Amusement Park Rides Inside Your Weird Little Head!

Romance writers all seem to share a similar origin story.

Jane the Romance Novelist Prototype developed a voracious hunger for reading as a young lass (or lad -- it's 2017, everyone). At a certain point, Jane got hooked on the Romance genre because of the optimism, escapism, and lurid descriptions of chiseled abs. 

Then Jane grew up and got a Job, but not a Writing Job. Or maybe it was a Writing Job, but Jane was writing Real Stories for distinguished newspapers. Or in rare cases, maybe Jane was writing Other genres -- the kind with bold serif lettering on the cover and Serious Topics on the pages. 

Then Jane had an Epiphany. One day, she was at her Real Job, and she said, "Fuck this shit." Because this shit was not making her happy. 

So Jane rolled up her sleeves, burned her Other Job clothes, and magically wrote a Bestselling Romance Novel in two months. 

Jay-kay, dear listener; Jane probably busted her ass for months and years, weathering rejection after failure after cataclysmic lying-on-the-floor-in-unwashed-PJs despair. 

Robin Scherbatsky is my Canadian spirit animal. This is my go-to reference image for every occasion.

Then, finally, after pretty much all her friends and family were like, "Hey... honeyyyyyy... you should shower and maybe think about getting your shit together, okay? We love you!", a single ray of hope shone upon her Writing Career. 

A letter of not-rejection. A sudden leap up the Amazon Unlimited charts. Whatever. The rest is history! Jane's a Romance Writer now!

So proud! So tired!

But at the heart of every Jane is a romance reader. That is how Janes began, and that's how they'll forever be. We write romance because we love it, and we support other writers because we want to read more good books and we've read all the ones out already. 

The problem with being a voracious Romance Reader but also a Romance Writer is this: finding a good romance novel is both wonderful and horrible. It's a double-edged sword of enjoying an author's brilliance and finding a new book to love -- and also that sinking, discouraging feeling that one's own writing could never possibly ever in a million years rival the quality of this book. 

Then I get on the Self-Pitying Ferris Wheel of Torture © : 

My writing sucks.
This writing is so good. 
My writing will never be as good as this writing.
But maybe I can try to imitate this type of writing and learn from it!
No, wait -- then everyone will think my writing is derivative.
My writing isn't bad, it's just different. 
I have to find my own voice.
My voice is good in it's own way.
But is it as good as this author's voice? 
I'm going to burn my writing and start over.
Wait -- I can't burn it. It's a digital file. 
I'll just delete that file!!!
Oh, I backed everything up to Dropbox.
Calm down, your writing doesn't suck. That one scene is pretty good.
*re-reads scene*
Okay, that wasn't bad.
That was pretty good.
I'm a good writer. 
I can do this.
Maybe I'll just read another book for inspiration....
This book is way better than my book, too!

The inevitable end of every ride...

Does this feeling go away over time? If I publish my book and people actually like it, will I feel less awful when I read another romance novel and it's clearly way better than my own writing could ever be (or at least, in my own mind?). Is this just a phase that every baby author goes through when they're writing their first book? Or is this just a crippling lack of self-esteem that's specific to me, in which case this blog post has now revealed to the tens of ten people who read my posts that I am in serious need of therapy and less free time?

Welp, that's all I've got! Maybe next week I'll write a blog post that's an actual thing about writing. Or maybe I won't. I'm thinking of crossing over into the Suspense genre... dun dun DUN!

PS. Here are some good books I've read lately that are Definitely Better Than My Writing (maybe):

- "Lauren's Barbarian" - Ruby Dixon
- "One Hot December" - Tiffany Reisz
- The Hidden Legacy series - Ilona Andrews
- "Her Best Worst Mistake" - Sarah Mayberry
- "Sated" - Rebekah Weatherspoon
- "Break Me Down" - Roni Loren
- "Oathkeeper" - Brandon Sanderson ** (not a romance novel. Also, not really a fair addition to this category; Brandon Sanderson's writing is probably a lot better than like 99.999999% of writers out there. He's my Second Favorite Writer of All Time and one of my writing heroes.)