Flight Turbulence


I’m feeling *yay me* about this week. I’ve been in a fog for a couple weeks, ever since we got back from vacation. Kinda staring at the wall and paralyzed on moving forward on any writing. I don’t know why, really. Or at least not one thing. Probably a combination of things–tired from completing five SIMs in the past year and a half, distracted by promotion for The Beast Within, scared, stressed, sure I’ll never sell again, I’M ALL WASHED UP, etc. It’s the typical in-flight turbulence that comes with being uncontracted. I’m used to it. Every couple of years I find myself in this position. I’m SURE my life is over…and yet my life is so exciting at the same time. Full of promise and potential. I’m ready to touch the clouds. Anything can happen. INCLUDING DISASTER.

There are ways to avoid the uncontracted state, of course. You should write new proposals between contracted books. Unfortunately, I’m not good at multi-tasking on stories and I haven’t done anything about it because….. Shhh! I like being uncontracted occasionally. NO ONE CAN TELL ME WHAT TO DO WHEN I’M UNCONTRACTED. I can do whatever I want, like write a flying pig story.

I’ve got tons of ideas I’m excited about (always do) but couldn’t seem to lift a finger. Finally forced myself to start writing this week (inspired by the flying pig), and wrote several false starts on the flying pig before I finally found the real start. As usual, there is no writing problem that can’t be solved by WRITING. I wasn’t going to find the solution by staring at the wall. I found the solution by writing it wrong, deleting, writing it wrong again, deleting, then finally writing it right. It’s one of the most difficult things to do when you’re in a paralyzed mode, but it works. And now, hey, I’m going to finish a short proposal on it this weekend. (Will the flying pig fly? Stay tuned for updates on flying pig reaction.) Next week I’ve got workshop prep and other stuff to get ready to leave for RWA. When I get back, I’ll do another proposal. And I am LOST on that story right now, but I know what I have to do: write it wrong, delete it, write it wrong again, delete it, then write it again.

I wasn’t going to blog about this, then I thought–hey, there are probably people out there who think that after you’ve sold 22 books, it’s all easy. Hello, it’s not. It’s always hard. But God, it’s so beautiful.


  1. Katie says:

    Who woulda thought there were pictures of Actual Flying Pigs????? :!::!:

  2. Leanna says:

    Great advice, Suzanne! I needed to hear that. How do you know when you’re starting a book that it’s not ‘right’?

  3. Estella Kissell says:

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This has been my motto for years.
    Usually everything turns out ok.:bananadance:

  4. mary beth says:

    Thanks Suzanne! Your writing stories always inspire me. Good luck with the flying pig!

  5. Suzanne says:

    Leanna, I don’t know how I know. I just do. Man, that is a bad answer, LOL! I go with my gut instincts. I know when it doesn’t feel right. So I do it over until it feels right. And feeling right doesn’t mean it’ll sell. I’ve written lots of proposals that felt right to me but didn’t sell. Feeling right means the story has come to life on the page for me and I’ve read it over and said, ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod, this is it, this is my story!! And maybe danced around a little, at least in my head. :mrgreen: Then it either sells or doesn’t sell, who knows. I just know I love the story. That’s all I can do.

  6. Rene says:

    I’m curious, Suzanne, when you are uncontracted, does it make you think about the direction you career is going in? I know as an unpubbed, I do have the “freedom” of working on whatever I want.

  7. Jill says:

    I’m with you. Once in awhile the freedom of being unemployed is kind of freeing. But then the worry creeps in, LOL, like am I really going to have to go to work at Taco Bell or Target? Not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that, but man I’d rather be writing …

  8. MartyK says:

    “All Washed Up” sounds like an excellen title to me :thumbsup: I’m not sure I’m glad to know it’s always hard, tho, lol. I kinda thought so, but now my illusions have been shattered :hissyfit:

  9. Suzanne says:

    Rene, yes, the freedom is fun. I can go wild. But I do keep long-term career goals in mind even when I’m going wild. If you look at my backlist, you can see that earlier in my career I had no well-formed goals, which resulted in writing books that were all over the place. This is fun and was a skill-stretching experience, but not really good for making forward career progress. A few years ago I developed a career plan with long-terms goals, based on putting together the elements I’d found I enjoyed most out of the various things I’d written in the past. I love to write romantic comedy, so I infuse humor in all my books, even if they’re also dark. I love danger, so there’s suspense in all my stories now. I love research, so there is something new for me to learn with every story. I love history, so there’s often some historical or archaeological connections in my contemporary stories. And I love a little something crazy, so there’s where the paranormal comes in.

    From there, writing books containing elements I love, every new contract is a small step toward my bigger goals. So, for example, while I can’t control what will end up selling, I can control what I put out there. So I don’t put out there anything that won’t take me toward those long-term goals.

    But there’s still a lot of freedom within those parameters, and the fun part of being uncontracted is playing and dreaming. I like to write stories that are scary (to me, scary in that I think I =can’t= write them, that I’m insane to write them, like a merman or a flying pig) because I like a challenge and I like to ride the rollercoaster. Since my long-term goals involve writing books I love, I can’t go wrong with anything that takes me toward those goals, you know? I made sure when I made my career plan that getting there was going to be fun.

    Does this make any sense? If I stop rambling for a second, the short answer to your question is–yes, I’m always thinking about the direction of my career! (Which could be straight to Taco Bell…..)

  10. kacey says:

    who knew there were so many flying pig pics out there…:guitar:

    And I know this is mean :mrgreen: but it IS good to hear it’s just as scary/hard after all those books you’ve written. Or maybe it ISN’T good to hear. Shouldn’t we eventually be rewarded with the whole lack of fear of Target and McDonald’s???:cry:

  11. Joely says:

    Thanks, Suzanne, this is a great post! I get discouraged when I start something and it’s stupid. I wonder if the whole idea is stupid. I have to learn it’s okay to delete and revise, revise, revise until I’ve got it working the way I want. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time! Sounds simple, but hard for me sometimes. 😳

  12. Melissa says:

    :thumbsup: Love the flying pig pictures!

    Suz, sounds like you’re exhaling. :relieved: I know that feeling.

  13. Danica says:

    I like the pigs. :mrgreen:

  14. Toni Anderson says:

    Well hell–maybe I should enjoy the unpubbed world and give up the anx. I do like my freedom :mrgreen:
    Although there is that Walmart store down the road recruiting :yuck:

    Suzanne–you probably just need the downtime… but what would I know 😆

    I sometimes find myself not writing anything new, just editing and planning. I enjoy that stuff too:shock:

    Enjoy the break I bet after Reno you’ll be a powerhouse!!!

  15. Tori says:

    Great post, suzanne!!!

    I love the flying pigs!!!

  16. Kelly says:

    Sometimes you need to breathe between books, build your strength up again. I don’t think people who don’t write understand the energy and emotion that goes into one book.

    I hope the flying pig flies. heh-heh-heh. Couldn’t help but say that. :yes:

  17. Jordan says:

    Suzanne, Thank you so much for sharing this story. I really needed this entry now. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who panics when I don’t have a contract. 😯

  18. Alyssa says:

    I definitely don’t do well when I feel insecure or uncertain about the future. I applaud your courage and your ability to see this as an opportunity even while you worry.

    You’ll be fine!

  19. Steph T. says:

    “It’s always hard. But God, it’s so beautiful.”

    Thank you! This is becoming a keeper quote.:thumbsup:

  20. Anna Lucia says:

    It’s always hard. But God, it’s so beautiful


  21. Beth C says:

    I am VERY glad that you chose to write this entry, Suzanne. I needed to hear this. Also love the bit about writing, deleting, writing… until you get it right. :bananadance:

  22. Mary Stella says:

    I just went through months of ‘the story that would not gel’ in my head. I’m so glad that I know have the premise to go with the characters and am writing again. I’m only on my third book. (Well, fourth if you count the unsellable one in the drawer.) I’m not sure if it’s comforting or terrifying to know that far more experienced writers go through the same angst.:sick:

  23. Crystal* says:

    :yes:It’s always hard. But God, it’s so beautiful. :yes:



  24. Leanna says:


    It was a great answer, because there are no real answers I suppose. there’s not a checklist for knowing when the beginning works. And therein lies the truth of what you said — it has to work for you. You have to love it. Because it’s a LONG way to ‘the end.’ Thanks, needed to hear this today.

  25. Melissa Marsh says:

    Suzanne, I’m glad you posted this. It’s always a good idea to remind myself that once (not if!) I get published, I will still have to work just as hard to stay published – in short, it doesn’t get any easier. And I’m so glad that, after 22 books, you are still finding it FUN. That’s the most important part, IMO. :thumbsup:

  26. Sasha says:

    Perfect timing for me with this post, Suzanne. I’m having trouble getting my mind in writing gear…and once again your simple wisdom has given me the kick in the pants I need.


  27. Saundra M says:

    :wall:Geez, I never signed on yesterday and almost missed the flying pig! Love these pics.

  28. Jaq says:

    Great post, Suzanne. This is exactly what I’ve been going through: “writing it wrong, deleting, writing it wrong again, deleting, then finally writing it right” for every single thing I’ve started in the last year. I don’t feel like such a :loser: anymore. lol