It takes a lot of disciple to be an unpublished, uncontracted and unrepresented writer and yet still get a book written. There is no one standing over you saying "I need this now." It's just you and your computer and a time schedule that's totally artificial and self-made.
I can sit and dream and tweak forever, but producing a readable and polished NOVEL is a labor of love. The minuscule details and threads that have to be connected and checked for continuity take a lot of dedication.
The submission process is usually a long string of rejections, hoping to find the one person who believes in the project.
If I'm lucky, my friends are waiting and asking to see my work on a regular basis. I find myself looking for external motivators like contests and conferences.
But the years when I go to the national Romance Writers of America conference seem so much more productive than the years when I don't. Is it a chicken and egg thing? Does the knowledge that I'm going make me more productive? Or do I only want to go on the years when I'm productive?
The national RWA conference is coming up in Dallas in a few weeks. I won't be going. I'm not sad about it, because I'll be in Australia. I'm sorry that I won't be there to cheer on Margaret Watson and Allie Pleiter as they go for their Rita awards, or Jerilyn Willin, who is up for a Golden Heart.
But I'm going next year -- 2008 is San Francisco. I've been planning this since 2001 when I lived in San Francisco.
Gotta get off my butt and make something happen. When I return from Australia, I'm buckling down again.