Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feeling in the Dark

As a published author, I get a lot of questions from writers. One of the biggest doubts every writer has is how do I gauge success? Unless you’ve found that perfect agent or publisher who adores your work, you’re still uncertain as to whether or not your writing is crap. Like making love with a new partner, you wonder, “Am I doing this right?” Or like therapy, you think, “Am I putting in enough, or getting enough out?”

The creative process is often like feeling in the dark. And if we aren’t navigating the dark, we’re speeding down an unknown road, sometimes ending up in tears at a dead end.

There isn’t a set formula for putting out that artistic and riveting work. We might know syntax, rhetorical devices and euphemisms, but we need the right doses of art and science. And even religion comes into play at times. I confess to dropping my head into my hands and whimpering, “Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God,” almost on a weekly basis.

I feel that the real mystery of writing is injecting the perfect shot of personality. The editor wants to view this world through your eyes. They want to see the mystery of your mind unfold with each breath a character takes. They don’t want to open the hood of your manuscript and see a spotless engine, but when they rev it, they find it anemic.

So my advice today is to unlock your passions and bleed them into your works in progress. Give your writing the intensity it needs, even if you have to trim it later. Dig deeper and don’t hold back in your writing, just as you shouldn’t in your relationships, in the sack, or before a piece of pie. Try it for a day and tell me if your work feels stronger.

Author Bio: Em Petrova is a writer of hot, lover of all things coffee, devotee of books, and worshipper of the iPod. She penned her first novel at the age of twelve, and after gaining an arts degree, has returned to her literary roots. She loves to dig deep into the souls of her unique characters and uncover their secret desires when she doesn’t have her nose in a great new read. You can find more about her sexy stories at

Blurb from Bachelorette, a novella from the anthology My Sexy Valentine:

Kiki has waited twenty-nine long years for Mr. Right. Just when she thought she had him, the five-carat princess-cut, and the dream wedding at her parents’ country club, Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Disappearing Act.

Depressed, dejected, and dreading the lonely Valentine’s Day she’ll face, her parents suggest she spend a month in her favorite city, Paris, and reconnect with herself. After days alone in her little flat, wearing her useless veil and garter, and eating box after box of conversation hearts, she sinks further into her hopeless state.

When her long-time Parisian friend and his buddies participate in a bizarre sex ritual in honor of St. Valentine, she’s pulled into their muscular arms, and pleasured out of her bridal adornments. Given power over the testosterone-filled room, she learns the real meaning of a happy Valentine’s Day.

Read an excerpt:

Buy Link:

Blurb from Tattoo Dream:

Sascha and Van are happily married. Their successful tattoo parlor should be enough to keep their lives full and enriched, but they both sense a void that only a third in their marriage could fill. Sexy waitress Maggie seems to be just the one they've been looking for. At the risk of ruining their friendship with Maggie, the couple makes the move to get her into their tattoo chair, with the hopes of getting her in their bed.

Read an excerpt:

Buy Link:


Lori said...

Well stated EM, pouring you into your writing is the best and maybe the only way to truly see the return in your work. Knowing someone successful as yourself has the same doubts the rest of us do, gives me hope.

Dejah said...

The long andd short of it is that you must validate yourself.

jrlindermuth said...

Well said, Em. Without emotional input a character is merely a collection of words.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I agree. We do the best we can. But regardless of the reception of readers and reviewers, we still always wonder if we are really and truly good at what we do. Sometimes, without that big NY pub or literary agent support, you feel inadequate, invisible, lacking credibility.

Monika Michalak said...

Just keep on writing! You are an inspiration!!!!

Fiona McGier said...

I agree with you, Em, but as Julia states, sometimes we writers feel "inadequate, invisible, lacking credibility"...the IRS won't even let me claim any expenses because they say I make so little from my writing that it's "just a hobby" much for my hope of being able to work only 1 job and write the rest of the time!
But also, having to be true to your own inner voice means that you might not be writing what is currently "hot", but which feels awkward and unnatural to you. I've looked inward and tried to find stories more "in tune" with what seems to be selling well, but they are not alas, I'll keep plugging away at my "hobby". What else can I do? Those characters don't stop telling me their stories until I've written them down!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Em, very inspirational!

Hugs, Kari Thomas

Em Petrova said...

I'm glad you've all found inspiration from my post. I think it's important to know that we aren't alone. Finding other writers to vent to is very important, even if it's here.

Marissa St James said...

A lot of good points here. While you're trying to find your place in the writing world, you worry about what others really think about your work and what they expect. I believe it's that "break out" book that will make the difference in our personal attitude and what others finally decide. It's getting there that's the hard part.