December was a whirlwind month with the holidays and a family reunion in Disneyworld. There’s nothing like trying to corral 22 family members ranging in age from 13 to 74 through one of the world’s happiest places during one of the busiest seasons. Fortunately, my family spends most of our time together laughing; when we aren’t picking on each other, we’re laughing at ourselves, which made for an entertaining week despite the crowds and long lines.
Then January rolled in and with the winter storms and cold winds, life became a little more serious. Deadlines for science fair projects and honors English reports and writing proposals loomed. And as life likes to do, a few unexpected curve balls were tossed in to the mix that couldn’t be simply laughed away. Through it all, I compartmentalized (a skill I’m still trying to master) and pounded at the keyboard in an effort to find the heart of the next book I’m working on. But this story wasn’t cooperating (as my CPs can attest given the trail of text messages and emails and Skype SOS sessions they’ve put up with from me.)
And then last week, after I’d dropped my daughters off at school with their finished science fair projects, I skipped through the radio stations and stopped when I heard Sam Hunt’s new single: Body Like A Backroad, which is a fun, upbeat, sexy country song that currently ranks among my all-time favorites. (I should mention I’m a huge fan of Sam Hunt and his Montevallo album is constantly on replay in our house). After the song finished, Sam Hunt was on air for an interview about his second album. Sam explained that his album was delayed as he’d decided to pursue a new direction and he mentioned that he felt he’d been taking his song writing a bit too seriously. That line stayed with me throughout the day and echoed a little too loudly when I spent the afternoon struggling to get words on the page for my story with the missing heart.
That night I realized I might need to channel a little bit of Sam Hunt. Perhaps my problem with my story was that I’d been taking my own writing a little too seriously. So I visited my keeper shelf and started re-reading my all-time favorite books. And in the process of reliving the stories that made me fall in love with romance, I rediscovered the reasons I wanted to write romances in the first place. With each book I opened, I recalled the plot, the characters and all those nuances I loved about that particular story and I remembered all the reasons why that book sits on my keeper shelf. I’ve laughed and cheered and sighed as I’ve spent time with favorite old friends and relived their journeys. And in the process, I found the joy and fun once again in my own writing and that elusive heart started beating inside my current book. (And my family is thrilled because I’ve slipped that fun into the kitchen with new recipes and as my husband said, he’s getting to reap the culinary rewards.)
It’s fitting that I’ve rediscovered all the reasons I love romance given February is the month to celebrate love. What do you do to rediscover your passion and joy when life becomes a little too serious?
Until next time,
THE CHARM OFFENSIVE by Cari Lynn Webb will be out in July 2017.
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