Hi! I’m Red L. Jameson, writer of spicy hot and cerebral romance, and under a pen name I take on other genres. I’ve been writing almost all my life. Even before I could spell, I was writing stories and “reading” them to my brother, who was held down in his highchair. My poor brother. I’ve been banging around the idea of writing an article about being discouraged. So I reached out to a few forums and Facebook and asked other writers for their discouraged stories. The response was overwhelming. I mean that in a literal sense in that I couldn’t keep up with them. There are so many writers out there who have been discouraged or are discouraged.
Let me back up a little by adding why I wanted to compose an article about being discouraged regarding my writing. I may not be an expert of the craft of writing, and honestly with amazing craft writers out there like James Scott Bell and Christopher Vogler and Michael Hauge, there’s not much more I can add to the craft narrative. However, I am an expert in being discouraged, as odd and kind of silly as that sounds. I have been discouraged about this writing thing almost every step of the way. My very first piece of advice was that I wouldn’t make any money at writing and it was very doubtful I would “make it” anyway. I’ve lost friends; family members think I’m insane or are embarrassed of me; my very first publisher “forgot” to actually publish me; the list goes on and on. But I keep bouncing back. Because through all the disappointment, rejection, and discouragement, I still love writing.
There are several different kinds of discouragement for the writer to encounter. Here’s just a few from fellow writers: loads of rejections, publishers killing a novel, editors picking favorites, editors killing a career, not feeling good enough, not able to overcome fear, getting one-star reviews, plots that won’t come together, marketing woes, not writing fast enough, not having enough money, worried writing is just too selfish a career to pursue while providing for a family, trying to grow readership, social media problems, becoming too critical of your own work, finding encouragement is difficult, comparing your work to others, and being blocked.
Yeah, that’s just a few of the kinds of discouragement an author might come up against. And today, I’m going to talk about the one that writers—and well, people in general—don’t want to talk about. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison Is the Thief of Joy.” And I agree because I’ve let it rob a lot of my joy. That said, a piece of advice given to me early on in my writing career was to compare myself to others. I was told to read from authors who wrote in the genre I wanted to write, read them and analyze their work, watch their career and how they do things, try to do what they do, etc. I was told this a lot because I’m a weirdo who beats to my own drum and writes odd cross-genre bending books. But every craft teacher of mine and several critique buddies gave me the same advice to compare myself to other writers. I get it. I understand why this advice is given. Because I have written a cross-genre series that is unlike anything out there. It’s won awards. It’s gotten a few great reviews. And it’s almost never read by anyone because it’s so unlike anything anyone’s read before.
Anyway, the point is that as writers, we get conflicting advice to compare ourselves to other writers when we know comparison will suck away our joy. So what’s a writer to do?
First, own it. Own your envy. I know how difficult that is. Did you know that when feeling envy, “it actually activates a part of the brain involved in processing physical pain. No wonder people go to such lengths to ignore envy” (Christie Aschwanden, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/jealous-friends-envy-jealousy_n_2791331.html). And we ignore our envy by trying to make ourselves busy, trying to find as many Facebook memes as possible about furry cats and “hanging in there” as we can, drinking lots of coffee, drinking other harder drinks, spacing out, procrastinating, cleaning our house, cleaning our neighbor’s house, you name it we can come up with a plethora of excuses. We’re writers! We have terribly wonderful imaginations to help us come up with excuses in order to ignore that green emotion that’s inevitable to feel.
But here’s why you own up to feeling envy: You’ll figure out what kind of envy you have. That’s right, there are at least two different kinds of envy. Researchers have found that there is malicious or benign envy. You can guess which one you don’t want. And what’s amazing is that benign envy can lead a person to internal inspiration. When we own up to feeling envy, then we can figure out why we feel the envy in the first place.
Let’s say we’re envious of a writer whose rich wife funds his career. He doesn’t have to account for the business-side of writing because his wife gives him money for his Bookbub ads, for great editors, for great connections. He just writes to his heart’s content, self publishes often, and has been making a killing from his Bookbub ads and has a marketing expert to help him with whatever the ads don’t cover. He’s already a USA Today bestseller and he just became a NYT bestseller too. Yay! We love hearing stories of self published authors making it. And his books are actually great and are giving other self published authors a lot of credit. But holy cow is it hard to feel happy for him. I want to feel happy for him, but I’m envious. And I just created this guy from my imagination but I’m envious of him.
So I admit it. I’m envious of my imaginary NYT bestseller.
I’m a provider for my family and have had many jobs to make ends meet while trying to write. (Can you spot my discouragement from the list above?) Gosh, I wish I had a rich spouse to help with my writing. Or is that my true reason I’m envious of the guy I made up? Since I invented him, I know his wife has been having an affair for twenty years, five of which he knows about. He’s hurting. Bad. And he’s thinking of having an affair himself. So, no, I don’t envy his married life. After thinking about it more, I realize my envy is more inline with the fact that the guy I invented can write whatever he wants. By breaking it down, I realize what I’m actually envious of, and what’s odd is while doing this my envy dissipates. It softly disappears like it had been a fog around me, hindering my sight, but I see so much more clearly when the fog lifts. And I get a plan. I want to write like my imaginary NYT bestseller, to my heart’s content.
See, that’s benign envy. If you own up to it, it softens. If you analyze why you feel the envy, it doesn’t fester and become bitter resentment, like malicious envy can. When you analyze the real reasons for your envy, then you can become inspired and make plans. And voila! That green emotion we run from and don’t like to talk about becomes a good companion to help us figure out what we really want from our writing and our life.
So give envy a try! See if owning up to your envy just might change your writing and your life as painful as that sounds. And hugs for braving through that kind of pain!
**Book 4 of the Wild Love Series, an erotic romance**
When you make a deal with the devil…
Don’t complain about the heat.
Luckily, I like it hot.
Nurse Ian Ryder, or just Ryder, is everything I want. He’s big. He’s tough. He’s oh-so-sexy with his leather jacket and motorcycle that I’ve had indecent fantasies about. And even better, he seems emotionally closed off. Not the kind of man who would ask a lot of personal questions. The perfect candidate to reveal my secret—I’m still a virgin, worried I’ll die this way if I don’t do something about it soon. Somehow, I’m going to convince Ryder to play doctor with me.
Dr. Asha Whitetail is completely out of my league. Intelligent and sophisticated. And those glasses she wears makes me think about steaming up her scrubs. When an awkward moment turns into a hot kiss, I realize I’m going to do everything I can to have her—not just her body but her heart too. Problem is, she seems to want only one thing from me. So I’m going to make her an offer she can’t refuse. I’ll give her what she wants, if she spends time with me, gets to know me, the real me, while I do everything in my power to convince her she can play doctor with me…for life.
The Wild Love Series is set in Wyoming and Montana, where things are little more…wild, where love can never tamed. Each book within the series can be read as a standalone and intended for a mature and adventurous reader. Enjoy and fall in love!
Excerpt, which is rated PG-13 :
This is the difference between Army life and being a civilian. I have to deal with next of kin. Or point in fact, Asha does. I’ve had a hard time dealing with this part of the job myself. I mean, sure, when I was in the military, I could send a letter, maybe even visit a buddy’s family when I was back stateside. But actually being the one to hold someone’s hand and tell them their loved one is dead…is tougher than anything I’ve ever done before.
I don’t know what to do, what kind of advice to give her. So out of my blabbering mouth comes some kind of shit I hadn’t planned for. “Hit me.”
“What?” Her delicate dark brows knit together, and her hand on me grips into a fist.
“In the Army, after a bad case or we lost one of our own, we’d…you know, fight. Smack each other around a little.” Jesus, do I sound like an idiotic man or what?
“I’m not going to hit you.”
“Or we’d target practice.”
“I don’t have a gun.”
“You can borrow mine.”
“You have a gun?”
I shrug. “I’ve thought about hunting but never got around to it so far.”
She slowly nods, the fist on my chest isn’t loosening. I’m not helping. Shit.
I inhale, thinking of a slightly different tactic. “What you do, how you care for your patients and their loved ones, isn’t easy on you. You give everything you can. And sometimes to compensate you need to do something physical. Maybe not target practice or fighting. But we could—I don’t know—we could do a Pilates class or something.”
She snort laughs and smacks me a little with her tiny fist. “I don’t do Pilates.”
“Yeah, I don’t know where the Pilates came from. I’m a shit.”
She smiles widely, shaking her head. “You’re not a shit.”
“What about—” her smile slides off as her gaze lowers. To my lips. “What about kissing?”
Everything in my body lights up. It’s as if every damned atom is responding to what she just said, as if I’ve never been fully alive until this very second. I’m also very hot suddenly. Too damned hot. I’m molten and scared I’ll burn her hand that’s on me.
I want to ask if she means kissing me, but I won’t. I want her to be talking about kissing me. Only me. I want it so bad I stop rationalizing. I stop thinking. I stop everything and just react.
Placing a hand on the stored sanitizers behind her and one on her hip, I cage her in, not about to let her rethink what she’s just said.
She can push me away, and I’ll stop and probably be embarrassed as hell, but I’m going in.
I’m going to kiss sweet little Dr. Asha Whitetail.
Red L. Jameson is an award-winning and multi-published author. She writes in many genres. Her pen name, L. B. Joramo, includes the odd combination of historical and paranormal for the Immortal American Series. However, it is under her “Red” name, her nickname too, where all her stories are strongly laced with love, including contemporary, historical, time-travel, paranormal, and erotic romance. Red lives in the wilds of Montana with her family and a few too many animals, and is currently working on her next novel that she hopes will make her readers laugh, cry, think, and fall in love.
She loves her readers, so please feel free to contact her at http://www.redljameson.com
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