For a time there was a single long-stemmed pink rose sitting in a vase in my living room.
Why is this important? It’s not because I generally don’t have flowers in my house, since they get eaten by my cats. It’s because this rose was given to me by LARA, aka Los Angeles Romance Authors, the local group of the Romance Writers of America that I belong to. It was an acknowledgement of my achievement in reaching the finals in the Orange Rose Contest (as previously blogged about) for my paranormal romance novel “Fire Danger.” LARA makes it a practice to celebrate any and all milestones that their novelists achieve, and I was pleased to be among said members.
I believe that recognition, praise, accolades, whatever you want to call it, is important. It calls out that a job was well done, or a milestone was reached. Whatever the case, it draws attention to the fact that by going outside of your comfort zone, you achieved something beyond the day to day.
When I went back to writing two years ago I had no thought of putting myself, Claire the person, out there. I was going to be a self-publisher writer, an author who write and stayed under the radar. I was sure I was going to write the books and self-publish them and then the rest would just flow. I slipped them on the Amazon Kindle site without fanfare, looking around to see if anyone was watching before I pressed “publish.” Writing is a solitary thing, I told myself, something best done in a darkened room with quiet, and candles.
Now I know how wrong that thought is. Once the act of putting the words down is done, writing becomes a group activity, or it should. The input I’ve gotten from friends and family has been invaluable, as has the reviews of strangers. The first review I received for my Kindle contemporary romance ebook -“Sense of Adventure,” a long simmering novel that finally got its turn in the spotlight, made me want to shout with joy. Up until that point I was afraid of what raising my head above the water line meant. Now I know that writing, far from being a solo act, involves a whole cross section of other people, from readers to editors to publicists to marketing, and so many more things. Writing, just the same as any other creative endeavor, involves a certain amount of risk of ridicule and rejection. I work in the entertainment industry as my day job and all the things that go into making a movie are also true of books. It was only my wrong thinking that decided they were different.
So, comfort zone or no comfort zone, I am doing the necessary things and putting myself as well as my work out there. The rejections and criticisms sting, to be sure, but the support and rewards have been breathtaking. They keep growing exponentially and I have faith that will continue. The proof was that there was a single pink rose in a vase in my living room.