WRITER’S BLOCK FROM JOYCE CAROL OATES

A while back I wrote about writer’s block and the nifty nuggets of wisdom I receive every day by email from Advice to Writers.

I liked this statement from Joyce Carol Oates:

Writer’s block is a temporary paralysis caused by the conviction, on an unconscious level, that what the writer is attempting is in some way fraudulent, or mistaken, or self-destructive.

Here’s how I see my own writer’s block (all gone now! Hooray!) from Oates’ perspective.

When I first started writing about 12 years ago, I knew nothing about genres, not even enough to think about them one way or the other. I wrote what I wanted to – and my first and second novels were quickly bought by Kensington Publishers. They publish romance.

Well, my books certainly have romance in them, but for me, the focus was on the historical part. What was it like to be alive in this time and place and facing this or that historical crisis? And then I was labeled a romance writer and felt like Un Uh. But that was what got me published. So I dithered and wrote and fretted and wrote – I didn’t want to be a romance writer. But that’s what sold. In Oates’ words, I felt I was trying to write the wrong thing for me and it wasn’t working.

Well, I’m over that. I’ve now read hundreds of romances, some awful and some great, as in any genre. Those romances I admire taught me that a good story is a good story, good writing is good writing. Forget about labels. And I’m writing smoothly again – if you’ve ever been stuck, you know how painful it is and how wonderful it is to get past it.  Now, I write what I want to write, historical novels with romance elements – that’s what my readers want from me and that’s what I am happy writing.

 

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About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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