Spring is here?

Well, it’s April 15 and the second consecutive day of icy rain and snow in Toronto. The calendar may say spring, but Mother Nature has other ideas. It’s a good time to stay indoors and get caught up on things like this blog post. I’m less than 5000 words away from wrapping up my latest work in progress which makes me both happy and sad. On one hand, I’ll be glad to finally finish something; on the other, I don’t know what comes after.

It’s been a tough year writing wise. My full-time career has taken precedence, leaving me fulfilled but exhausted. And the unending drama in my genre has left me more cynical than ever. It’s taken me almost the entire year to write 45000 words (although I did write a Christmas short for Dreamspinner Pres in there too) and it’s harder and harder all the time to remember why I do this. Then I fall in love with my characters, like Henry and Cameron and I remember. I do it for them. Sometimes I think I’m a glutton for punishment.

Anyway, I’m trying to finish Run Away in the next month or so before good weather hits so I can spend more time outdoors in my garden, although that seems a long way off when I look out the window. Then I’ll probably take a bit of a break over the summer, recharge and re-evaluate next steps in the fall.

Happy Spring. Hope to see it soon.

 

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New year, new start?

Looking at the infrequency of my posts here and on Facebook, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve been going through a bit of a creative crisis the last six months. After finishing writing ‘The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change’ last spring, I kind of crashed. There were a number of factors at play. My day job suddenly required a lot more of my attention, and after five years publishing I felt I was at a crossroads. I lost the joy. The days when I’d ask myself “Why am I doing this?” became more and more frequent. With publishers closing, readers not wanting to pay for quality work, a genre that seems to churn out hundreds of titles a month and from which I felt increasingly separated, spending what little free time I had writing seemed pointless when I could be doing so many other things.

But this is what I think separates writers who write out of love from writers who write to get rich—we can’t stop. Characters, stories are part of us, and we’re lost when they go silent. At least I know I am. Even in the face of futility, we persevere.

So it’s only recently, as in the last couple of weeks, that I’ve begun writing again. I dusted off the story I began last summer and am slowly pounding away at it. It feels a bit like coming home, but at the same time, I’m wary. Things have changed, or I have changed. Some weeks I’ve only managed two thousand words, and if I have a taxing day at work, I don’t feel guilty about vegging on the couch rather than sitting at the keyboard. I’m happy saying it’ll be done when it’s done. For now I’m going back to where I started: writing for me, at my pace, without worrying about sales, or competition, or where I fit in the genre.

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‘Tis the Season

I can’t believe it’s December. This whole year, and particularly the last half of it, has flown by. Real life has, for the time being, supplanted my fledgling writing career. But it’s December, and that means one thing: the Dreamspinner Holiday Advent Calendar. Back in 2011 when I first subscribed to this story-a-day-for-the-month-of-December, I thought it was a fantastic idea. New authors to discover, little morsels of joy each day. It was actually the catalyst that got me writing again after many years and gave me the courage to submit my own story. In December 2012, my Christmas novella, Inseparable, made the cut and became part of the anthology.

Now, five years later, The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change is part of the collection. This short novella is about two friends in their fifties who have to readjust when their friendship becomes something more. Joel is a man-child who has never had a serious relationship, but secretly always longed for his friend Dale’s husband Perry. After Dale’s untimely death, he stepped in to help Perry cope and now that Perry is ready to date again, Joel is not sure if he should step up or not.

I always feel that holiday stories need to tug at your heartstrings; while this one is not sad, it is definitely poignant but with a sweet ending.

Happy Holidays!

Chris

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