In the three years since I started writing, I’ve written six novels, signed book contracts for two of them and published my first one this month. I’m contracted for two more books to be written in the next six months. I have no degrees in writing. I took one literature class in college (which is why I’m a DIY MFA devotee). It feels like business as usual to me, but when I tell this to other writers, I’m often met with bug eyes.
How I’ve done it, partly—I’m not sure. There’s an insatiable thing in me that needs to write and have my stories heard. But the nearest concrete secret I can give—Be OBSESSED with your writing. Here are the five major obsessions of mine:
1) Protecting Writing Time
Writing time can be squeezed into every minute of every day. When not writing, think of how soon you can get back to writing. I avoid everything so that I can write because I love it so much. I daily forsake TV and housework for writing. (Don’t ask how dirty my house is or how deep my laundry pile. I only get to those between drafts.)
2)Always Learning More
There’s no such thing as being good enough, there’s no such thing as knowing everything. Our writing can always be better. Be a voracious vacuum for anything that will tell you how to make your stories more addictive and more satisfying for readers.
3) Sweating the Small Stuff
Play with your sentences. Read them out loud. How can they read as easily and as smoothly as possible? Good prose, well-paced prose, reads and sounds as rhythmic to the ear as music.
4) Seeking Out Feedback
I crave positive feedback, and when I don’t get it, it makes me work harder to get it the next time. It’s perhaps unhealthy. I don’t really recommend it because you can drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone. But if you ask how I work and what I use for motivation, that’s one of my answers.
5) Never Giving Up
I want people to read my stories. I will sell my soul to get my books into the hands of readers—well, hopefully not my soul, but it certainly feels that way sometimes. I do not quit. I do not settle. When faced with rejections, head straight to the drawing board. Learn and start again.
Of those six books I’ve written, there are four that haven’t been published and likely never will be. I have a whole article coming on what happens when your book doesn’t sell. Being resilient and starting over is as important a skill as any other. It won’t hurt to be obsessed with that too.
Robin Lovett writes contemporary romance in her debut novel, Racing To You. Her forthcoming series, Bad Boys of Blackmail, will be released through SMP Swerve in the summer of 2017. She is represented by Rachel Brooks of the L. Perkins Agency and is also known as S.A. Lovett or Sarah Lovett.
She writes romance to avoid the more unsavory things in life, like day jobs and housework. To feed her coffee and chocolate addictions, she loves overdosing on mochas. When not writing with her cat, you can find her somewhere in the outdoors with a laptop in her bag. You can find her daily on Twitter, especially as co-host of every Sunday evening for a romance writer chat, #RWChat.