Does anyone here watch Project Runway? Did you watch this season, with the Teams? I did, and I just finished watching the finale, and in the middle of the last runway walk, which was Stanley’s, I had a bit of an epiphany.
When I decided to take a break from writing and publishing, many of my friends in the writers world told me I was crazy. My career was going strong, even when other multi-published erotic authors were getting rejected by their editors, I was selling. My agent told me I was lucky to keep selling because others were losing contracts, yet I was unhappy with where I was. It seemed like nobody understood why I was unhappy with myself, or why I was struggling so much, and that added to my stress and was the ultimate reason why I quit.
The thing is, I could’ve kept writing. I did have some story ideas, and chances were very good I could’ve sold them, but *I* was unhappy with them because whenever I started to put the ideas on paper it felt like I was regurgitating things. The characters were too familiar and not unique, the situations weren’t ones that touched me or inspired me. To be blunt, I was worried my stories were staring to feel too similar, and I didn’t want to turn into an production assembly line author pumping out the same or too similar of products each time.
Years ago Loveromances.com (a site I can’t even find anymore) said this in a review of one of my stories. “Ms. White has the ability to write one great story after another with effortlessness!” and it’s a quote I’ve always been proud of. I wanted readers to always believe this, and since I’d stopped believing it, I stopped writing for a time.
When I was watching Stanley’s models walk that final show at Fashion week, all I could think was, they’re good, but not great. I really hope either Patricia or Michelle wins. I couldn’t choose between the two of them as to which I wanted to win, but I loved them both because they were original, and daring, and I felt Stanley’s were, well…assembly line.
I picked up a book by one of my favourite erotic authors last week, and started reading it today. Sadly, by Chapter 2 I was bored because it had that same assembly line feel, and it broke my heart. This is an author I know can be original and great, and this book felt like anyone could’ve written it. I won’t finish it. I have no interest in finishing it, and I blame the media and the publishers, editors and agents that are so blinded by ‘the big hit’ of one thing that they jump on the bandwagon and encourage their authors to produce something similar, instead of striving for something unique, new and great.
In my opinion, good is just that, good. But sometimes good isn’t good enough. I’m glad I stuck to my guns and took a break, even thought that break has turned out to be much longer than even I anticipated, because now I feel like I can reach for great again, and have fun doing it.