Today is my first post here at the SMP blog—yay! I’ve recently joined the SMP family and my paranormal romance/urban fantasy, Releasing the Demons, is slated for release (pun intended) this summer. No date yet, but you can check out the blurb here if you’re so inclined. 🙂
I won’t bore you with my backstory (although it’s interesting if I do say so myself :P), but I’m a physician-in-training by day (and night, let’s face it) and I write PNR/UF by night (or weekends/vacations mostly, ha). I try to keep both careers separate, since I tend to write about dark and controversial subjects, but there are the rare few who know both of my alter egos. As expected, people find doctoring disproportionately harder and more impressive than writing, including my family. And sure, you could say that. Doctors invest an incredible amount of time, energy, and money (LOTS of money) into our careers. We’re exhausted, overworked, and underslept. We’re drained of our physical, emotional, and psychological energy by the end of the day, but we do it ‘cause we love it. Sure, it sounds a little masochistic, but there’s nothing like saving someone’s life or improving the health of others for years to come.
But you know what?
Writing is hard too.
The act of completing a novel is grossly underestimated by those who don’t understand the process. I get a lot of “writing must be fun,” and “I’d like to write a book some day,” and yes, it’s fun, but so is extracting a clot from someone’s brain—it’s not easy. We all have our ups and downs when we open that first blank document and start typing. There are highs and lows (just like in medicine) and it drains us mentally, physically and emotionally (yep, like medicine). Don’t get me wrong, medicine and fiction are two different monsters, but you’d be surprised about the similarities. I’m sure many other careers have their own parallels, but both can be an obsession and a struggle.
Just like in first year gross anatomy, we open up that document (*cough*body*cough*) and we’re excited. We have this whole story built up inside us and we’re bursting at the seams. We’re on a roll, typing away and letting the words flow out of us (Brains! Hearts! Guts! STUNNING!).
Then we hit a wall about a third to halfway through the book and the doubts settle in (as is the case during the second year of med school, around boards time), instilling fear in all of us.
“What the hell am I doing?”
“Who am I to write this?” (Who am I to operate on/treat/take care of someone?)
“I’m just a hack and I’ll never pull this off.”
“This is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.” (I am STUPID, STUPID, STUPID).
But we power through, don’t we? We fight the angst and uncertainty and put our heads down and type (study) away. Finally, we get our groove back at the two-thirds mark (third year of med school, when we become part of the medical team). Then we’re flying high, soaring through the rest of the story ‘cause we’ve regained our confidence and inspiration, and you know what, *raises fist* “I CAN DO THIS, MOTHER[redacted]!” (yep, that’s fourth year of med school in a nutshell).
We finish our first draft (match into a residency program and graduate)! We let it cool off and revel in our success. Then we pull that manuscript back out and start the revision/editing process (residency training) and we do it over and over again until it’s the best story (skill) possible. Finally, it goes off into the universe (as attending physicians) and we make the world a better place.
Of course, throughout this whole process, we’re laughing, crying, bleeding, punching, screaming. We learn things we never knew about ourselves and reach a potential we never knew we could. We lose and gain, we kill our darlings and give others a happy ending, and we feel more complete because of it.
See? Not so different after all.
Hell yeah, writing is hard. But it’s worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears and we’d do it all over again (and often do) if we could. Why?
‘Cause we’re masochists and there’s nothing in the world that makes us happier. 😉
L.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she’s been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion.
L.D. Rose is a member of the RWA and the Romance Writers of Connecticut and Lower New York (CoLoNY). She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.