Say hello to this week’s guest blogger, JL Peridot…
When did you begin writing?
From a very young age. Seven, I think? I remember sitting at my dad’s computer in the first house we ever lived in, saying to myself I was going to write a book. I didn’t even know what a “novel” was back then, but proceeded to write stories (by hand and on the computer) for another ten years before stopping completely. Then just a few years ago, I picked it up again and have been trying to make up for lost time ever since.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
If you’d asked me this at the start of the year, I would have said the marketing. But I’ve come to realise there’s no one right way to go about it. Every creative person is different and must find their own approach to the business stuff, just like finding their own approach to the art.
Right now, my biggest challenge is getting a handle on my writing process—what my optimal schedule looks like, what the ideal environment looks like, how often I need to change things up, and what signs I need to look out for to let me know I need to take a break. I hope to be able to do this kind of work for a long time, so I’d like my process to be healthy and sustainable.
Why did you choose your genre?
With sci-fi, I chose it because I love technology and I love the “what if” at the heart of the genre. Romance, on the other hand, was a more complicated beast…
Knowing it was a high volume genre that would demand a lot from me as a writer, I figured it would be the best way to learn a lot about writing and publishing in a short period of time. Which it did. But I also chose it because I thought it would be easy, formulaic… and I was very wrong about that.
Like every other genre, there are certain notes romance must hit—the initial spark, proof of interest, the realisation that both parties are worse off without each other, then at long last, the happy ending… But beyond that, the possibilities are endless. Love is universal, as are so many human experiences. The romance genre gives us a way to explore all of these experiences fully and freely, because we know things will be all right in the end. I quite like it for that.
What writing tips would you like to share?
I’ll give you my top three…
Look after yourself. A healthy mind works better in a healthy body. This means eating well and getting physical exercise as well as mental exercise. It also means taking lots of breaks and consuming media you didn’t create as a way to recharge and gather inspiration.
Push your limits a little with each project. I use this partly as a way to prevent writer’s block. If you’re constantly working to improve your technique, it can help you get more reward from your work as you see yourself improve and feel better about what you write. It also makes it harder to get bored.
Don’t succumb to high-pressure advice like “write everyday” or “send weekly newsletters” or other well-meaning advice like that. At least not when you’re starting out. It’s great to want to aim for that, but more important you find a way to do this that suits you. Otherwise you’ll find yourself on a fast track to burnout, then what’s the point? Build your discipline, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip while you’re still developing the habit, and prioritise getting a sense of fulfilment from all this.
What are you currently working on?
Well! I’ve just released my latest free read About Her, and hit my CampNaNo target of drafting The Dragon’s Den (book two in the Basilica Conspiracy series). April was pleasantly productive after such a rocky March. Right now, I’m playing around with some short story ideas, then it’ll be all systems go on revising a new AMS Celestial Dream story, Sunset on a Distant World.
What would you like to promote today?
My sci-fi office romance, It Starts With A Kiss (Kyanite Publishing). It’s a friends-to-lovers story about two engineers who are stuck in dead-end jobs. Finally, sick of being treated like resources instead of people, they make a mad grab for success and, of course, end up happily ever after. This book is part love letter to my former life (I used to be coder), part shout-out to my fellow women in tech who are just brilliant and yet almost always taken for granted. Tech industry culture still has a long way to go, and I hope this book contributes an optimistic story to help shape that culture for the better.
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