*(Please excuse my horrible NKOTB pun in the title. I literally COULD NOT resist!)
I love writing. Writing is quite literally my life. By day I work in public relations writing press releases, emails, articles and blog posts. I worry about things like branding and AP Style (literally the bane of my existence). By night I write very fictional, very sexy stories. I worry about things like how many times can I use the word cock in a chapter without it being repetitive (answer: no such limit exists).
It is occasionally a very strange thing to write in two such diametrically opposing styles. I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde most days. My coworkers know that I write romance novels in my spare time, but I’m not quite sure any of them know the depth of my devotion to writing. That many nights I choose writing over sleep. They keep asking to read something of mine, to which I firmly say “Maybe some day, when I’m about to quit and no longer need to sit across from you in meetings.” I blush just thinking about my boss (who is awesome and probably wouldn’t care) reading some of the sex scenes I’ve written.
I try very hard to keep my two little worlds separate. But it is almost inevitable that I’ll go to work and I can’t quite get my head out of my creative writing space. I try and try and try to write some straight forward, concise press releases and end up with wordy prose exulting a new product, which any respectable news agency would immediately throw in the trash.
Or, on the flip side, I’ll get home and try to shake myself out of the AP Style straitjacket, but for whatever reason my brain won’t loosen and let the words flow. I end up writing unemotional boring crap, which romance should obviously never be. But still, I keep writing, getting the words out, even if they are stiff and mechanical insert tab A into slot B type of drivel. That’s what revising was invented for, right?
Then there are those days where if I have to string a complete sentence together I might scream and tear my hair out like a mad woman. Those are the days I retreat into books, let myself get lost in someone else’s work for a little while. I love reading, and even more I love when a book both pulls me in and I notice the care an author has taken to really make her story come to life. I’ll see a phrase that she uses that makes me think “damn, why didn’t I think of that!” My appreciation for books is not only just about the plot and characters, but phrasing and word usage. I like to write down words I would never think to use. For me, reading is an interactive thing.
If I didn’t have writing I honestly don’t know what I’d do with myself. How would I exercise my demons? Even though the things I write are nothing like my real life, somehow my actual fears and worries sneak their way in. When I was thinking about changing careers from journalism to public relations I started writing Michelle in The Arrangement, a woman going through the same career shift. I’ve been having a hard time lately with deaths and health concerns in my family. My current main female character, Mira, is caring for a father suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, and she lost her mom to breast cancer as a baby. These weren’t really conscious decisions I made. I never sat down and said “this part of my life is hard right now, I’m going to write about it.” But having these characters help me to work through my own fears, and giving them a happy ending helps me to remember that no matter what challenges come up in life I can work through them.