I have a confession to make. No, not THAT kind of confession. Sheesh! You romance writers are ALL alike!
Many of us were fortunate enough to attend the RWA National Conference in New York last week. Not to rub it in for those who didn’t attend, but it was great! I had a terrific traveling companion (thanks Heather!) and a fantastic roommate I met through the RWA Roommate Forum (the cheesecake is on me in Anaheim, Andrea!) Informative workshops, inspiring speakers at the luncheons and countless other events made this a really wonderful conference for me. My confession? On the drive home from the airport I cried.
For an entire week I lived my fantasy, the life I was always meant to live. For an entire week I was a historical romance writer 24 hours a day and I loved every minute of it. (Even the waits for the elevators!) But once I got off the plane in Birmingham and drove home it was back to reality for me. So I cried.
My reality isn’t really all that bad. I flew back Saturday and have worked every day since at a job that is definitely not my first choice, nor my second, nor my third. Well, you get the point. Hey, in this economy I know I am lucky to have a job. It pays the bills. It pays for little luxuries like toilet paper, running water and living indoors. I’m for all of those things. So, I work at a job I really don’t like and wait for the next time I can live my fantasy.
I see myself as one of those Regency era heroines – married to the old, fat, balding duke with the bad teeth and breath like roadkill (I’m sure they HAD roadkill in the Regency whether they called it that or not.) Yes, one of those women who was told to do her duty, to just lay there and think of England or plan a dinner party or redecorate the drawing room in her head until Lord Death Breath did his business, excused himself and went back to his own room. That’s sort of how I get through every day at work. I live for the day when Lord “I Want to Buy Your Book and Sign You to a Three Book Contract” comes along to rescue me. He needs to hurry up because Lord Death Breath is really getting on my nerves and some days it seems like I’ll have the entire country estate redecorated before he croaks and I can go on to the life I’ve always wanted.
But until that happens, I try to remember what Franklin D. Roosevelt once said.
“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
Going to RWA’s National Conference is the knot in my rope. Writing is a solitary business and I reach the end of my rope with it more often than I care to remember. Sometimes when I do I have been fortunate enough to have some awesome mentors, historical romance authors, who take the time to help me tie that knot and tell me all of the reasons I need to keep hanging on. Sometimes it’s my agent. Sometimes it’s my Mom. Sometimes it’s just my sheer ornery stubbornness. But the biggest knot I tie in my rope is the one I learn in the presence of 2000 plus romance writers every year.
A Golden Heart winner after seven finals. A Lifetime Achievement Award for someone who has seen it all in this business. A luncheon speaker who reminds me I have had it easy so far compared to others who have fought their way to that Holy Grail we all seek. A workshop where a light bulb comes on about a certain elusive or confounding aspect of my writing.
All of these things help me to keep tying that knot and keep hanging on. I'm just too darned hard-headed not to and I've had too many people help me tie that knot to let go now.
What or who is the knot at the end of your rope?