Friday, September 28, 2012

On Write Support: Monthly Checkup with Donna Alward

Columnist Donna Alward is back with September's Check-up - a return to routine, but a bit of a shake-up just the same...

Here I am, back again after a fun summer of filling the well. I love September. The house empties out, I have my writing time back again, and honestly, conditions should be just about perfect. I’m back in my familiar routine which I LOVE and which usually makes me super productive.

Unfortunately, I am afflicted with Crows of Doubtitis.

It doesn’t really make sense. My writing schedule is good. No screaming deadlines (deadlines, mind you, just not screaming – yet), things going well, re-energized….

But like most things, perfection is hard to achieve.

A few things may be contributing to my “issue”. For one, at the end of August I thought I knew what I was writing next. But my editor asked if I’d consider writing something else FIRST, and explained why, which is a very good reason indeed and good for me. But it did mean I had to put my thinking cap on. And come up with 2 new characters and a new hook and, well, everything! I wasn’t coming up with ANYTHING and resorted to making my kids brainstorm with me (thankfully, they did help me come up with a heroine!).

It did throw me a bit, because I’d been doing lots of book “thinking” as I finished up my vacation, and I had to switch gears.

But you know, I started that first chapter and thought oh, it’s all good. 

Then I got a phone call.

And I lost my editor.

This is very good news for her – moving spots within the company which is wonderful (for her) but sad for me.  We’ve done close to 15 books together over 5 years. This year in particular, I think we had it down. We had become a well-oiled machine.  I loved working with her and she was very, very good to me.  And honestly – editor switches happen. She was not my first. But she was my longest. So while my HEAD knows this is all part of the biz and it’ll be fine, another little part of me is nervous about starting with someone new.

I’ve spent most of the month also not knowing WHO that someone new is…I’m editorless. And I think that, in some way, is contributing to my Crows of Doubtitis. I feel slightly…discombobulated. And I’ve hit some trouble spots in the book where I know it’s not quite right and I’m trying to put my finger on it.  Where did I steer wrong and how to I bring it back to the right focus?

I’m also waiting to hear on another project, and I’ll confess it’s slightly distracting.  Along with the scads of promo I’m setting up for 2 upcoming releases, kids starting extra-curricular activities, and the fact that this time of year I’m a chauffeur and walking check book.

The silly thing is, most of this stuff is just kind of happening behind the scenes, and it’s not earth-shattering or anything. It’s just enough to throw a little kink into my otherwise perfect month and play with my head a little bit. I hate when I play mind games with myself!

So what’s the doc prescribing after this check-up?  Maybe a small dose of “relax” with a splash of “simplify”, along with a daily infusion of patience. Because the other thing I know? These things will work themselves out. They always do.

And that’s the most important thing to remember. It doesn’t all have to be fixed RIGHT NOW. Sometimes you just have to give things time to work out.


While Donna’s next Harlequin Romance isn’t out until November, you can grab her latest novella, IN THE LINE OF DUTY if you’re looking for a shorter, sexier read!

What do you get when you cross a cop and an ex-Army bad boy?  
Pure sizzle.


  1. PS - I loaded this post before I learned the name of my new editor! No longer editorless! The other stuff, though? STILL MESSING WITH MY HEAD. Need my daily dose of relax! LOL

  2. Great post, Donna, thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed "In the Line of Duty".