The Joy of Writing

The joy of writing romance is in viscerally understanding what it is. The romance paperback is ubiquitous to our culture in the United States. There is one in every waiting room, boxes of them in shelters, reams of paper devoted to them, and now with the electronic age, there are terabytes of them recorded on dusty servers. Why?

Because they do good. Everyone of them contains hope, a satisfactory ending, and an adventure of the heart if not the body. One Romance Writers of America luncheon speaker told of a few of the letters she'd received over the years. One was from a young man who had been engaged when he had a motorcycle wreck and become paralyzed from the neck down. What did romance books do for him? They had been left at the hospital by women in the visiting room and someone who had been to visit him had used one. By the time he recovered from his coma, his injuries, to remain paralyzed, he'd lost his promising career, his future wife, and all hope. The stack of romance books brought him back from his deep despair and desire to end his life. He'd wrote the author of his turning point book to explain it to her. He now had hope for his future and plans.

I recieved a phone call that started with, "Are you the person who wrote, The Proving Zone:Tory's Story?" and the next sentence sent my heart to my toes. "It changed my life." I was afraid they'd tried something in the book and injured themselves or something horrible, not to mention the shock of realization that someone had hunted me down and my phone number. But, the caller went on to explain that because of my book, she realized what she'd been doing and changed her behavior which resulted in a renewed relationship like she'd never had before. Other readers have reached me to let me know that phrases from that book have become a part of their family language. We affect other's lives.

We let people remember and refresh their own feelings of romance in their relationships by reading romance. I've watched people who are having the worst year of their life read romances because they are a time out of the pressure of that worst year.
We give people breathing space.
We stop worry for a while.
We keep horror and fear for the future at bay.
We bring them home safe.
Always.

As we write and the words flow from our fingers with all the ease we enjoy, we too reach a place that feels too good to stop. We play in the lives of our characters. When we are stopped, bound up by trying to reach that perfect description of what we want to convey, even then, in our tiny angst, the pain feels kinda good, like a healing bruise. And it may bug us for a few days until it is right. We know we must never give up. The world needs us. Every day. Brand new, crisp pages, and shiny covers or dusty, torn, aged garage sale paperback--every one is necessary.

The people we meet and find as compatible souls in this romance writing world are some of the best relationships we'll ever have.
Why?
Because they understand it, and knowing what it is, still enjoy...the joy of writing romance.

9 comments:

Reese Mobley said...

Nina, as always your post is wonderful. How rewarding for someone to take the time to let you know that you changed their life. It just goes to show you that you never know who you'll touch on any given day. Good for you!

Penny Rader said...

What a beautiful, powerful post, Nina! It must feel truly amazing to know you changed someone's life for the better with your words. Wow. It just give me shivers. Good shivers. :D

Nina Sipes said...

I hoped that readers of today's post would understand that writing romance is important, fun, but also important.

For myself, it was a journey of discovery to find out just how important it is. As for my reaction to that first call, it became rewarding, but at first scared the crusty buttons out of me because it did change someone's life--actually the person's whole family dynamics. I've heard from them since. The thing is I never expected to be contacted by anyone. Ever. I wrote the book for FUN and entertainment. It was never supposed to have any effect on anyone...or so I thought. They had always been merely entertainment for me. After I got to know WARA members and other romance writers, I began to understand the role that romance books play in people's lives. To find out they are necessary is a wonderful and exciting thing. Finding out WHY they are necessary is frightening and humbling. Believe me when I say that readers of you both, Reese and Penny, are similarly effected, whether you ever hear about it or not. Writing matters if you write romance. Other writing I'm not so sure about, but I have no doubts about romance.

Roxann Delaney said...

Nina,

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. This kind of happening proves that romance is not the "bodice ripper trash" that some say. Where else can one find stories that show that people can grow within relationships? That's what love is all about...and the reason romance novels sell more during hard times. A happily ever after gives hope, and sometimes that's all a person needs to get through tough times. :)

Reminds me of all the old Frank Capra movies, which I love.

Pat Davids said...

Nina,
Your eloquence in this post is a gem I will cherish for years. When someone asks me why I write romance, I’m going to give him or her a copy of this. Thank you.

Like you, I’ve had wonderful letters from readers telling how my books have touched their lives. I think the one I treasure the most was from my first book, the story of a homeless woman trying to cope with having a premature baby.

The letter came from a young mother who was staying in a hospital run hotel while her premature baby fought for life. She thought she was the only mother in the world who was afraid to love her baby because he might die. Reading my story gave her hope. It let her know her feeling were natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

Wow, I didn't know that would happen when I wrote my story.

We never know where our words will land or what seeds they will bear.

Pat

Nina Sipes said...

Ah, you guys make me cry. I'm going to print off your posts to me to read the next time I get a rejection.
Thanks ever so,
Nina

Joan Vincent said...

I agree with all of the above, Nina. You have a way of molding words into expressions of grace and beauty. I've never doubted that romance novels mattered but I now have a much better explanation I can offer.

Nina Sipes said...

I love romance books because they're everywhere, portable, expendable, and useful. No matter what your budget, you can come by romance books. You can fit two into a purse or one into a pocket. I have four in my emergency kit in my car. You can use them to start a fire or hold up a chair so that your robo-vac can go under it unchallenged. Old ones show us different styles and foreign places. Newer ones reflect different things in our society. You can buy them hot off the press or go to the gunshow/library box/garage sale and pick up a box of thirty-year old ones. I miss some of the original Harlequins from the late sixties and seventies because they were set in foreign countries and within other cultures. It's one way to see the world. Romance books are in the reach of all of us.
Thank you all for writing romance.

Nina Sipes said...

Pat,
Your story about that young mother is enough to make you ache for her. Imagine the people you've touched that never wrote....