No, not the shitty real men kind, the fantasy dragon shifter kind.
Maybe I mentioned it on here before? I used to write gay romance novels and self-publish them under a penname. Specifically, they were gay dragon shifter mpreg. If you’re not sure what all those words mean, I implore you to google it yourself.
Anyway, as with most things in my life, I pushed myself real hard to make it into a full time gig and ended up burning out. Until then, I mostly enjoyed the work I did but was plagued by insecurities as to the quality of them. A few days, one of my friends started reading my old romance books, and he’s given me feedback and comments on the one he finished.
Being a writer is weird. You write all this shit down and then completely forget about it. That’s part of the allure of having a virtual diary – tagging! I can sift through my old thoughts and mental states like a filing cabinet and figure out what fresh bullshit was actually seeping out of my fingers at that time, and it’s almost always a surprise.
Anyway, spurred on by my friend’s kind words, I took a flick through the book he read. It was the first book in a trilogy about dragon shifters (I was big on that shit!). And then I sat there and read the whole book in one sitting. Then I flounced onto the sofa and tore through the sequel the same night. This morning I woke up fresh and full of energy, and immediately dove into the third book, finishing it by 10am.
Reading something you wrote yourself can either be the best or worst experience in the world. In this case, it was the former. Sure, the books were rough around the edges, which is unsurprising given the rushed written-to-market conditions they were produced under, but I was happy with them. And the things I had worried about while penning them actually turned out to be strengths.
The witty banter between characters was better than I remembered. The romantic metaphors were more effective than I’d remembered. And the political worldbuilding thread I’d built through the three stories (about shifter oppression and fighting back) worked far better than I ever expected. In particular, the third book had a strong message about putting illusions and ego aside while engaging in activism, as well as having a heartwarming and frankly sexy romance in it.
For a while I’ve been floundering around trying to decide what big writing project to take on next, but now it’s crystal clear. I’ve shirked off the shackles of burn-out, and it’s time to climb on the dragon’s back.
That is, unless my fickle heart pulls me in a different direction a week from now. It has a tendency to do that.