Tonight I told my husband two things.
1. I'm going to get up early tomorrow and work on my novel.
2. I'm going to start a blog to talk about how much work I'm getting done on the novel.
You can imagine his reaction. And yes, I suppose, in some way that I might not want to admit, blogging about the novel is a lot easier than actually writing it. But here's my logic. (Warning: I am not known for my logic.) I need to be accountable to someone. And even if no one reads this blog, the very fact that I know it's here, waiting for me to write about any form of accomplishment for the day, should propel me to get back on track.
Here's the back story. Or at least the most recent part of a backstory that spans years. My grandmother passed away last year. One year and two months ago, come Jan. 18th. We were close. And one thing we always had in common was a love of reading. Time and time again I'd say, "Nan, I'm working on a novel," and she'd say, "Will I like it," and I'd say "Probably not. It's not a romance." Because I had this idea that romance novels were not written by real writers. But then she started sliding books my way. "Try this one," she'd say. "It's funny." Or "You'll like the woman in this one. She reminds me of you." The next thing I know, I'm reading Julia London and Julia Quinn and I'm loving them. It only took 30 odd years and we were finally back on the same page. Then she got sick, and three months later, she was gone. She left all her books to me. Boxes and boxes and boxes of them, and a good 75 percent were romance novels. And about 75 percent of those were regency novels. I read my way out of grief one Duke at a time.
That takes us to August. My friend Leslie Vryenhoek emails me to tell me about the Piper's Frith, a writing retreat she's organizing with my creative writing prof Rob Finley from a few years back. "You have to apply," she tells me. Leslie is a fabulous writer who I admire immensely. I can't even think as well as she writes. My husband, who is my biggest fan, gets so excited. And I feel like I want the ground to swallow me. Because at that moment I realized that i wanted to write a regency romance.
Long story short, I didn't fill out the application. And then on the night it was due, Leslie emails me wondering why there's no application in her inbox. I explain that I'm embarrassed. I can't go to a retreat and work with award-winning writers on my romance novel. She knocks some sense into me, I write two chapters, and off I go to spend the most amazing week of my life in the wilds of Newfoundland with other writers. None of them knew what a Regency Romance was. They didn't know that a Marquess ranked above an Earl but below a Duke. And they didn't know that Regency romances typically take place between 1810-1820 (give or take some years for artistic license) during the time when the Prince of Wales ruled the nation as Prince Regent because his father, King George III had lost it and wasn't quite up for the job. Still, they seemed to enjoy it. And on the final night (which happened to be my birthday) I read for the 20 writers and lo and behold, they laughed in all the right places. And even more astonishing, when all was said and done, they peppered me with questions. They wanted to read more.
Now, any sensible writer at this point would have been fueled by success. I should have dashed home, chained myself to the computer, and been well into chapters 10 or 15 by now. But nope. Three months have passed and I haven't written a word. (I have, however, read about 20 more novels because I discovered Suzanne Enoch and Eloisa James.) So if I think about it, I managed to write the first bit because I had a deadline. And as I admitted to my co-workers this week, without a deadline, I'm nothing. My mentor at the Frith, Kevin Major, told me my problem was getting my butt in a chair and writing. Clearly, he's right. (I couldn't find a site to link to Kevin, but he has an awesome wine blog, One Brilliant Bottle, and after drinking wine with him for a week, I can testify to his palate)
So we come to this blog. Regency Rising. This is it. My promise to myself, and anyone willing to follow along, that I will get this novel written this year. I know some of my friends who may read this are thinking, "This from the girl who can't even respond to an email, even when I try and lure her to respond with promised pictures of Spanish hotties on the beach in Barcelona" (Ok. That's a pretty specific thought that applies only to one friend, but you get the point.) But I'm going to do it. And hopefully you can help me stay on track. Please.
Now, I'm off to re-examine my outline. And tomorrow morning, I will rise before 8 and write for at least 2 hours. Promise.