I spent a fabulous and challenging morning yesterday, courtesy of Zoom, at a workshop for the Marcher Chapter of the Romantic Novelists' Association, led by RNA Chairperson and tutor extraordinaire Alison May. Alison was coaxing us all - OK in some cases strenuously coaxing - to find or rediscover our author's voice, by way of a number of interesting questions about us and our work. Nothing about book writing as such - no tools or techniques - it was all about us - as people and writers.
I got a lot from the session and I know others did too. When it was my turn under the spotlight the question that I focused on was about the book of my heart. Yes I have one. It's been with me for a long time, and I have probably mentioned it before in blog posts. But I have never come closer to writing it than collecting a few notes and scribbling down a few ideas. Of course Alison called me out on why I wasn't writing it, and what was I going to do about it?
It's a complex answer. It's still romantic suspense, but it's quite different from the style I am writing at the moment. Will readers like it? It's going to be a big book, in all senses of the word, so it is going to take some work and time. Will I be able to do the idea justice? If start it, am I risking disappointment if I don't produce a perfect result? Better to keep the dream? Having just gone through the process of producing an academic thesis, am I ready to embark on another big, weighty project? I think the answer to that one currently is no. Is that cowardice? Maybe. Having been out of the loop while finishing that thesis, I'm having fun writing the escapist stuff, and enjoying the buzz of having a new book out there. You simply can't beat it. At the moment, after the thesis and with the world as it is, having fun with the writing and producing some escapism feels like the right thing.
At some stage I really will have to step up to the plate. The idea of doing the PhD haunted me for a long time, until I finally gave in. This book looks like it will do the same.
I'm not ready yet. But I sense that it's creeping up on me.