Writing happily-ever-after (HEA) is great a lot of the time. It’s comforting optimism in a world often full of difficult and sad things. Writing about love can boost a dreary day. But what about the days when you just can’t? What about the days where life feels so heavy that getting words about someone else’s happily ever after just feels… impossible?
Some potential ideas . . .
1) Give yourself permission to have a bad day
Berating yourself for not feeling like writing romance can just make it worse. Give yourself space to take a day off. Practice some self-care. Do something comforting and rejuvenating.
2) Write about stories that mean something to you
If your story is meaningful to you, it provides extra motivation to get back to it. Even on the days you don’t want to or feel like you can’t, if you’re personally attached to the story it’s more possible. It’s tempting to focus on writing what will sell in this business. But burnout is a real factor. Romance writers get a lot of pressure to produce multiple books a year. Writing about what we love as opposed to what we’re told will sell helps.
3) Remember Bad stuff happens in romance novels too
Characters make bad choices. They struggle with their internal flaws and conflicts. Every romance has to have a dark moment. Writing those moments might be perfect for those tough days that aren’t so happy.
4) Talk to your friends
Ask for help, especially if writing isn’t possible for long period of time. Remembering that everyone has days like this helps with not feeling isolated.
It doesn’t have to be romance. The romance genre can be a bit claustrophobic at times. For all the flack we get from other people outside our genre, we’re forced to be a tight knit group. But it’s good for us to branch out and not always read romance. Getting a fresh voice from a new author in our heads can creates new ideas.
6) Remember that even when you’re not having a good day, it won’t stay a bad day
Sometimes just sitting down and writing anyway, even when you don’t feel like it will actually make you feel better. The romance genre is designed to give hope even when days are tough. Trying anyway can sometimes be a good idea. (Though, forcing yourself is not, so if it doesn’t work, don’t push yourself.)
Some days are harder than others. You don’t always have to be happy every day that you write romance. You’re allowed to have bad days. It can even add depth and flavor to your characters and story. After all, a romance novel isn’t great one without a struggle to get to the happily ever after.
Robin Lovett is a romance writer whose first series of dark romances released through St. Martin’s Press Swerve summer 2017. Her next series is a sci-fi erotic romance through Entangled Publishing. She loves to chat on Twitter @LovettRomance and every Sunday evening you can find her with other romance writers at #RWChat. She is represented by Rachel Brooks of BookEnds Literary Agency.