Please welcome guest blogger Wendy Roberts!
Everything I know about writing I learned from parenting. Right now my four kids are 13, 15, 17 and 19. When I started writing, I’d just found out I was pregnant with my fourth and I was still nursing my third. In 1999 I had four children under six years of age. It was either take up murdering people on paper, or commit hari-kari using a dull crayon.
Parenting teaches you a lot. When they’re babies you’re sleep deprived and pray for the day they’re potty trained. When they’re teens, you’re sleep deprived waiting for them to come home and praying all evening they’re keeping their pants on.
These are the 5 main things I’ve learned about parenting teens and writing:
1. GOALS. The goal of teenagers is to achieve independence. As a writer, that is also the dream; to see your books get published and then, hopefully, achieve sufficient sales so that you can write full-time.
2. REBELLING. Teenagers enjoy asserting themselves by openly rebelling. My books have always been a combination of mystery, romance, and paranormal. Nine years ago I was told by a very wise agent that I needed to choose one genre because bookstores wouldn’t know where to shelve my stories. I rebelled against The Man and, eventually, a demand grew for cross-genre books.
3. UNIQUENESS. You can lead a teen boy to a razor but you can’t make him shave. In the end, we all just want to stand out and find our own unique way in this world. For teenage boys that can mean a straggly mustache no better than their grandmother’s. For me it meant carving a niche for myself so that my writer’s voice could stand out from the pack.
4. LOVE. When it comes to teenagers, romance changes everything. That stinky fourteen-year-old boy who’d wear the same socks for a week, suddenly spends more time primping for school than an actress preparing for the Oscars. Once I upped the relationship component in my stories, I found that every aspect of the storyline improved.
5. APPEARANCES. You can lead a teen girl to a modest turtleneck but eventually there’ll be a cleavage-revealing v-neck in her wardrobe. She wants to get noticed, hopefully, by just the right boy. I, on the other hand, also want to get noticed. I want readers. Lots of them. I’m a bit of a slut that way. Unfortunately, getting noticed means I often evolve into Beatrice the Dancing Pig wearing a tutu and glittery underpants while screaming “Buy my book!”. I still struggle with this one.
Have the things you’ve learned in relationships helped you with your career? Do your underpants sparkle?
I’ve been a huge fan of Wendy’s Ghost Duster series since the beginning; if you haven’t checked it out, you should! Wendy resides in the Pacific Northwest with her four children, a sluggish guinea pig and an adorable Yorkshire terrier. She happily writes about murder and is hard at work on her next novel. She’d better be, because I’m waiting for it! ~Allison