’d them in three years. Yes it sounds like I’m whining. The baby just turned 8 mos old and is finally sleeping about 20 minutes a stretch. (long story but dr says she just doesnt havexslep neds if average baby…) My husband is pretty good but he went back to school and needs to study at night and honestly doesn’t understand publishing. Not that I do. ;) so yup slightly depressed, stressed and all that. But thank you for this post.

    • Um… reposting in the right place. ; ) This is what happens when I try to post from my iPhone while nursing the baby. ; )

      Ahh. This post hit close to home. So here goes. I had a mildly successful run of erotic romance books and a fairly large support system in place. Then I got a chance to follow my writing heart and pursue fantasy. I couldn’t do both and maintain any kind if life outside the computer. Three years, a marriage, a baby, a published book y a contract for four more later, I still feel like I’m floundering in the publishing world. I know the contract is awesome but I’m just not finding a balance to hone work life that leaves me feeling everyone gets their due. I feel almost invisible on author loops because I haven’t had time to build those relationships. My blog is floundering with little or no comments–even when I have a give away and I’m still making more on my erotic stories than my fantasy and I haven’t promo’d them in three years. Yes it sounds like I’m whining. The baby just turned 8 mos old and is finally sleeping about 20 minutes a stretch. (long story but dr says she just doesn’t have sleep needs if average baby…) My husband is pretty good but he went back to school and needs to study at night and honestly doesn’t understand publishing. Not that I do. so yup slightly depressed, stressed and all that. But thank you for this post.

      • Liz talley says:

        I always wondered how you handled things with a baby on your hip and those crazy deadlines. I think you’ve done fine. There is such a pressure to be “out there” in cyber world as if blogging, FBing and twittering everyday will bring you more readers. I’m not sure that’s the case so give yourself a break there.

  2. Elisa Beatty says:

    Amen to this, Liz!

    Being a writer is so, so, so much different from what most people assume, especially with the craziness of the publishing industry these days. It’s SOOOOOO important to be able to talk to other writers who truly UNDERSTAND.

    I feel sort of the same way about being a teacher. The general public thinks you get so much time off, and they have no clue about the meetings after school till 6 p.m., and then the staying up till midnight to finish the college letters of recommendation due, then getting up at 4 p.m. to finish grading the stack of essays you have to turn back to your class at 8 a.m…. and then throwing your heart into getting rooms full of teenagers to care about learning at least until 3 o’clock…and then the meetings and all the rest all over again (not to mention squeezing in re-reading King Lear and Mrs. Dalloway and Great Expectations because you’re teaching all of those the next day…and the teens coming in to talk to you in tears because their boyfriend broke up with them or they just found out they can’t afford to go to the college of their dreams…and then all the $@#$*@#@*!! paperwork for everything….) [Sorry, guess I DID need to vent.] My husband’s an English teacher too, and I don’t know how either of us would get by without the other understanding EXACTLY what it’s like in the trenches. Of course, the downside is that all too often, neither of us has time to do the dishes or laundry or cook or vacuum or watch TV or go to the gym…and we earn ridiculously little money. SIGH!!!

    To end on a more positive note, though: I’m grateful constantly for the Rubies!!! This support network is one of the most wonderful things in the universe!

    • Kim Law says:

      I love a good rant, Elisa :)

    • Liz Talley says:

      And he wants me to go back to teaching….

      LOL. I know how you feel. Summers are free so we can find our sanity. It goes about mid-September and hids the rest of the year. Yes, I appreciate you, Elisa. Not only do you so selflessly give yourself to so many, but you really are the nucleus of this Sisterhood. You’re our glue, baby.

      • Kristina Mathews says:

        Going back to teaching? Yikes. I thouroughly enjoy working in education again, but I could not go back full time. There’s too much other stuff that gets in the way of the teaching.

        Summers off? Spent at workshops and curriculum councils and don’t foget Common Core trainings. Then working on planning for a classroom that could change the week before school starts.

        The six hours a day you work. That’s just the six hours you spend with children. If your lucky, you get a bathroom break or lunch. Usually not both, because you need to make a phone call or copy or check in with the nurse who is only on campus one day a week. Then you have planning, grading, prep. Not to mention filing, recording, researching. Trying again to reach the parents of the students you’re not reaching because of something going on at home.

        I could go on, and on and on, but I have to get back to school. Just not full time. Thank you very much.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Awww, Liz…thanks!!

  3. Kim Law says:

    Really brilliant post today, Liz. Thanks for opening yourself up like that. I think there are probably hundreds (thousands??) of writers out there that could stand to hear this. I’ll definitely be sharing it around.

    I’m one of the ones who’s pretty lucky, support-wise, but I have plenty of neurotic writer things that I’m sure I’m not alone in. I’m never going to be able to pull off this book and finish it as well as I started it (and it’s a Kindle serial and already freaking being published!!!) I suck at coming up with good conflict that hasn’t been done to death. I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator, and I must be a masochist because I continually put myself into crazy time crunches that should kill me, but instead just make me a little more crazy. I hate writing!! No, I don’t really, but so many times I do, you know? Hmmm…I’m sure there are so many more. We writers have issues. And I’m thrilled it’s crazy person day here at the Ruby blog :) (At least, that’s what my mind turned it into ;)

    Again, great post. I hope it helps many see that they are not alone.

    • Liz Talley says:

      I hope it helps, too, Kim. After I wrote this I had doubts. Felt a little like I hung my hubbie out to dry when in actuality he’s such a great man who loves me without fail. Our marriage is about as rock solid as it gets, but we’re human. And right now, both he and I are trying to figure out the best path, not just for my career, but for our family. They always come first.

      I’m glad to hear your neurosis. You are always so organized and together. Pulling that curtain back a little and showing how vulnerable we all can be can help others to feel they’re not alone :) Thanks!

      • Kim Law says:

        Organized and together. *snort* The organization is a part of my procrastination skills. And I’ve never been together. In my life. I’m a mess. :)

        But occasionally I do hide it well ;)

  4. Kate Parker says:

    My hubbie is behind my writing career. Of course, he was busy for quite some time telling me to change what I was writing. After ignoring him for a long time, I changed POV and emphasis, and I SOLD! Ever since then, it’s been I told you so.

    Funny thing is, I’ve never caught him reading my writing, but he’s made comments that tells me he has.

    He’s disabled, so he’s around the house all day. He does the dishes, but that’s it. He’s behind my writing, but he doesn’t help around the house. We all have complaints, but I think I wouldn’t trade mine for Liz’s or Elisa’s.

    • Liz Talley says:

      I’m so glad you listened to your inner self. Deep down we always seem to know what is right for us, but it’s nice to have friends along the way :)

  5. Tamara Hogan says:

    Who would have dreamed that, when signing multi-book, multi-year traditional publishing contracts in 2009, with Kindle barely a glimmer in Amazon’s eye, that the publishing industry would evolve in so many directions so quickly? That there would be so many new opportunities? So many choices, and, yeah, so many new career paths against which to compare yourself and STILL feel inadequate? ;-)

    Thanks for this, Liz. It’s the silence that’s deadly. Knowledge is power, and we’re all better off when we share it with each other.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Amen, Tamara. Silence can kill you, so opening up and saying “I’m scared I’m doing all the wrong things” invites others to share your load and give you a shoulder to lean upon. I’m so glad we have this blog in which we can do that.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      LOL, Tammy! Amazing how the forces of the universe conspire…

  6. Missy says:

    Thank you Liz. This was a fantastic article and spot on for my life too and just what I needed to hear today.

  7. Susan Wilson says:

    This made me weep, it was just such a relief to know it isn’t just me! I have been really struggling to rekindle my writing flame after being diagnosed with BPD or borderline personality disorder last year. Istill want to write, but just can’t seem to focus my passion. Any ideas n how to get past this would be hugely appreciated. X

    • Susan, cheers to you for continuing to follow your passion. As for focus, can you try “baby steps” – i.e., carving out little chunks of time that is just for writing, or choosing one goal a day/week to focus on? Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the big picture and all that needs to be done to make writing a career. (But I guess it depends on what kind of “focus” you’re talking about – is it an attention thing, or just wanting to know what to do when?)

      • Liz Talley says:

        Writing is a part of you and it can be very therapudic. I’d suggest writing strictly for fun in order to stimulate those creative juices. Sometimes certain medicines can affect your energy so give yourself a break if you don’t feel like you can actually pick ou the pen or face the keyboard. But if you can make it a bit of a habit, even if it’s a hundred words a day on something you WANT to write, then I’d celebrate that. Also, there are some great supportive groups, like Amy Atwell’s GIAM groups that are there for sheer encouragment and goal setting. I always think surrounding yourself with friends who understand the writer’s life is key. Hugs to you and I hope that muse comes winging back soon.

        • Susan Wilson says:

          More great ideas, thanks ladies your lovely :-) I will give all of your suggestions a try and let you know how it pans out. Really appreciate you taking the time to help me out. X

      • Susan Wilson says:

        That’s a great idea about baby steps! Never thought of that :-) I still desire to write – very much, but find that when I sit down to do any my mind just goes blank.

  8. Magdalen says:

    Liz — Yes, none of us is alone, and isn’t that comfort when one of the known side effects of being a writer is a bone-crushing sense of isolation from time to time?

    I just published my first contemporary romance. I can’t say my husband isn’t supportive–he’s my publisher! And we’re retired, so we’re not relying on the money, although it’ll be nice. But when you celebrate your book’s Amazon ranking going from 500,000th to under 200,000th…there’s room for self-doubt. And I just sent the second book to my editor after surviving that hideous moment, near the end of the book, when I was convinced it was crap.

    Friends make all the difference. I love the Firebirds (Hi, Kat! Hi, Kim!) but I’m doubly blessed because I have classmates in my MFA program I can kvetch with. None of them write romance or belong to RWA or even self-publish novels…but they’re all struggling to get words written and stories revised and critiques survived.

    Thanks for writing this. It’s brave, and like all acts of bravery, it will save someone from a similar pain.

    • Kim Law says:

      Hi Magdalen!!! :)

      It’s kind of sad, the things we celebrate sometimes, isn’t it? Like my first revise and resubmit. I was thrilled! My husband was pissed :) He didn’t get it. But still, kind of funny that I was so thrilled for that rejection.

    • Kat Cantrell says:

      I had to laugh–I was thrilled when my book dropped below 100,000. :) So right there with ya! And it was a brave post. Liz is awesomesauce.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Thank you, Magdelan. I’m not sure how brave it is, but I did want to be honest about my journey. I think it’s important to show others our vulnerabilty because it allows us to grow as people. Nothing wrong with letting people know you’re not perfect.

  9. Liz, my emotions are running really close to the surface lately, so this post hit me hard (in a good way). It would be so much easier if there was a magic formula — do X and you’ll get Y. It’s too bad the publishing industry doesn’t work that way!

    I’m going through an identity crisis of sorts, lately. And while it’s always good to re-evaluate who you are and who you want to be, I never thought I’d be doing it this way. So, it’s nice to have the reminder that, no matter what, the Rubies have my back. :)

  10. Beautiful post, Liz. I’m one of the fortunate ones who has a husband who understands what I do. Well, not really understands, but as a professor, he often works odd hours, has to carve out extra time for preparation of lessons, grading, etc. So he *gets* that.

    What I struggle with is myself. Because I don’t make nearly enough to justify the time I spend on writing, on occasion I doubt my pursuit of this career. And, I continually tell myself I should be spending more time on household stuff, or giving hubby extra time for his stuff, and not grumbling when I’M on deadline, or whatever. Then I remind myself that (for some insane reason) I CHOSE to pursue this dream, and that a career in the arts will never be easy. But it’ll be FUN. ;) At least, most days…but what job doesn’t have its ups and downs?

    Thanks, all, for the great, inspiring post & comments.

    • Liz Talley says:

      I think that guilt of not making more for the amount of time I spend at the keyboard does eat away at me. I’m pretty sure if I were on the NYT bestseller list and making a high six figures, he wouldn’t be worried…but it would still have it’s trials.

      Every writer has doubt, no matter big or little. There is always the concern that writing affects your being a good mother, friend, wife, and daughter. Ultimately, we have to decide if writing is worth giving up some things, worth being a less than best self in other aspects of our life. Thanks!

  11. Kay Hudson says:

    Wonderful post, Liz! I’m counting on a shot of writer’s adrenalin when I come to Shreveport for the NOLA conference in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I’m really excited and happy for my Starcatcher and Firebird sisters as they hire agents and sell books and celebrate release days, but I can’t help feel like the gawky, geeky kid who is always picked last (if ever) for the team!

    As for support systems, I’m a widow with no kids, so I am so thankful for my local RWA chapter friends and all my long distance writer buddies! What did we do before we could meet in cyberspace?

  12. Debbie says:

    On paper I have my family’s support. But besides the financial benefits of returning to a job with the immediate reward of compensation for my efforts, I miss the interaction of others. The husband works long hours and definitely supports me in that way. He even supports my attending workshops and conferences when those dollars could be perhaps better spent on other things, things that would reward him directly for his long days.

    I can’t say to him – I want more. I want him to ask about my writing, who my characters are, what nugget of history did I discover today. How many new words did I write? Do I want to discuss plot points or ways to make my male characters more manly. And my children – both young adults – say they support my writing, but I want action not just words. Ask to read my pages; tell me what works, what doesn’t. Give me the confidence to continue along the path whether it’s the story or the career. Make it easier for me to sign up for that conference or to enter that contest. Make me feel it’s a solid investment and instead of an indulgence.

    That’s what they can give me. Afterall, I invested the same in their dreams. That’s the kind of support that writers need. Unfortunately, it seems you have to be a writer to understand that. And that is why RWA and local chapters and social media that connects you to other writers is so important.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Ah, I get you Debbie. You should see my own mother’s eyes glaze over when I start telling her about my plot. But start discussing plot with other writers, and they’re throwing out ideas, questioning your heroes’ motives and telling you to send them the first chapter. My husband hasn’t read a single one of my books, but that’s okay. He comes to my signings and hugs me when I feel giddy about accomplishments. I understand that this is my world, and part of me likes having it all to myself.

      Thanks, Debbie

      • My husband read my first book, The Memory of You, and said it was SAPPY. What does Mr. Not-a-romantic-bone-in-his-body know. He hasn’t read a single one of my other books. So you’re not ALONE, Liz. :)

        • Kim Law says:

          My husband read the first chapter of my second book (that I wrote, not published) and it scared him. It had a major sexy tone going. He hasn’t read anything else! Well, except one scene in CAUGHT ON CAMERA that I thought he should read before he took a copy to his mother.

          His mother didn’t get a copy, btw.

  13. Phoenix says:

    Amen, Liz.

    • Phoenix says:

      Oops! Let’s try that again …

      Amen, Liz. I feel like the cheese, you know that nursery rhyme, or whatever, that ends “and the cheese stands alone”. In my ‘real’ world my writing is known by a few close friends as my Secret Project. Yep, no one knows that I write, except for a few online contacts, none of which I’m really close to. So a really solitary pursuit.

      And, these days, not much pursuing is going on unless you count chasing a nebulous, fleeing plot. And, I’m revising my ms which is so much crap. The plotting issue is my greatest distress since I didn’t anticipate it. I thought that was one element of this crazy business I’d be ok with.

      I’ve lost all motivation and I’m at the point where I suspect I’m not a writer, after all. I’m close to just bidding the whole thing goodbye.

      Ok. Here endeth the whining.

      • Liz talley says:

        Hugs, Phoenix, and know you can always come here to whine if needed. Being a writer ain’t easy or everyone would do it. I’m crossing my fingers you catch hold of that plot and beat it into shape. The cool thing about being online is that you can have online critique partners or brainstormed (is that even a word?) Check out GIAM. I love the support I get there.

  14. Sometimes having a supportive spouse can create stress by itself. When your husband (like mine) has worked overtime his whole life to give you the freedom to chase your dreams–which 13 years into the chase still had not earned more than a few hundred dollars in contest prizes, and he keeps saying, “Don’t worry, you’re my retirement plan,”–it creates a boatload of pressure.

    Most of my stress comes from my fear of letting down my unbelievably supportive husband.

    • Kim Law says:

      I understand…but that’s really nice. Unwavering faith. I love it.

    • Liz Talley says:

      You’ve held up under the pressure well, and I’m so proud of your successes. You took your career in hand and I love that about you. This business is topsy-turvy – just think of all the changes that have happened in such short time. It’s amazing some of us are still afloat.

      But I’m stubborn about my career. And you are, too. I’m thinking you’ll eat well into your late 90s :)

  15. Such a great and timely article, at least for me. I have a full time job with a boss who isn’t nice and is in over his head, so he takes it out on those who work for me.
    Plus this week I pulled back my book for publication because of editorial changes I couldn’t agree with. My husband says he’s fine with the writing, but doesn’t think it will go anywhere, and as long as he’s got dinner, he’s fine, no matter what. Just a blah time in my life right now!

  16. Terrific post I needed to hear today. :) Thanks!

  17. Terri Osburn says:

    This is an A-MAZING blog. Well said! And though I’ve heard most of this before, it still feels reassuring to hear it again. I seem to be struggling with believing. Not so much in myself but in what others say about my work. No matter who tells me it’s good (my editor, my agent, my friends) I still cringe and think, “But what if it isn’t?!”

    Anybody know how to exorcise that demon? Cause it’s real freaking annoying. I’ve been terrible about checking in on the Winter Writing Festival. The thing is, I finished revisions as far as I could until beta readers get back to me. So I’m in a sort of holding pattern while the next book percolates and starts to take shape. There really isn’t a process for that. No steps I can nail down and follow. I only wish there was.

    Here here on joining a writing group. I can’t imagine sailing these choppy seas all alone.

    • Liz Talley says:

      I’m not sure that feeling ever goes away, Terri, and maybe that’s a good thing we want to please our readers. I think about my readers quite often, and even when my eidtor says “this is fabulous!” or my cp says “You’re a good writer” I always worry I’m not doing enough to make the story a good experience for the reader. That’s just part of being a writer…constantly wondering if you hit the mark.

      I hope the beta readers love your wip and you have very few changes to make down the road :)

  18. MarcieR says:

    Honesty about the writing life is why “I Heart Liz Talley”.

    I’d try to write a longer comment but I’m sick as a dog and I’m afraid what I say may not be what I mean to say. Gosh, if that even makes sense.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Sorry you’re sick, Marcie. This crud going around is hard to shake.

      I’m glad you like my honestly. I sort of pride myself on being an open person. I don’t find much embarrassment in the human condition…these doubts and fears make us alike, connect us together.

    • Kristina Mathews says:

      Hi Marcie, It’s nice to see a familiar :)

      I Heart Liz, too.

      Hope you feel better.

  19. Vivi Andrews says:

    Great post, Liz.

    I don’t have a supportive husband because I’ve never been married (and there are days when it feels like I am the only single romance writer on the planet). I am lucky in a lot of ways – very encouraging parents, able to scrape out a living doing what I love, but there’s still uncertainty. I’m in the process of working on a project that’s way outside my comfort zone, so every day has been an exercise in doubt. Just need to turn down the volume on that little “Am I being stupid?” voice in my head and push on through.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Ah, the voice. How annoying is she?

      Yeah, taking a leap into unknown territory is always scary. I have this great idea for a book that could turn into a series, but I consistently doubt my chops when it comes to pulling off clever material. I sincerely love clever writers, and often I feel like I can’t stretch that high in my writing. But we don’t know if we don’t try, right?

      Good luck, Vivi. You’re so talented. I know it will rock.

    • Cia says:

      Hey, Vivi, you’re not the only single romance writer on the planet. But there might just be only two of us :-).

      Liz, thanks for this excellent post, aptly titled. I wonder what it is about writing that breeds so much uncertainty? Why so many of us wonder if we are/our work is good enough? Is it the pittance, comparatively speaking, many of us earn for so much work? Is it that people in our lives generally don’t really get what we do? Or is angst inevitably twinned with artistic endeavour?

      Don’t know, but the response to this post really makes me realise how much I am not alone in this journey. Thank you, ladies. I’m bookmarking it for THOSE days…

      • Liz Talley says:

        I think it’s a little bit of all of that. And I think it’s the same for anyone who creates. I actually have a necklace I wear with the word CREATE on it. I like knowing that while so many people have the job of tearing down, I have the job of creating. So not as many people as I’d like read what I create? I’m still a writer, building what so many others can’t. I take comfort in that. Thanks, Cia!

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