Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stretch Those Muscles...

by Janis Susan May

No, my dear friends, I have not gone over to the dark side and become an exercise freak. My main idea of exercise is pushing my luck and jumping to conclusions.

No, I'm talking about a more cerebral form of exercise – writing. Yeah, a writer regarding writing as exercise – weird, huh? Only those who do not write would think so. Writing can be as demanding and exhausting physically as any calisthenic, but just in a different way. Between the demands of the body having to stay still, except for the hands and fingers which work double and triple time, and the mind constantly laboring to create, writing is downright draining.

The only thing worse is not being able to write.

Oh, I haven't had writers' block or physical problems or anything like that. I've had work. My book-every-two-weeks 30 June-30 October publishing blitz is winding down (Hallelujah!) but it has been an insane amount of work. Every book is freshly edited – the re-releases by me, the two new ones first by me, then by a professional (and very tough!) editor. Then it's on to my wonderful formatter, who is a delight and puts up with all my weird fits and starts and – let's be honest – mistakes, and my extremely gifted cover artist who tries to make my weird ideas reality. All that, plus all the normal duties of life like family and laundry and cooking. The Husband has been kind and very supportive, but he's so anxious for me to get back into the kitchen. Man cannot be expected to live on frozen pizza alone!

I have always been a writer – wrote my first 'book' at the tender age of four, and no, it's not part of this publishing blitz! The creation of stories, of lives and worlds beyond that of my own rather mundane existence, is like air to me. Deprivation of it is a hardship.

But deprived I was during this work-filled summer. New ideas and half-finished manuscripts – I always work on a minimum of three projects at once – jammed up in my brain, demanding the release of being written. I tried, but there are only so many hours in the day and only so much energy, both of which seem to decrease as I age. Most nights I was too tired even to read. That, thankfully, is passing, and once more on most days I can give a short time to my bulging Kindle.

Once more, too, I can begin to write again. Despite the urgency of the clamoring characters in my head, the process is slow and tentative, like stretching and then walking before running. Hesitantly, the words are starting to creep out from my fingers, almost as if unsure of their welcome. The stories are coming, building in strength and complexity. I feel almost as if I were waking from a long sleep.

It is a welcome feeling.


Believe it or not, my publishing blitz is still right on schedule. And that schedule is getting shorter – after this book there are only two more in this particular round. The Husband is insistent that once this is done I am to take some time away from the computer and – according to him – reacquaint myself with the kitchen. He does like frozen pizza and takeaway, but even the mildest mannered man has his limits!

This fortnight's offering is THE OTHER HALF OF YOUR HEART, a romantic adventure set in the jungles of Mexico – not far from Puerto Vallarta, where I lived for a short but happy while. None of the wild escapades that befall the heroine ever happened to me (drat!) but writing about a country I love was great fun.

A weekend in a Mexican resort with the man she loves quickly becomes a nightmare of fear and danger for Cara Walters. If she can just survive being lost in the jungle, captured by the army, hunted by drug lords and a man who wants to kill her, all the while being held prisoner by the man who has stalked her, she just might find out who is the other half of her heart.

And – for all you calorie lovers – my super-special dessert recipe called Chocolate Sin (try it and you'll know why it's named that!) was chosen for inclusion in the new book of desserts called BAKE LOVE WRITE, a wonderful compendium of calories and advice.  


  1. Hi, Janis,

    Actually I think stretching our physical muscles helps our mental ones in writing. A good long walk always helps with getting ideas.

  2. Welcome back, Janis. I have a feeling, once those writing muscles get stretched, you'll be stronger than ever.

  3. I'm tired just reading this. LOL. I need to bump up my writing routine. This is inspiration

  4. Janis, I'm glad to see other writers work on more than one project at one time. Right now I'm at a writing standstill, but I plan to start again after I do two fall festivals. Welcome back.

  5. Gooooo Janis! I wanna be like you when I grow up!

  6. An amazing amount of work! I admire your energy.

  7. Yes, I agree! Life in general can challenge our writing. Thanks for sharing your helpful thoughts.