As I was working on my first novel, Attachments, I remember reading author blogs and listening to authors talk and always hoping they would reveal some secret that would make all the difference. Some sort of publishing shortcut or insider information or unbeatable writing tip…I don’t think these exist.
Everyone pretty much says the same thing — READ. WRITE. FINISH. (That third one is crucial)
But one piece of advice, which really didn’t have anything to do with writing, really did end up making all the difference personally. I read an interview with Diana Gabaldon, who writes the excellent Outlander series, and she was talking about how she managed to write and work and be a mom. And she said (paraphrasing here) that she stopped caring about cleaning. She forgave herself for not being a great housekeeper.
This idea hit me like three and a half tons of bricks. It seemed so wise — and so freeing!
It’s too much to work full-time and have small kids and write novels. That right there is already too much. Trying to keep up with laundry, too? MADNESS.
I asked myself what my real priorities were. Being a good mom and a good newspaper columnist were important to me. Giving myself a real shot as a novelist was important for me. Making sure that my house was always ready for company…was not.
So I gave myself permission not to clean. (Does that sound radical? It felt radical.)
My husband pinched in a lot. Between the two of us, we kept the house from smelling or changing colors. But we didn’t try to beat back the clutter. We still don’t.
There are almost always dishes in our sink — we pat ourselves on the back for getting them that far. And I sort my personal laundry on a quarterly basis. (You probably think I’m kidding. I’m not kidding. I have a hundred pairs of socks. I dig out the high-priority stuff, jeans and my favorite nerdy T-shirts, as necessary.)
I’m not exactly proud of our messy house. And it does bother me sometimes … the stacks of shoes by the door, the piles of homework and mail, the dust. But I try to think of everything I’m accomplishing instead.
My first novel is published — it’s real, I can touch it. My second comes out next year and I just finished my first draft of the third. I could never have written these books and stay on top of everything else.
I have plenty of dirty laundry, yes — but no regrets.
Debut Authors & Novels- March/April 2011
Available: March 2011
Synopsis: Four women, one wedding and a day to remember – or rather forget . . .
Anna’s world is rocked when she receives an invitation to her ex Toby’s nuptials – Toby was The One, The Love of Her Life, The One That Got Away. Will attending his Big Day finally give her the sense of closure she so desperately craves? Or will it only re-open old wounds?
Clare is Anna’s best friend, the person who was there for her when she and Toby split all those years ago. But little does Clare know that Toby’s wedding day will also change her own life for ever.
Ella is a classic femme fatale. She loves men and leaves them without a backward glance. But the one person who’s never fallen for her charms is Toby. As he prepares to get hitched, is it too late for a last-ditch attempt to win his heart?
Finally, Rachel is the blushing bride-to-be. This should be the happiest day of her life. So how come she feels nothing but a terrible sense of foreboding?
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Available: April 2011
Synopsis: It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange. At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail – and also, I think I love you’. After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first-sight. Heartwarming, witty and unforgettable, ATTACHMENTS is an irresistible romantic comedy that has it all.
Author: Victoria Fox
Available: April 2011
Synopsis: POWER Marriage to Hollywood heartthrob Cole Steel secured Lana Falcon a glittering place on the red carpet. But running from a wicked past she has trapped herself in a gilded cage the price of freedom…her soul? REVENGE Kate diLaurentis s career is fading as quickly as her looks… What could be worse than discovering her husband s latest mistress is Hollywood s hottest starlet? Her only option the most shocking revenge. LUST Chloe French s innocent beauty has captured a million hearts, but no one’s warned her of the dangerous, dark temptation of rock star Nate – will lust destroy her? GREED Las Vegas King, Robert St Louis s fairytale wedding to Sin City’s richest heiress is tabloid gold… But scandal circles like a vulture – dirty secrets are about to be exposed! BETRAYAL From the deepest desires come the deadliest deeds…and these four couples are about to pay for their sins…