Welcome to January’s Birthday Blog, with a post – or maybe more – a day for your entertainment and fun :).
Today’s guest is JOANNA CHAMBERS. Please show your appreciation for the post if you enjoy it, and all the author’s links are below for you to take forward. Watch every day for any Rafflecopter giveaways, and don’t forget there’s ALSO a Grand Prize Draw at the end of the month for ONE lucky commenter.
Many thanks for dropping in, and have a great January!
Does it spark joy in you?
I always wanted to write.
Why? Because I loved to read and I loved playing with words—the desire to write wasn’t about spinning stories for me, not at first. The thing I loved was wordsmithing. Since I had nothing to write about, however, there were years of staring at blank sheets.
And then something wonderful happened: I rediscovered romance. It happened around the time I had my first son. I picked up a Mills & Boon in a holiday cottage we were staying in. I’d loved romance novels as a schoolgirl but hadn’t read one in about 15 years at that point in time. Well, I devoured it. It wasn’t even a very good one, but it set me on a romance reading odyssey.
It took a while, but eventually, after about a hundred novels, I admitted to myself that this wasn’t me just indulging in a “guilty pleasure”—I completely, unabashedly and sincerely loved romance novels. And I’d finally found the thing I wanted to write about.
In short, my love of romance, and my love of wordsmithing coincided in the happiest of ways, and in 2011, I published my first novel with Carina Press.
Because in real life, we don’t fade to black after the HEA. After publishing that first novel, there were things to be done. Not just writing more novels but a whole pile of other, less joyful things: development edits, line edits, blurb writing, cover art forms, admin emails, promo, website creation, setting up social media accounts. I was already a blogger as a reader, but before I became a published author, I’d avoided Facebook and twitter. Now I became a not-entirely-voluntary user and found myself losing hours to glazed-eyed scrolling and horrified observation of internet flame wars.
Hours of my life…gone.
And let’s not forget tax returns. Ugh.
At this point, it felt like my love of romance and my love of wordsmithing had had wild monkey sex and produced a pile of ugly babies, all demanding to be endlessly fed. Like every other writer I know (at some stage or other) I found myself asking why I kept doing this.
Of course, I always knew why I kept doing this (see above) but for a while, it was a question I kept asking myself, over and over. Sometimes you need to encapsulate your thoughts on a particular issue in a simple way, to help you keep the important stuff front and centre. Oddly enough, I found my answer in the advice of cleaning guru.
About a year ago, I read an article about Marie Kondo and her “Life-Changing Art of Tidying up”. Now, I should say that I’ve not actually followed Ms Kondo’s advice about tidying up (my house is still a pit) but what she said resonated with me in relation to the “clutter” of my writing life.
Kondo advocates surrounding yourself with things you love. She advises clients to look at the objects cluttering up their homes and ask, in relation to each one, if it “sparks joy” in the them. If not (and assuming they are not otherwise necessary) the object should be set aside. A particularly pleasing aspect of her approach is that each object is to be handled and thoughtfully considered. If it is to be discarded, the object is expressly thanked by the owner for its use and service before being put it aside. This may sound a little ridiculous, but the showing of respect to these objects strikes me as important, not because of the respect you give the object, but because of the respect you give yourself. Instead of feeling negative and regretful about having the owned the object and spent money and time on it (as people often do during clear-outs), you simply accept that its use is over and pass it on to be donated or recycled.
I think you can see where I am going with this.
I have a job and a family, so my writing time is scarce and I want to spend the majority of that time doing things that spark joy in me. Planning stories, doing research (new things to learn!), writing words, connecting with others, and sharing my real, true thoughts—as I’ve just done in this post.
As for the other stuff, I’ll do the necessary bits as quickly as possible and try to let the rest go—without regret.
Happy birthday month, Clare!
I’ll giveaway a copy of any of my backlist with this post – see all my books at this link.
Enter the draw at the link below. All Rafflecopters drawn on Jan 31.
Joanna Chambers Rafflecopter giveaway
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna’s muse likes red wine, coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.
Follow the month’s posts at your leisure:
Jan 01: RJ Scott on her inspiration for a new series in 2016.
Jan 01: Temple Dragon on giving for free during December.
Jan 02: Chrissy Munder on an author’s passion for paper planners.
Jan 03: Meredith Russell on inspirational cop series.
Jan 04: Becky Black on her five-year anniversary as an author.
Jan 05: Alexa Milne on characters stepping outside their comfort zone.
Jan 06: Sandra Lindsey on her dancing shoes challenge.
Jan 07: Anne Barwell on her WWII trilogy at Dreamspinner Press.
Jan 08: Elin Gregory on reviews – past, present and future.
Jan 09: Eli Easton on mature heroes and our life choices.
Jan 10: Julie Moffett on the geek in us all.
Jan 11: Jaime Samms and the rewards of an online life.
Jan 12: LC Chase on paying kindness forward.
Jan 12: EM Lynley on the recipes that add taste to her books.
Jan 13: Nicki J Markus on falling in love with her characters.
Jan 14: Vicktor Alexander on giving thanks to friends and fans.