Posted in Life, Mesmer series, Other stories, Writing

The Pearl & Parlour Association: Ambition in Progress

I have just added my latest writing project ‘The Pearl & Parlour Association’ to my book list, so time for an update on the writing front.

At the moment I juggle editing the first book of the Mesmer series with Pearl & Parlour. My plan is to throw ‘Phyllis’ out there for the critic sharks when I’m done. (If you know a shark, please send me their e-mail). Editing took me longer than expected because of a certain global pandemic, but I’ll probably be done during the summer of 2021. ‘Done’ means my best writing attempt for now.

‘Phyllis’ is a book that I didn’t want to change, structure-wise, so I’m focusing on rewriting to the writing level I have today. Part of me sees how this book is less high-paced than its sequel, but since it recounts the start of the friendship between Phyllis and Marcus, it’s very dear to me.

Next up is a very different edit. For ‘Cornelis’ I want to add a part of story line. I’ve never done that kind of edit, so that’s new.

As for my current work in progress, marketing your writing/art has been the subject of the week on my Twitter time line, and The Pearl & Parlour Association explores just that.

A thread worth reading

In the Pearl & Parlour association (which takes place a few years after PSL, With Love) Meta is a writer, Robyn a comic artist. They both want more time/money for their art, but they have different approaches to achieve that. They are both LGBTQ+ artists. As online readers, they are both confronted with the way f/f romance performs versus m/m romance.

I’ve lent Meta my Mesmer series for the occasion. An idea inspired by the fact that one of my author friends has written about a writer, and some readers wanted to go read the character’s story. Which didn’t exist. My original idea was to change the names of characters and places as I referred to Mesmer, but my dear husband exclaimed a very heartfelt ‘How can you do that, it’s like hiding you have children!’

So that kind of killed that plan.

‘Metafiction’ it is. ✨. Makes for a good pun and all.

Pearl & Parlour dives into what I’ve encountered while writing online and the catch here is of course that: I, me, myself, have no freaking clue how to handle many of those things. It’s gonna be a ride. It might be a story, and if not I’ll learn a thing or two.

Which is one of my favourite things about writing.

Meta and Robyn are in their early twenties. I wasn’t writing much back then, because I was too busy working myself into a burnout. I had far more time than I do now, and I was far less productive.

‘Productive’.

I hate seeing people stress about that. The worst part about artists being anxious about their levels of productivity is not the time lost to create.

It’s that anxiety feels horrendous, and that time feeling horrendous is lost forever. You don’t get a redo. I’m prone to anxiety, I’ll always be. But damn if I let it pull me down ever again. Not gonna happen. I’ve done my time.

So I fight. I’m looking at ways to find an audience for Mesmer. Part of that involves building a network in my home country. I attended a writing workshop last weekend, and learned more about local publishing. Mesmer is set in North France, so it might very well be the type of story that does better close to home. I’ve also written in Dutch for a published writer and read it out to them. Part of me still believes I’m in writer kindergarten and I need that part to take a good long vacation and never come back.

I pay attention when my fellow authors relay their stories. What works for them, and why. Whether it might work for me.

I try to determine my path forward, while protecting the joy writing brings me.

For me that means continuing to invest in my day job. I’m a social welfare administration expert who has recently taken up coaching part of her team. It’s new, it’s a change, and an opportunity to learn.

It also means making time for family and friends. If my characters feel real, that’s because I spend time with people (and miss spending time with them, today). If they sound fun, it’s because my friends are pretty fun.

The indie publishing road is not for me. Not today. I don’t have the hours left in my day to make it work .

Working the day job until midnight is not for me, because I would resent it with all my heart for taking from me the time to write this and to cuddle my kids, laugh with friends.

I still care. I still want to get better, make a change.

Stay at home parenting is not for me, because I need these mental and artistic challenges to thrive. But again, I still care. So much.

So from dawn till dusk, I balance. I try to say yes neither too early, nor too late. It’s a complicated game of moving forward at a moderated pace. Some ways of promoting my writing will never fit. My day job grants me the freedom to study how to get my writing out there, without having to worry whether it will one day pay the bills. It gives me the freedom to write what I want, and that, oh that, is so important. Why would I even do it, if not for that? I love my characters. I want to share that love. Everything else, today, matters less. Unless it buys me time to write.

Then I’m listening.

The fun, the time to dream, to create, to make a change. There are days it feels like trying to juggle too many plates at once. There are days I fear that too much balancing will prevent me from full commitment, from truly shining.

Most of the time however, I look forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Most of the time, I think it’s pretty badass to want it all.

P.S. an interesting post about indie publishing you can find right here:

https://dewihargreaves.com/2021/04/27/why-i-chose-to-publish-indie/