Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Tyranny of the Blank Page

by Anna Campbell

After Jo's beautiful post yesterday, I wasn't sure what I could follow it up with today. Anything after that would just seem banal.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you something I've been thinking about a bit lately.
As a lot of you know, life chez Anna Campbell has been pretty exciting lately. It's awards season and to my delight and surprise, both UNTOUCHED and CLAIMING THE COURTESAN have appeared on several lists of the year's best. A great thrill, because it's based on reader votes, was being chosen as Best New Author of 2007 in the All About Romance Annual Reader Poll. Another great thrill because it's such a prestigious award was seeing CLAIMING THE COURTESAN nominated (along with my talented fellow Bandita Donna MacMeans's THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY) for Best First Historical Romance in the Romantic Times 2007 Reviewers Choice Awards. Michelle Buonfiglio at Lifetime TV chose CLAIMING THE COURTESAN not only as Debut of 2007 but also Book of the Year! Wow!

But as most romance writers, aspiring or published, will tell you - the one you really, REALLY want to final in is Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards. It was one of the dreams that kept me going through my years in the wilderness before I sold. The hope that one day I'd be able to say I was nominated for a RITA! You need such dreams when you're struggling against self-doubt and rejection and a world which keeps telling you to be sensible and give up trying to get what you want because it's impossible to achieve.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, this impossible dream came true. I received a phone call in the middle of the afternoon from megastar Lorraine Heath to let me know that BOTH my books had finaled in the Best Regency Historical Romance category. It took quite a while for the news to sink in! One of the loveliest things about that moment is Lorraine was among the first people to read CTC and she gave me a great quote which appeared on the cover. So there was a fantastic feeling of artistic balance about the whole occasion!

As you can imagine, I've been excited and happy and pleased and grateful and... You know the drill! I've had several riotous celebrations, including one with my local writer friends that I talk about here. And for a week or so there, the house was fragrant with the bunches of flowers wonderful wellwishers sent me.

But in between all this hoopla, my REAL life continues. And my real life is writing my fourth historical romance for Avon.

With all of this positive reinforcement, you'd think writing the next book would be a doddle, wouldn't you?

Well, the answer is a resounding...


The awards and the praise have been absolutely amazing and I'll always be grateful for the lovely things that have happened to me over the last few weeks. But the stark truth is that filling blank pages with my stories, finding out what I want to say and saying it as well as I possibly can, bringing characters who are alive in my head alive on paper, that never gets easier.

Which I've decided is a GOOD thing!

Well, I think it's a good thing...

There's something scary but unerringly honest about trying to tell the best story you can. I think the process makes you honest. It's just you and the writing, nothing else. It's ruthless, occasionally rewarding, often terrifying. But it keeps me grounded the way very few other things do. And each book turns out to be as big a challenge - or sometimes a bigger challenge - than the book before. Because each book presents its own world and its own problems and requires its own solutions that you only reach through painful effort and more ups and downs than your common or garden rollercoaster.

And at the end of all that anguish and hard graft, you hopefully get a book that you're proud to see on a shelf somewhere. And hopefully that other people will like and tell you that they like! So long live awards season!

What keeps you grounded through good and bad times? What makes it all worthwhile for you? Can we help you celebrate anything? You know we love a party in the lair!


Donna MacMeans said...

wHAT!!! Can this be? Has the GR come to Ohio? I didn't even race to the bottom of the blog to see the number of comments.

Donna MacMeans said...

Okay - now for the sane comment *g*. I think your blog should be titled THE TERROR OF THE BLANK PAGE as that terror keeps me from spending time in the chair, fingers on keyboard. Yet, I do trust the process and that's what keeps me going. Sooner or later the magic will kick in and the words will flow.

Anna Campbell said...

Ha! He is indeed having a stopover in Ohio! Congratulations, Donna! And believe me, I know the terror whereof you speak, my friend ;-) Just off to battle it right now - although at least you've got a nice friendly chook to peck you back into your work seat!

Jane said...

I don't have anything to celebrate, but I'm always up for a party. Let the champagne flow. Does this party have an open bar? Will there be a stripper?

Anna Campbell said...

JANE!!! And I had you pegged for the intellectual type! Hmm, think we could drag in a stripper. The cabana boys are generally hot to trot for anything! And believe me, while I'm cyber buying cyber drinks, that's bar's as open as it gets!

Darcy Burke said...

Today, cleaning the bathroom kept me grounded. Pretty much despised every second of it, but it had to be done. Celebration? Hmmmm. My 7yo daughter blocked three goals tonight!

Oh, and I came up with turning points for my next book. Always a good thing. Let's hope my CPs think so too. :-)

flchen1 said...

Woohoo, Donna! The GR's partying in Ohio today! :) Maybe he bring some muses with him ;)

Anna, congratulations again on your incredible double nominations!! The champagne's still flowing, and those cabana boys are hopping to bring refills, chocolate, and massages!

To be honest, the blank page fear is what's stopping me from signing up to be a reviewer--I love the reading, and sometimes I'm have things to say, but to HAVE to say things, preferably in a timely, coherent, witty way is just too much for me. So instead, I take the coward's way and hide in the back, behind my TBR :) (It's plenty big and I'm sure no one will find me back here ;))

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Darcy cool on your daughter! And isn't it great when you come up with the right idea at last? By the way, how do you feel now about your Golden Heart final? Are you still walking on air? Has it become real to you yet? Congratulations again!

Fedora, you can run but you can't hide. And with all these avid readers, we'll just read our way through the book mountain until we find you. Sort of like looking for a diamond in a mine seam! It's silly, the terror of the blank page, isn't it? I've learnt a very good trick - I never start the day at the top of a new page. I always go at least a line onto the new page when I finish the day before. That way I don't have all that blank white awfulness glaring at me! Is that pathetic or what?

Hey, and thanks for the congrats! I think you need a refill. Tawny, unhand that cabana boy! We want him to do some waiter duties before you have your wicked way with him!

flchen1 said...

Ooh, that's a good one, Anna! It's true--it seems when I have to write anything (not often), it's best to just plunge in and start somewhere, anywhere. Then at least you have something to edit :)

Gillian Layne said...

Anna, Congrats on the super year, which has been such a great testament to rewards of perseverance and hard work!

Congrats to Donna on the GR :)

Annie West said...


I've said it before and I'll say it again- CONGRATULATIONS! Such well deserved nominations. If anything was needed to help you through the terror (yes, Donna, I agree) of a blank page, that's it.

Actually, it's not always terror. Sometimes, especially if I have a great opening in mind, it's fun. But more often it's just plain hard work. Such a relief to have words, any words on the page, even if I know I have to put in a lot more work on them.

What gets me through? Definitely celebrations. Anna - do you realise we haven't seen each other since the RITA news? Roll on May when we finally get together. Have you stocked up on champagne? I can see us now, giggling and nattering well into the night.

The other things that get me through the highs and lows are my writing friends and getting my precious books in my hands (I bought another bookcase a few weeks ago and my books are now on a shelf, not in a box)! I just received a copy of my May US release (The Greek Tycoon's Unexpected Wife) so I've been drooling and stroking it (erk, not a pretty picture, sorry) and have put it on my new bookcase.


Keziah Hill said...

I'm so proud of you Anna! Well done! As for black pages, I have a blank mind. Haven't really done any writing for about 4 months, but tomorrow I move back to Sydney so hopefully will start having a stable life! With some writing! Halleluiah! (the kd lang version)

Amy Andrews said...

Congrats Anna again on a stellar year and many, many sorrows to be unable to toast your success with champers the other day(damn silly time ot give up the grog!!!) and that I was in such a rush I didn't get to sit with you properly and spend the time to tell you how very happy I am for you and how very, very proud.

I'd like to celebrate good friends. I've had a couple of set backs in my career the last couple of weeks and it's been the support of good friends that have helped me through it.
Here's to good friends.

Annie West said...

Amy, just saw your post. Hope things aren't too bad. Sending lots of positive vibes.


Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Donna have fun with him

Again congrats Anna on a wonderful year those books deserve to be nominated I loved them as you know.

I have something to celebrate one of my daughters is going to have a baby we will be grandparents again early December and we couldn't be happier bit of a shock to all but we are so happy this will make 3 grandchildren and I can't wait there is nothing like to smell and cry of a new born baby.

have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Fedora, I'm sure you've heard it before, but a great piece of advice comes from the legendary Nora Roberts. You can fix a bad page but you can't fix a blank one!

Gillian, thanks so much for those lovely words.

Annie, really looking forward to getting together in May. I'm already stocking the cellar ;-) Thanks for the congrats! You seem to be congratulating me all over the Net at the moment and I DO appreciate it!

Anna Campbell said...

Amy, I'm sure we'll get a chance to make up for the lack of drinking on Monday! Sorry to hear things haven't been going too well for you. Sending vibes for a change in fortunes pronto! Thanks for the congrats!

Keziah! Thanks so much for the congratulations! And I'm so glad you're getting your living situation sorted out. Hallelujah - the Leonard Cohen version ;-)

Helen, what fantastic news! Congratulations! More grandchildren to keep you busy! What fun! And thanks for your congratulations - you've been an amazing support to me right from the start and it really means a lot to me.

Buffie said...

WOW, Anna, I guess all those awards means you made it, and that we really, really like you (that's a take on Sally Fields' award speech from several years ago). Congrats to you and boy do you deserve it girl!!

As far as celebrating . . . there's nothing at the moment to celebrate. But, I am planning a huge celebration (hopefully for the very near future). What for? Well, for when the dh finally finds a job. I think we will have a week long celebration when that day comes.

And did someone mention strippers??!!!??!!!

Christine Wells said...

Anna, what a brilliant start to a fabulous career! Congratulations, you deserve every accolade that's given you. What an amazing list.

I think you're right, that you need the challenge each book presents. Sometimes, I think it would be nice if it were plain sailing. The terror of the blank page for me boils down to thinking I have to get it right the first time. That hasn't changed, even with my third published novel. Sigh. But here's to family, good friends and great writing! And to love. They're the things I'd like to celebrate.

Donna, Congrats!

Amy Andrews said...

Nah - it's good Annie and Anna, ignore the drama queen. Just the ups and downs of the biz.

Congrats on gradkiddy #3, Helen. I'm about to be an aunty again and I just can't wait.

Dina said...

Congrats Donna.

We will be celebrating my granddaughters 1st birthday next month. We are happy about that. :)

Joan said...

What? Huh? Oh, Hi....I was staring at a blank page.

Crafting the story is what keeps me grounded. Even if it doesn't come until after hours of staring at the screen thinking "WHAT do I write now???" or "That totally s*cks"

But I keep on. And then I go back and make it better...and better.

Celebration wise it is SUCH a thrill to celebrate your double RITA nomination. I KNOW you'll win and I will be in SF whooping and hollaring in the audience (I'll be the cheer with the KY accent :-)

Oh, also...that I'm on vacation AND on my way to Ireland tomorrow!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wooooooo-hooooooo! *swinging in on the chandelier* Nothing like a good chandelier swing to start the morning off right, is there? Heehee. Congrats on the chook, Donna! Glad its warmed up a bit in your 'hood, so he won't freeze his...feathers off. Grins.

Anna, celebrations with you just ROCK. Niiiiiice one on the cabana boys.

Joanie, I'm celebrating that anyone gets to go to Ireland so they can come back and tell me about it. Wish I could go too *slight pout* but I have pages to go before I sleep again. (to totally plagerize Robert Frost)

Anna, I think the blank page IS tough. What's also scary is the big mess you get when you reach The End and know that somewhere in the pile, there's a decent - nay even a GOOD - story, but you'll have to find it amongst the drek. Ha! I totally subscribe to Nora's "Can't fix what you haven't written" deal, so I write. But wrestling it into order? Shudder.

Okay, that's scary. Let's talk about champagne instead! Who likes Veuve Cliquot? The Widow Veuve's bubbly is QUITE good. ;>

I'm celebrating having successfuly plotzed (a pantzers version of plotting) my next two books and having gotten a decent "request for revisions" from a very nice agent for my paranormals. Not bad!

(And for Suz's benefit, the household is celebrating that the Cubs won last night after 15 innings...argh.)

Hallelujah! (The Handel Version)

Esri Rose said...

Great post, Anna, and congratulations all over again! I can't wait to see you win that Rita in San Francisco!

It may be the desire to write a "perfect" story that keeps me writing. In that case, I hope it never happens, because it might stop me dead in my tracks. There's the joy of finding a job that I like pretty much every aspect of, for the first time ever. And there's the hope that someday I'll become well-known. I admit, I'd like that.

Christine: I also long to write a first draft that just needs a lick of polish, although having deadlines is making me get over that, so I'm actually grateful for real deadlines. So far.

Jeanne: Congrats on the good request for revisions!

limecello said...


CONGRATULATIONS! That's such a big deal! Haha, I think what keeps me grounded is life. I thought I was having a bad week (roommate issues, electricity being cut off, getting in a car accident, bar applications) and then... a friend I was supposed to have dinner with told me she had to cancel because her cousin had been shot and killed. :X
Good news... I guess this is something to celebrate. I just found out I'm [co] executive editor for my school's Intellectual Property Law Journal for next year.

Anna Sugden said...

What a fab post Foanna - an excellent insight into the trials and tribulations of being a writer.

Congrats again on all your well-deserved success! And thanks for eassuring me that even awesome writers face the blank page scenario!

My extremely supportive hubby and my wonderful writing pals keep me sane/grounded through the ups and downs. And as long as I keep hearing the voices, there's always something to write - even on those days when I don't wanna!

I can see there's lots to celebrate here in the Lair - trips to Ireland, new grandbabies, new jobs, booming careers and daughters blocking goals (could she teach my Devils how to do that?!)


jo robertson said...

Great post, Anna, and so true! We love the hullabaloo of celebrating awards and debuts and reviews, but in the end, we return to the next book, the next story, and start all over again.

And the next book never gets easier, as you say, even though sometimes I EXPECT it to go more smoothly.

I'm on the downward slope of my fourth book and my first historical mystery, and I'm feeling that giddy slide that comes after 60,000 words when you see the end in sight and it looks so sweet.

It's very heady because it starts to close the circle and that blank page is gloriously filled with your own words and ideas. It still amazes me how something can come from nothing.

jo robertson said...

Oops, forgot to say congrats!

To Anna again for all the amazing and well deserved awards.

To all our recent GH finalists.

To Joanie, in whose luggage I'm stowing away to visit the lovely Ireland. Is it really tomorrow??!!

To Donna for capturing the GR without even trying.

To all of us just 'cuz we like to party and can pretty much find any old reason for a celebration.

MsHellion said...

GREAT BLOG! Love're inspiring as always, Anna! A regular Cinderella story...even if you were, figuratively, scrubbing floors a long time before you found your prince.

My friends keep me grounded; my CPs keep me on track--and make it worth while when they laugh or cry at a part that I laughed or cried at. It's worth it when people get what I'm trying to say. I think, hey, if they get it, chances are there are more who will as well.

Congrats, Anna! I think you're brilliant!

Donna MacMeans said...

Ouch! THe GR does have a decided masochistic streak doesn't he? (I'm typing! I'm typing! Lay off the beak a bit). I blame P226 for teaching the GR such aggressive tactics to force me to face that dreaded blank page.

Forgot to say congrats to Anna the last time. I was too dazzled by capturing the rooster to mind my manners *g*. Congrats as well to all the Golden Heart finalists. Fingers crossed that this recognition will lead to a sale.

I'd join you all in champagne and chocolates but I've got to fit into that corset for RT next week. If you're going, don't forget to stop by and share a laugh or two.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

I don't think I've said it yet, but congrats on the RITA's...

I'm so excited for you. And the books, sigh... I'm just happy they both made it.

As to blank pages... hmmm... you need to celebrate some more, that should help.

And Donna, yay to finding corset wearers... I corset trained for many years, before I had kids. Though I don't do it to get into historical costume, it was more a fetishing thing, how low can you go. :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


I'm sure I've said this before, but I'll say it again... Fo, you so TOTALLY DESERVE those 2 nominations! Too bad both books can't win. :-( I'd be hard pressed to chose between them.

Helen, WONDERFUL NEWS on the new grandbaby! And Dina, SUPER CONGRATS on yours turning one. Since I'll probably never have grandchildren (and that's okay since it is my son's decision, NOT MINE!)can I live vicariously through yours?!?!

Joanie, raise a glass of Guiness (room temp of course) to us whilst you are on the auld sod! Scoot over, Jo-Mama, it's crowded in this suitcase! :-P

I believe (fervently) that having my book in my hands AT LONG LAST will make all the blank page terrors worth it! Meanwhile, the writing has NOT become any easier. If anything it is more difficult because I'm terrified I can't do it again and write another book my editor (and readers) will love...

That's where the Banditas and all our buddies come in. All of you keep me INSANE, which is a necessary state to actually create something from nothing (thanks for that, Jo)!

So keep up the insanity and pass more bubbly!


terrio said...

I should have known I'd find a party in here. Whoohoo! Congrats Donna on the GR, all the GH finalists and to the undeniably deserving Anna! I want to celebrate the fact that I'll get to be there to hear your acceptance speech!

The dreaded blank pages are less of an issue for me right now than the dreaded not-enough-hours-in-the-day issue. If only my clock could gain hours as easily (and quickly) as I gain pounds.

But visiting communities like this one, knowing I'm not alone in my pursuit of this dream and it's all worth it when it happens, helps me keep my path in sight. Even when it's hard to find in all the weeds and dust.

terrio said...

And I'll be there to visit you during the booksigning next weekend, Donna. I'll have my camera ready so wear your best smile!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Aunty Cindy said: If anything it is more difficult because I'm terrified I can't do it again and write another book my editor (and readers) will love...

Amen, sister, amen!!

Of course you also said keep up the insanity and pass the bubbly which I ALSO agree with! Hic!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Buffie, you should be the girl I chase to recommend the strippers. I sometimes wonder if you're called Buffie because you put up all those very buff pictures of handsome blokes! ;-) Let us know about your husband and his job! We're always looking for an excuse to raise a glass in the lair (as if you didn't know!). Laughed at the Sally Field reference - I've threatened if I win to wear a very crushed lolly pink dress and cry my eyes out for a good ten minutes!

Christine, what a lovely post. Although I really feel I've been getting more congratulations out of you than I deserve lately! I've learnt that I will NEVER do it right first time which is probably why this first draft is coming more easily than my previous ones. Mind you, it also means I have thousands of hours of rewrites ahead of me! But I have that anyway! Sigh, I'm sure there's a better process than mine!

Anna Campbell said...

Dina, congratulations on your grand daughter's first birthday! That's definitely something to celebrate!

JT, is it tomorrow you go to terrorise...uh, ADORN the Emerald Isle? Have a fantastic time. That's definitely something to celebrate with a wave of the shilaleagh and a clover-picking session! Thanks for the good wishes. I'm not holding my breath - the RITA is full of wonderful books. I know it sounds corny, but just being nominated is really such a thrill!

Anna Campbell said...

Hallelujah, the Handel version? Now, dem's fightin' words, Duchesse! Congratulations on all your writing progress! The weird thing is I've learned to love the turning the dross into story process. I've learned it's ALL negotiable!

Limecello, congratulations on the editor position! Perhaps I'll meet you at Avon one day across a desk! How awful for your friend - condolences to her and her family. And are you OK? I think you can definitely say if a car accident is involved, you've had a troublesome week. Oh, and thanks for the congrats! It's really exciting!

Anna Campbell said...

Esri, thanks so much for the congrats. And I'm SURE you'll get your well known wish! Actually I sometimes think I write because it's something I'll never get bored with. It's just too darned TOUGH!!! I don't think anyone EVER writes the perfect story and as you said, if they did, where would they go from there? Looking forward to partying with you in SF too!

Anna, one of the things getting to know really successful writers has taught me is that I think nearly all of us face this tyranny of the blank page. I meet people who I KNOW have conquered the writing demons, and then I find I'm completely wrong. And they go through the same emotional ups and downs as I do. Thanks so much for the congrats! It's been such fun celebrating this news with my Bandita pals!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Jo, you're so right. I've finally got to a point with this book where the seeds I planted in the beginning (which needs major surgery) are starting to sprout roses. Well, if not roses, at least not poison ivy. Although with my characters, they may as well be in poison ivy, poor things. I do love to see them suffer and right now, they're suffering like you wouldn't believe! I love the sound of your historical mystery - it's a genre I really enjoy!

Hey, and thanks, Bandita, for the congrats! As you say, there's been much to celebrate in the old lair lately!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Ms Hellion! I think I'll print that one out and put it on a T-shirt! Thanks for the congrats. The weird thing is now I look back on all that time unpublished, it was time well spent. I learnt a lot and could go through my embarrassingly bad apprenticeship out of the public eye. You're right about the reaction of readers in tune with your work helping to keep you going. One of the things I miss about not writing comedies anyone is that I don't get to hear my critique partner have a giggle now and again. Not a lot of giggles in your average Regency noir!

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, thanks for the congrats but you have said them before, you know! ;-) Wish I was coming to RT with you. I think it's going to be such fun. And you tell that rooster to behave! He doesn't know his own strength since P226 put him through that fitness course!

Wow, Tiffany, did you find the corsets comfortable once you got used to them? Apparently a Regency corset isn't actually that much of a torture instrument unlike some of the later ones. But it gave you great posture which is something I could definitely use! Thanks for the congrats. Seriously, I'm stoked! And because I love both books, I'm so happy too that they both made it. I don't have to cuddle the rejected one and tell it it's OK to be picked last on the softball team.

By the way, Annie, the picture of you drooling all over poor Stavros made me think of a certain Gollum. Preciousssssss!

Anna Campbell said...

AC, I think facing the terror is part of the process. It's an awful thing to go through but as you said, if you get to hold a book in your hand at the end of it, it's well worth it! I can't wait till I get to read The Wild Sight - I've ordered it from Amazon! Thanks for the congrats! And as you say, isn't it great to hear everyone's good news?

Terri, amidst all the light-heartedness, you've said a mouthful there. Honestly, I'd never have come CLOSE to publication without my writing friends. They understand the downs and they understand the ups and they're always ready to congratulate or commiserate. Sometimes both in the same breath (you gotta love people who hear voices, doncha?). And the friends you find on the way make the journey worthwhile whatever the end result.

The whole time thing is a pain, isn't it? Especially as there are things you don't WANT to sacrifice like your family. I think it's prioritising and snatching what time you can - you can write a couple of hundred words in half an hour and I think we can all find half an hour a day. And man, I hear you on the housework! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Terri, please email the pictures to the Bandits! We'd love to see them! Please give Donna a hug for me. I can't wait to hear how RT goes! Have a great time! And tell us about any encounters with celebrities - no, not just the cover models, dear!

Joan said...

Ok, so I have Jo, Jeanne, Anna C., AC in the carry on.....

Guess I'll have to take one of my Roman boys along to tote the luggage. I'll set them up in a snug with a pint while I troll for black haired, blue eyed Irish boys :-)

I'm sitting here THINKING about packing...I know I have to do it. Trying NOT to think about the severe weather forecast for 10 am in the we're flying off. But I'll give a full report on my return.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

My corsets in the beginning were trainers, and custom made to fit. So they are comfortable. But I was doing major cinching (6 inches)
There are rules for wearing them, too. about eating and tightening. :) It's fun, and very very good for posture. But I'll tell you, when you take that baby off at the end of the day... You take a big big breath of relief and look down at all the indentations on your rib's stomach and 'round back. :)

terrio said...

Anna - the pics will be emailed ASAP! That is, if I can steal some wireless somewhere. My family (whom I'm visiting on this trip) live in the stone age and none of them have internet. I KNOW! How do they survive?!

Joan - can I order one of those black haired, blue eyed Irishmen? You wouldn't mind bringing him back for me, would you?

terrio said...

Anna - I had to go back and read my comment to figure out what you meant about housework. I didn't actually mean that in the dust comment even though it fits. LOL! But thanks for thinking I have weeds growing in my livingroom.

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Joan, Romans? Blue eyed Irishmen??!! Forget those other Banditas - just take me! Oh, and I think we can squeeze Terrio in if she asks nicely and promises to buy us Bailey's as we travel.

Tiffany, how interesting. Actually the Regency ones weren't really for cinching which is probably why they weren't uncomfortable. I often think about the women who came to Australia in the 19th century who continued to wear the full English fashion, including horse hair petticoats and heavy corsetry and think to myself no wonder so many of them died in droves! And man, the ones who survived had to be tough!

Terri, no Internet? I'd DIE!!! I often wonder how I survived without it for so long. Oh, wish I was coming to RT!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

LMAO!! Terri! I think that was a bit of a Freudian slip. I've been working really hard on my story and I don't think I'm far off having weeds growing in my lounge room! So naturally dust and weeds made me think of...MY HOUSE!!! How disgusting! ;-)

Joan said...

Terrio said: can I order one of those black haired, blue eyed Irishmen? You wouldn't mind bringing him back for me, would you?

Well, I think there is a 3 limit custom probably yes...the third I was planning on giving away as a prize for the RB 1year anniversary!

terrio said...

Y'all are so good to me. LOL! Joan - making him a prize means wrapping him up, right? And that means *unwrapping*. This could be good.

Anna - I forgive you. My imagery wasn't so good on that one. LOL! I overshot.

Beth said...

Anna, congrats again on all your well deserved success!! I'm so happy for you *g*

I try to always find something to celebrate - have even started thinking of 5 things to be thankful for each day.

On today's list I think I'll include my kids' awesome report cards and my son starting his first job (now there's something to celebrate!) By bedtime, I'm sure I'll think of three more :-)

As for the blank page, it is frightening. I'm teaching myself to write what I call first draft pages just so I don't have all that white starting at me. It works because I start thinking of new scenes and bits of dialogue that I can then turn into my revised pages which will someday be the best of all: Polished pages!

Joan said...

making him a prize means wrapping him up, right? And that means *unwrapping*. This could be good.

Welllllll....wrapping would be quite enjoyable "Here, need a bit of tape here...and oh, there and och, that pesky chest hair just won't hold...

Nancy said...

Wow--Donna! Has the rooster EVER been at your house? How cool!

Anna C., this is a great post. Of course the blank page is terrifying. That's what gets my bathroom cleaned. Or the laundry folded. Or the living room dusted, or ... you get the idea. Anyway, we're all planning to lubricate our throats to make some noise when they call your name in San Francisco.

Jane, we love champagne in the lair. Rumor has it that the rooster likes it, too.

Darcy--your daugher rocks! Blocking so well at 7 is superb.

Buffie, good luck with the dh's job search. Ending one is always an occasion!

Dina and Helen, congratulations on your grandchild news. Turning one is a big deal (it was when our son did, anyway), and the anticipation of a baby is so wonderful.

Joan, bring us back a wonderful trip report!

I don't really know what keeps me grounded, Anna. Maybe my friends who talk sense into me when it needs doing?

Christine Wells said...

Hi Esri! Lovely to see you here.

And yes, Anna, I always think there must be a better process, but I've tried to be more efficient and it didn't work. I've finally accepted the way I do things is the right way for me and I'm getting on a lot better with my ms as a result.

I write some, then go over it, then write some more, discover something new about a character that means I have to go back and rework what went before. Ack! It's a nightmare. I would love to be someone like you who just writes the dirty draft quickly. At least you've got something to work with then. But if I do that I end up needing huge rewrites and I think for me that takes longer in the end.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, JT, are Banditas eligible for the prize? Pretty please with sugar on top?

Terri, you're a scary girl when you get hold of the masking tape! Aha! Masking tape, just what you should use in a Bandit Lair!

Beth, sounds like your process approximates mine. I've learnt that somewhere in the dross, a story is usually waiting. Even some actual words that end up in the final version! And I think one of the secrets to happiness is finding joy in the day to day stuff so congratulations on your celebrations, Bandita!

Nancy, it's terrible how attractive housework becomes when writing is the alternative, isn't it? Although at the moment, the writing isn't going too badly which is why my house looks like a compost heap!

Christine! Huge rewrites? Don't talk about them. I sometimes wonder if anything out of that first draft gets to the end in one piece. But as you have found, trying other alternative ways of working just seems to bring me back to my own personal chaos.

Caren Crane said...

Donna, did Hades finally freeze over?! Has the GR ever even seen your neck of the woods? *g*

Anna C, congrats on ALL your successes! I expect they will keep you floating for quite some time. *g*

As to staying grounded, life generally keeps me grounded. Real life, not my writing life. Having to wash peoples' undies and clean cat vomit off the porch - things like that. Not terribly glamorous.

My writer friends (Banditas included) get me through the lows and keep me heading back to the keyboard, which is an official FRENEMY!

Terrio, I'm with you on the not enough hours in the day thing! Here I am, up past my bedtime again just to find time to pop on and comment. Argh!

But to celebrate, I have a brilliantly-plotted book to start on - as soon as I find time! (need more paid time off...)

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, always lovely to here from you, even if necessity makes you a latecomer to the party! Ugh to the cat vomit, by the way! And excellent news about the great book you've got ahead of you!

Thanks to everyone for popping by and saying congrats! It's been fun!

Darcy Burke said...

Anna, you are so kind! Thank you! The GH final feels great. Still a bit surreal, but sinking in. I'm really looking forward to San Francisco!

Darcy Burke said...

Oh, and congrats back at you, Anna! You're on FIRE! :-)

Buffie said...

Hey Anna -- in regards to my name, nope that's not the reason I'm called Buffie. LOL! Actually, that is my given name. Yep, it's on the birth certificate. But I am named after my maternal grandfather whose nickname was Buff. I never did get that story out of him or my grandmother before they passed, so I don't know why they called him that. But he was a ladies man!

Anna Campbell said...

Darcy, I'm sure it does still feel surreal! Good luck for SF!!!

Buffie, how cool you being named after your grandfather named BUFF! And now you say you're an Olympic swimmer (almost) - I bet you ARE buff!!! My grandfathers were Louis or Sophus (Danish name - thank goodness, I escaped that one). Always like the name Louisa, though, so I could have been OK. Mind you, Sophia isn't a nice name and it definitely has a Regency twinkle.

Linda said...

Anna! Congrats on all your accolades!! Couldn't happen to a ncier gal...gee, am I fishing for a drinkie in SF? Actually, it is I who owe you a drink, though I can't recall why - I better put this martini down and think about what it was...

FOURTH book! 4!!!!! FOUR!!!!! Girlie, you be jamming! I knwo #4 will be as great as numbers 1-3 and will also be nominated for many I fishing for free copies for my library???

O.k. I have two good news thingys -
My dog has recovered from being posioned by her medication she takes for epilepsy! She almost died but I am happy to say she is bouncing back nicely. I know this because last night I found her humping her pillow - which means all systems are go.

The first story I edited for the Wild Rose Press is now in Galley format and ready to be pubbed! Too excited for the author and even more excited for me that I got the same production formatting figured out.

O.k. dude, kiss kiss! Blood Mary's at the Ferry Building - don't you forget. --Linda