Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Writer's Wednesday: Slowing Down The Runaway Train

It's Writer's Wednesday time again and Donna Alward is here at the Pink Heart Society, talking about falling in love with writing again...

I had two years of back to back, sometimes on top of each other deadlines. On one hand it was great: it meant I had contracts and steady work, and because I was writing a lot of series, it also meant that I knew WHAT I was going to write. It also meant fairly steady income, and I can't deny that was really, really nice. But it did come at a cost.

Here's the thing. I can actually write pretty fast. And I like writing fast because I get in "the zone". I think when I slow down too much, I don't get as immersed in the story as I should. When I am writing fast, I'm actually so deep into it that I think my writing is often better - at least on an emotional level. I go deeper with the characters because I'm living and breathing with them.

Know what I missed though? THE FUN STUFF.

I used to cast every single one of my books. I'd take a whole day and just look for the right picture for my hero and heroine. Perhaps of their house or the town where they live. Special name it. For Pete's sake, Pinterest has made visual inspiration boards a cinch, and I haven't done much there (though I did pin a bunch of stuff for Jewell Cove) because taking a day to do that was a luxury I didn't have.

I used to have a theme song for every book too. There'd be a song I'd hear on the radio and it would make me think of my protagonists and be really inspiring. I'd have a SOUNDTRACK. But I didn't have time to put those together either. I was too busy getting down to business.

I even kind of missed doing character sheets for my characters. Not that they're necessary, but sometimes when you start playing around with those things little flashes of insight into motivation happen.

You know where I'm going with this, right?

One of the things I've done for this year is slow my writing schedule down to what I like to consider a "normal" pace and not "Superwoman" pace. And because I've done that, I'm going to slow down, fall in love with writing again, fall in love with my STORIES again by juicing up my inspiration methods. After all, I started this gig because I love it, and shouldn't I take the time to enjoy the parts of it I especially love?

If I want you to fall in love with my characters, shouldn't I fall in love with them first?

OF COURSE I SHOULD! So hopefully this post finds my Pinterest boards a little more busy, my music turned up a bit, and me tapping away on the keys because I'm so stoked to be writing this particular story. Which, as it happens, is the last Jewell Cove book with a super hot cop and some holiday spirit.

What part of reading or writing romances do you love best?

Right now, though, I have my latest still available from Harlequin American - The Cowboy's Valentine - is the second in my Crooked Valley Ranch trilogy, with the third coming in May:

Coming home is hard enough without ranch manager Quinn Solomon making Lacey Duggan feel like an unwanted guest. She’s only here until she figures out what to do with her one-third ownership of Crooked Valley. But Quinn’s irresistible daughter is giving Lacey ideas about being part of a family. And though they don’t even like each other, Lacey’s having crazier notions about the widowed single dad.

Does Lacey think she can waltz in and turn Quinn’s life upside down…only to leave again? The pretty accountant knows nothing about running a ranch, yet she’s making the Montana homestead feel like a home. Quinn isn’t looking for love again. Until a woman who’s all heart and a determined little girl help one lovestruck cowboy see the light.

Find out more about Donna Alward on her website, as well as following her on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.


  1. Good points, Donna! If you can't enjoy it, you miss some of the best bits of the writing process. Once quite a few years ago, I came to write a book I'd been waiting and wanting to write for over a year. When my editor asked how soon I could get it in, I thought about it a long moment, then said, "Nine months." She was aghast, but I said, "I've waited to write this book. I'm eager to write it. I love these people. I want to wallow in the process." And I did. And it's one of the most enjoyable experiences I remember about all the books I've written. So, yes, slow down the train and enjoy the scenery!

  2. Hi Donna! I love finding just the right pictures to represent my characters too! It's a must-do on my plotting list. One thing I give up when I'm busy? Just thinking about a story before I write it. I love taking a long walk at a park and letting the characters run wild in my head. I don't get outside as much in frigid temps, so I really can't wait for spring!

    1. Jill, yesterday I was walking to the fridge (dangerous) when I realized that I needed to sit down and THINK about this story more as far as the pacing. :) Sometimes the need to write x number of words a day overshadows the thinking time required for a story.

  3. I think I'm falling into your writing fast gets you in the zone theory!

    susan meier

  4. I so agree, Donna. Constant pressure to deliver will kill to joy, no doubt about it.

    1. I think that's why I took on fewer commitments this year. But you know what? I'm working on my last contracted book...and getting antsy to know what's next! LOL!

  5. Hi Anne! Gosh, it seems like forever since I've chatted with you. I love that idea of wallowing in it...I think there's a lot of pressure to write fast and sometimes we don't have time to enjoy things as much as we should!

  6. Hi, Donna :-)! So happy to hear you're taking the time to enjoy your writing process. You're absolutely right about having to love your characters so that your readers will, too. I have to "feel" a story--not just think my way through it--before I can pull it off on the page.