Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Rewarding But Sometimes Lonely Life Of a Writer

My guest is romantic suspense author Cherish D’Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif).

She was quite the encouragement to me when I began this blog, almost two years ago, and relatively unknown. Cheryl encouraged me to be bold in using my promotion/PR background with launching this blog and was a guest during the first month I was live.

Cheryl also spurred me on to be persistent in my writing. If it’s your passion, keep writing and the magic will come together. A writer writes.

I’m fortunate to have many friends who are authors and have encouraged me to keep writing despite rejections and all have their tales of their own.

Cherish touches upon the need of having a support system as a writer because, “[the] world of creating, writing, promoting and keeping up with all the industry changes isn't something easily shared with family or friends.” But I’ll let Cherish tell you a bit more about that.

Thank you, Sia, for hosting me during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour.

riting and the pursuit of publication, for the most part, is a singular venture fraught with ups and downs that only other writers truly understand, and it's because of this lonely world we write in that we must strive to make time for ourselves, our families and our friends. Sometimes that's easier said than done.

I've often found myself in my office for hours without speaking to another human being. While I'm there, I'm quite happy. I'm creating. Imagining. Fantasizing. I'm anywhere other than standing in my kitchen doing dishes or vacuuming the living room. In this respect, it's not a difficult choice to stay in my office and write. Dishes and vacuuming don't exist there. I don't think any of my characters have ever picked up a cloth and dusted.

But I'll admit something. I am sometimes lonely. It's not just the aloneness of my work that gets to me; it's the aloneness that comes with others not quite understanding what I'm doing or attempting to do. It's easy for a friend or spouse to say, "Find another publisher." Or "Find another agent." Or "Maybe you should quit, do something else." What they don't get is that it's NOT that easy. As for doing something else, there's nothing I'd rather do than write, no matter what challenges I may face.

What others may not understand is it's not as easy as "quitting". A writer's brain rarely shuts off; we're constantly creating stories, some of us more than others. I get novel ideas anywhere―while shopping, going to the bank, standing in line at the post office, driving down the road, while I'm sleeping, eating, breathing...

I write full time and I know I'm blessed to be able to do that. Many writers juggle full time or part time jobs―and young children. I don't have either. My daughter, though still at home, is twenty. Even she has a hard time appreciating that I work full time, regardless if I'm multi-tasking with the TV on, which I sometimes do if I'm working on promotional stuff. She doesn't understand my schedule or my goals or that they change daily. She has no idea what I go through every day in my endeavor to become successful or that what I do now could pay off for her in the future. My writing is her inheritance and this is one of the reasons I work so hard.

My career isn't always about being holed up in a room working on killing someone off in the next thriller. Besides working on a novel, there is article writing, research, book promotion, interviews, ISBN registering, keeping up with industry news, website updating, blog updating, guest blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, etc. There are times when I'm busy organizing events such as physical book signings or virtual events. I work about 10 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. By choice.

Because I'm considered to be an expert in book marketing, I coach other writers. I'm often asked how I do it all. Belief, persistence, organization and the openness to learn is key to promoting anything. My former job background was a mix of advertising, sales, marketing, business management and public speaking. I wasn't completely fulfilled, but these jobs prepared me for what I'd do later―find my passion. In writing.

I've always loved writing. I'd tried for years in my late teens and early twenties to learn everything I could about writing and publishing, and many a query went out to publishers, only to return months later with a neatly typed, generic form rejection letter. I have enough of those to wallpaper my office. Maybe twice.

Once I was published, I never looked back. I can't imagine doing anything else, regardless of the long hours and hard work. Emails from fans tell me I'm on the right track. The fact that schools have brought in my novel Whale Song as novel study material tells me I accomplished something even bigger than I'd set out to do. Hitting Amazon bestsellers' lists tells me my work sells. Having film producers and directors contact me because they're interested in turning my works into films means I am closer to the "big picture". I have big dreams!

But every now and then, a bit of loneliness creeps in. My world of creating, writing, promoting and keeping up with all the industry changes isn't something easily shared with family or friends, even though I really do have a wonderful support system. It would be the same if one of my friends tried sharing information on her job studying bio-engineering or anything completely over my head. There are times when the only people I see for days are my husband, daughter and her boyfriend.

However, aloneness doesn't have to be lonely. As a writer, it's important to not only feed the body and mind, but also the spirit. For me, this means seeking out a friend and getting out of the house every now and then. Sometimes we'll meet for coffee or lunch. Sometimes I'll go shopping with a friend or by myself. Sometimes I’ll head to the spa...and wish I could stay all day.

I've learned to treat myself, reward myself. After all, I'm a self-employed writer. There's no boss to pat me on the head and tell me I did good (expect maybe a publisher or my awesome agent). No one gives me a Christmas bonus. There's no company Christmas party. No pension plan. No yearly raise. The hours I work are long and sometimes grueling.

But in the end, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm a writer. And I love it!

  • Writers, commit to taking time out for yourself even if only for one hour a week. Do something fun! What do you think you'll do this week?

  • Non-writers: how did you perceive a writer's life to be?

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.

Lancelot's Lady Blurb:

A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

When palliative care nurse Rhianna McLeod is given a gift of a dream holiday to the Bahamas from her dying patient, billionaire JT Lance, Rhianna has no idea that her 'holiday' will include being stranded on a private island with Jonathan, an irritating but irresistibly handsome recluse. Or that she'll fall head over heels for the man.

Jonathan isn't happy to discover a drop-dead gorgeous redhead has invaded his island. But his anger soon turns to attraction. After one failed marriage, he has guarded his heart, but Rhianna's sudden appearance makes him yearn to throw caution to the wind.

To live fully in the present, Rhianna must resolve her own murky past, unravel the secret that haunts JT, foil the plans of a sleazy, blackmailing private investigator and help Jonathan find his muse. Only then can Rhianna find the love she's been searching for, and finally become...Lancelot's Lady.
Excerpt  Book Trailer
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When romance author Cherish D'Angelo is not busy relaxing in her hot tub, sipping champagne, eating chocolate-covered strawberries or plotting romantic suspense with scintillating sensuality, she is ruthlessly killing people off in her thrillers as bestselling Canadian suspense author, Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

Cherish's debut romance, Lancelot's Lady placed in the semi-finals of Dorchester Publishing's "Next Best Celler" contest and went on to win an Editor's Choice Award from Textnovel. Currently living in Edmonton, Alberta, she enjoys long walks on the beach, except there aren't any around so she has to make do with trips around the hot tub or a vacation to a tropical paradise. And margaritas.

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at and Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.