Cleaning my office this week...well, not really cleaning just creating a wider path and clearer desk, I found notes I had taken at a conference. The notes were guidelines for the BOMBSHELL line which closed several years ago...maybe even 15.
Which gives you a clue as to how cluttered my desk is. LOL
I quickly scanned them before I tossed them, but, honestly, I felt a bit of nostalgia too. I so desperately wanted to write for that line. Not because I like suspense or female spies but just because I wanted to write something different.
Though my own editor at the time was one of the people heading up the line, they wouldn't give me a chance. I was devastated and pissed. But nobody cared. I had a spot at Silhouette Romance. That's what I was supposed to write. Period.
Today, all those "rules" are gone. We have so many choices and so many options -- some of them even without gatekeepers who crush our dreams. And even though that seems amazing and wonderful, it actually might be a bad thing.
Yes. And not just for the reasons you think. i.e. You might lose your existing audience if they can't get a handle on your brand. Without gatekeepers, you might (and I say this with all the love in my heart) put things up (on Amazon for instance) before they are ready to be published. You might even put things up that shouldn't be published. But we won't get into any of that. It's really not my business. That's one of those things you have to work out for yourself. A fight between ambition and honesty, if you will. I'm here this morning to talk about focus.
Though it appeared that my editor had snatched away a chance I desperately wanted, for the next year or so with my focus on only Silhouette Romance I shifted from writing good stories to writing great stories. Something similar happened at Harlequin Romance. When I shifted to HR and the London offices, I had to learn how to write a totally different kind of book. It was hard. (Understatement alert.) But I had some patient editors and nowhere else to go. (This was pre-self-publishing and pre-boutique e-pubs.) So I kept working and thinking and analyzing and tinkering and the last six books I put out were probably the six best books of my career.
So what am I saying?
Aside from any caution about putting out books that aren't ready (LOL...I just can't keep my nose out of your business...) I'm saying that sometimes being stuck isn't such a bad thing. I'm saying focus always produces growth. I'm saying commit. Commit to something and learn to do it really well.
I know you want to be a single-title-heartwarming, short-contemporary-sexy, mainstream-paranormal writer, but without the proper time and focus will you give any one of them enough attention to be wonderful? Amazing? Buzz worthy?
Because that's really what separates the good writers from the great writers: wonderful, amazing, buzz -worthy books. And you don't create those without a little time and attention. Focus. And you won't get focus if you're writing everything. As Charles Givens said in WEALTH WITHOUT RISK...Sometimes when you diversify, you deworsify...(That's a sad quote, but it fits. LOL The 80's were a strange time.)