Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rediscover Your Joy

         Hi, I'm Cathryn Cade.

        Yesterday evening I had the amusing, nostalgic, heart-warming experience of going through the filing cabinet that sits beside my computer desk. The top drawer was half-full of old (and I do mean old, girlfriend) manuscripts.
        We just moved last month, and I had pulled my early writings from a dusty box and filed them, so as I have time I can either keep or toss them. Some were 20 years old. Surprised a bat or two didn't flutter out when I opened those!
       As I read my earliest romance tales, typed on my Brothers Word Processor, I chuckled, I rolled my eyes, I winced ... and I even wiped away a few tears. The glory and pathos of those imaginings came right back to me, as if I'd written them only yesterday.
      The writing--let's be honest--was pretty bad. Rambling sentence structure. Scenes with little more point than a buildup to the heroine gasping as the hero pulled her masterfully into his muscled arms and kissed the sugar out of her. Very few actual endings. Only three stories were finished, and they probably shouldn't have been.
      But ... as I finally stacked the re-read pages into piles and tucked them back into their file folders, I realized something. When I wrote those stories, I was having FUN. That was their only purpose for existence.
      And while most of those first stories lacked such things as character arcs, secondary plot lines and many other story elements I've learned to employ in my published manuscripts, they were full of passion. The characters exploded off the page with larger than life emotions and reactions, with love scenes that still make me squirm and sigh.
      I'm a selling writer now.
      I've completed my popular Orion Series of erotic space opera, am in the midst of writing and publishing my contemporary paranormal Hawaiian Heroes series.
      I plan to write many more books and novellas. I read voraciously, studying my favorite writers' work. I take classes and read books, blogs and articles on writing. I am a small business owner, and a full-time writer.
      But I hope I never lose the sheer fun of putting a heroine and hero on the page, and letting them battle their way through obstacles and their own fears and foibles, on the way to their own scorchingly sexy version of happy ever after.

      What gives you joy?
      Do you have a beloved hobby, perhaps one you've turned into a business? If so, or even if you just dabble in many things, I hope you find your joy. I hope you seek it actively.

      But if it hasn't been there for you lately, come on along with me.
      Escape for a little while into a great romance. It's cheaper than a plane ticket, and you can be back in time for work, or to get the kids up for school.  






Tina Donahue said...

I loved Rolling in the Deep, Cathryn - can't wait to read the others in your series.

I had to smile at what you wrote about reading your early manuscripts. I've winced at the ones I wrote. I've cried too because of the joy I recall them giving me. :)

Cathryn Cade said...


I'm sure it's a universal experience for writers, at least those of us who've chosen to keep our early writings!

Thanks for the kind words on Rolling in the Deep.


Barbara Rae Robinson said...

You have more courage than I have. I found a box last year with a typewritten manuscript from 1981 in it. I tucked it back away. I haven't the nerve to read it.


Barbara Rae Robinson said...
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Maggie said...

Cathryn, I know what you mean about the "passion" of writing. When I look at my early manuscripts (the first novel, a gothic a la Victoria Holt, completed in 1982 following a divorce) the emotion was there without editing myself as I wrote. I was pouring my hopes and dreams into my characters and onto the page. I can still cry when I read that and the next manuscript.

When I returned to writing novels in 2004, the main critique I received from editors and agents was that I needed more emotion on the page. I think as we get older, we learn how to moderate emotion and we question if it is too melodramatic in our writing.

It took me another six years of writing book after book to find that balance of emotion and craft. And I suspect I can still afford to have MORE emotion. I don't know that I can recapture that abandonment of more youthful writing. But I do believe, with continuous attention to it, that I can tap into a good combination of mature experience and youthful emotion to end up with a good book.

Congrats on your new series. I have Rolling in the Deep in my Nook TBR section, but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Paty Jager said...

Fun post, Cathryn! My hobby is riding and hanging out with family. My job is writing and I agree, if it wasn't fun I wouldn't be doing it. I think you can read the 'passion' in the books an author enjoyed writing. I need to get the next book. I enjoyed Walking in Fire.

Fiona McGier said...

I work multiple jobs, so my writing is my hobby...at least that's what the IRS says. I've taken some of my earlier manuscripts and re-written them, to create better stories, then sold them.

I tell teenagers that no piece of writing is ever DONE...it can always be improved on. I really believe that. Oops...my 1 hour break in-between jobs is over. Ta-ta for now.

Cathryn Cade said...


Now you've got ME wanting to read your early work! I wonder if you'd truly rediscover the joy you had writing that story. Let us know if you ever crack open that dusty box!


thanks for sharing your writing journey. I think I've sublimated many an unhappy time into a story. Your stories still have that emotion, no worries!

Confession time--I have a rule for myself when writing an emotional scene (and this is embarrassing) If I'm not crying as I write it, I figure I'm not invested enough in the characters to pour their emotion onto the page.

Paty, Your joy in family and all things western definitely shows in your books, luckily for the rest of us!

Fiona, So glad your joyful hobby has gotten you published. Now you can share with the teens that writers find things they wish they'd written differently every single time they re-read a book, even one that's published! This drives me nuts when I'm doing galley corrections, no matter how many times my editor and I went thru a story. We artistic types are never satisfied!

And ps, if you've sold, the IRS needs to know you have a second career, not a hobby. You can claim your writing on your taxes as soon as you are making a concerted, documented effort to get published.
More info on that in Romance Writers of America, if you're not yet a member.