From Thea: Jane and I initially connected through Brenda Novak’s annual diabetes fundraiser. I am very excited when she accepted my invitation to come visit this week. Be sure to pay attention to contest details at the end of the post. for Jane’s generous giveaway! Jane, take it away!
The Heroine’s Journey
My first sale, The Italian Groom, was to Harlequin Presents in 2000.
It only took me 13 rejected books, and 15 years to get that first sale.
That first sale was momentous, and life changing.
Since then I’ve written 43 books and novellas, for Harlequin, Grand Central and Berkley.
Forty-three books and thirteen years later, I’ve learned this about being a writer and the publishing industry: there is going to be a lot of criticism, a lot of industry change, and a lot of self-doubt.
But forty-three books and thirteen years later I’ve also learned that I don’t write for those who criticize me. I write for the readers. I write for my readers. I write for those who crave the stories I can tell.
It sounds basic, right? But it took a lot of hard hits, rough reviews, and ups and downs to get to be the woman I am today, which is strong. Hopeful. Resilient.
Here are 8 things being a romance writer has taught me:
#1 You Must Define Your Expectations
a) What are your goals for yourself, short term, and long term?
b) How do you define success?
I discovered early on that I couldn’t be content until I know what I was striving for.
I also think its important to not compare careers, other people’s lives, or your goals to others. That just creates angst and anxiety. Have your own goals, have your own definitions of happiness and success and focus on that.
#2 Take Risks in Life
Go for it. Whatever it is you want to do. Don’t be afraid to extend yourself. Don’t be afraid to dream big, work hard, or come up short. That’s part of life, so make your life as exciting and adventurous as you want.
#3 Anticipate Problems
We’re all going to fail at times, and we’re going to make mistakes. It’s impossible not to make mistakes, especially when trying something new, or pushing ourselves to the next level. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes, and don’t let it take you out of the game. Anticipate that there will be road blocks and difficulties, and then work through them.
#4 Eliminate Negativity
I have amazing friends. They are smart and funny, tough, honest, and more than a little gritty. Many of them are fellow novelists, others have their own businesses, others are stay at home moms, but we all have one thing in common—we’re supportive of each other, and we focus on the positives. Surround yourself with positive people.
#5 Develop a Psychology of Power
Most of us weren’t raised to think of ourselves as warriors. Too many of us were raised to please others. And that’s a problem, because if we’re trying to please others, we’re vulnerable to the judgments of others. We tend to put others perceptions and judgments above our own. We literally give away our power, deferring to others, and yet deep down, we’re frustrated and angry that we’ve told ourselves what amounts to a lie. No one has a right, or better answer. No one knows that much more than you do. No one knows better than you what’s right for you.
So if you’re not mentally tough yet—make that one of your goals. Focus on becoming tenacious, or resilient.
#6 Take Action
Make you and your dreams a priority.
Want to be a writer? Write, rewrite, submit. Want to go back to college? Take the necessary tests, or fill out the necessary applications. Want to start your own business? Do the research and then act on it.
We have to take risks. We have to be willing to strike out on our own. We have to commit to creating the life we want. We can’t wait for it to happen. It won’t happen without us taking action…making hard decisions, tackling problems, and putting blood and sweat and tears into seeing out dreams become reality.
#7 Trust Yourself
So don’t give away your power. You must trust yourself to write. You must trust yourself to live.
One of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. For ten years Bradbury had a sign taped over his typewriter, and the sign read: Don’t Think!
Obviously Bradbury thought—he wrote incredible stories and essays and books—but he realized it was dangerous to get obsessive and to over-think things. Don’t let constant analysis or self-doubt paralyze you.
#8 Gird Yourself
I’m repeating myself, but surround yourself with positive friends. Turn a deaf ear to the doubters and naysayers. If you’re a writer, ignore dismal market statistics. Throw away painful rejection letters or contest critiques. Delete emails that hurt. Get off loops that undermine your confidence.
In short, be your own best friend. Protect your self, nurture your dream, focus your energy. Remember attitude in this business is everything. Hard work pays off. Positive thinking is essential, as is sheer grit. Don’t ever give up. Don’t quit. Don’t stop believing in yourself. Real heroes hang tough.
These eight tips, seem simple. But they were hard for me to internalize, and I only did so after much soul-searching and struggle.
I don’t regret the struggle, because I’m proud of who I am today, and my struggles have made me want to reach out to other women–readers, writers, moms, students–and encourage them. Support them. Because success isn’t about selling a book, or lots of books, its about owning your life, and loving your life, and most importantly, loving yourself.
Success isn’t a thing. It’s an attitude.
So take care of yourself, surround yourself with positive people, learn to weather storms, savor your successes, and enjoy every bit of your life. You’re worth it.
Let me say that again: You are worth it.
You are special.
You are a hero.
You deserve that happy ever after.
And don’t you ever forget it.
Bestselling author of the Jane Porter has been a finalist for the
prestigious RITA award four times and has over 12 million copies in print.
September 2012 brought the release of The Good Woman, the first of her
Brennan Sisters trilogy, followed in February 2013 with The Good Daughter
and book three is slated for release in September. Jane lives with her
surfer husband and three sons in sunny San Clemente, CA. To learn more about
Jane, please visit her website at www.janeporter.com
Jane has shared with us some great things she’s learned from writing romance, what have you learned from reading romance novels?
Simply leave a comment below and you’re entered to win
A $15 B&N giftcard
A copy of The Good Woman
The Good Daughter !
We’ll draw the winner on April 12th at 12 noon MDT (2pm EDT) and announce them on the blog. The winner must contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm MDT (7pm EDT) Monday, April 18th to claim their prize.
**If the winner is unable to claim their prize by the time and date and time listed above, it will be allocated to someone else**
Jane! I am so glad you didn’t give up on writing. I truly enjoy your books cos they push category romance boundaries time and again, the rebel in me applauds it, the reader in me loves it 🙂
Love your books Jane.
Thanks for your insight!
I’ve learned that I only enjoy reading romance, taking me away into a wonderful world and admittedly only good endings, or I don’t want to read them; yes there can be a chapter of sadness but it must end on a happy note.
Such a great interview! Jane is one of my all time favorite authors!
Appreciate the advice! And I love that you write for the readers, not the critics. I was also thrilled to hear during your book signing in Bellevue that you’re working on your own publishing venture. Good luck.
Great tips Jane, thanks for sharing! I enjoy reading your books 🙂
Jane, you are such a good author, I really enjoys reading your books. Keep it Up!
Jane, I love your list, especially #2. Can’t wait for Brennan Sisters -3.
Thea, I wanted to say thank you for having Jane over here. Jane, I’ve been reading you since the beginning and I love how you mange to make even the most heart-rending situations have believable endings. I adore your talent and I hope I have the opportunity to read you for years to come.
I’ve learned that I can only read stories that give me an HEA, or at least an implied HEA. And I also need well-developed characters that engage my emotions. As always, I enjoyed Jane’s positive, encouraging and uplifting words. They always tend to soothe my soul.
This is a great list, Jane, thank you! What I’ve learned reading romance is how many different ways a great story can be told. Historical or contemporary, great characters and a great story will win every time.
Jane thank you for inspiring words on what you learned as a romance writer. I have learned a couple of things from being a reader 1) no mater what wok of life you come from you are worth it and never settle. 2) even the quite ones can be wild.
i love reading romance because of the happy edings
I have learned that you should never settle. Not in work, love or life.
I have learned that there can never be too much joy, friendship or HEA in the stories I read!
And I agree with you, being nice doesn’t mean being a pushover!
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with your readers 🙂
I really enjoyed reading what you had to say about your personal goals and expectations. You have learned early what it took me much longer to learn. Your readers (of which I am definitely one) appreciate and anticipate each story that you tell. Thank you for never giving up!
What great insight,not just about writing but life! Romance books help us readers focus on the positive side of life no matter what gets thrown at us, and helps us realize everyone has problems. I like reading all kinds of books-but especially romance!
I’ve learned love can be found anywhere and not just romantic love: all types of love. If we just open our hearts, there are opportunities everywhere.
Wonderful post. I love you books.
I have learned that HEAs are possible.
Number 5 defines me to a T. I’m not a writer but what you wrote about becomeing a writer is what I need to apply to my life. My dad had told me years ago that I would make a very good writer because of the stories I would write about the different places and things that I would see. I have taken parables out of the Bible and written plays for a church, but I haven’t done anything to try to pursue what I would love to do. Congratulations on following your dream.
For pure emotion you cannot beat Jane’presents!!
Very wise words, Jane. You provided a very thought provoking post. You are such a strong person.
I love this as much as I love your books. They are great insights and I need to get busy applying them… What have I learned from reading romances? That is a good question…I love strong women, especially the unconventional ones…and the ones that always get their man!
I have learned that there is hope for us all even if we are 40 and still single. I also learned not to settle wait for that special someone
I’ve learned that boys in books do it better… Sorry, I couldn’t resist 😉
Such wonderful advice! I love your books. Please keep sending such great reading material our way!
Thank you, Jane, for that blog. I was privileged to be at a talk you gave to GRW in Feb. Your blog captured that same positive vibe.
So what have I learned from romance novels? I’ve learned that heroines come from all walks of life and span all time eras. Heroes often look deep and beyond the surface to find their partner and equal.
I love your books and following you on Facebook. Keep writing!
When I read a good romantic story I can forget I’m a 66 year old widow. Makes me feel young again 🙂
Jane, I love your books. I am going to work on putting your principles into action. Good advice.
I’ve learned that HEAs don’t always come easily – giving me hope. You have to fight for what you want and for what you believe in.
I have learned that there are good men out there and I’m holding out for my hero, friend, lover. If he’s never lucky enough to find me then, I have your 8 tips to remind me to go for what I want and to follow MY dreams. Thanks for sharing your story and advice with us.
Great motivational blog! I don’t know if I’ve necessarily learned something from reading romance, but I will say that it takes away the stress of daily life, if only for a few hours, when you get lost in a good book.
I’ve learned to never settle for less than your worth, and if you respect yourself others will will respect you!
Jane, what a great post. What I’ve learned from reading (and writing) romance is your point number 4 (and 8). Positive people are so important. I don’t want to read about negative people, and romance heroines are optimists at heart. Likewise, my CPs are my cheerleaders, propelling me along to bigger and better things, and helping me to trust myself. Surrounding yourself with positivity makes life so much more worthwhile, doesn’t it?
What a wonderful blog. So many of the things you mentioned touches my heart to become a better person and believe in yourself.
Jane, I follow your blog and I really enjoy your books. Always looking forward to your new books!
I’ve learned to follow your heart. Thanks for the post!
I so want to read The Good Wife and The Good Daughter. They look awesome!!!
Congratulations on the release . Great blog post with some interesting lessons learned
I have learned that everyone has their story to tell, and if the other person isn’t willing to listen, find that special someone who will.
Love the eight lessons!
love your books Jane and your blog; I’ve learned there are happy ever afters from reading romance.
Great advice. I have learned that no relationship is perfect.
I’ve learned to be a better speller & what words mean.
I’ve learned that picking up a romance book has gotten me through some hardships such as loosing my dad, a hysterectomy, 2 year divorce with several court appearances, being unemployed 1 1/2 years.
To accept myself, not depend on another for my happiness but allow a person to add to my happiness.
Stop trying to please all as you will please few.
Learn to be happy with who you are, and count your blessings. And I am truly blessed.
I have learned that you shouldn’t settle. I have also learned that sometimes you need to escape from your daily struggles and for me the best way to escape is to read romance books. I’ve also learned that I do want the fairy tale, that I do want my alpha male.
I’ve learned so many different things about that I’ve never been to and probably will never visit.
My Dad used to always tell us that we could do anything we set our minds to…that everything in life was sent as a test for us, and to think positive 🙂 Even though the romances I read are fiction, many of them are very true to life…you can be happy and enjoy every day as it comes, and your true love really is out there!
Thank you, I so needed this today! Thea thanks for having Jane as your special guest.
I have learned from Romances that bad things can happen, but eventually you do find your happiness!
I found your advice interesting. I may even take some of it. 🙂
What have I learned from reading romance? I’d hope that I learn some little tidbit from every book I read-romance or not.
Jane, I wish that I had had these words of advice when I was a younger woman. Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom that you have learned over the years.
The reason that I like to read contemporary romances is because I enjoy stories of strong, independent women.
I just love this blog.
Reading your romance novels have learned me that they don’t need to have an happy ending to me a romance.
Your writing is so motivational in a way, that the ending is less important.
I’ve learned not every romance has an ending tied with a bow, but I still love reading about them. Love Jane…a SoCal girl like me!
I really, really love those tips. Thank you!
If this giveaway is open internationally, I’d love to enter. (I’m in the UK.) If not, though, no worries. I just really enjoyed this entry!
I got both of your recent Harlequins- Fallen Greek Bride and Be Mine Cowboy. So glad you wrote these. Both are great reads! Next I’m going to get your ‘sisters.’ I admire your approach and really appreciate the advice about becoming a warrior. Now, to follow your advice, that’s the tricky part.
Jane’s advice is ‘life’ advice and good for anyone. Actually, if I was ever asked to speak at a graduation… I’d steal this from Jane. Thanks for sharing and keep on writing for us – your readers!
What a great post – totally inspiring! Thank you for sharing this Jane!
I’m in the UK – don’t mind if the competition isn’t international, I’m just really pleased to have read this!
I’ve learned to trust myself. Looking forward to reading the next book. Thank you for your wonderful stories.
I’ve learned that I love happy endings in books.
I never thought about how brave writers are to put themselves out there and deal with daily criticism. I met a writer at a book signing and was heaping her with praise and the bookstore owner told me later that the author really needed that because she was always so down on herself. Keep fighting the good fight Ladies!
Thanks for the amazing tips! Thanks for the amazing opportunity! I’d love to win! 🙂
I love the way romance novels take me to places I have never been — both geographically and emotionally. The troubles that authors devise and the pathways to resolution often amaze me. I also aspire to publish and am writing books about female family members — so I’d love to win Jane’s books. Thanks for today’s post. Very positive advice. I’ll try to use it!
Thanks Jane Porter for your stories! Please keep on writing so I can keep on reading!
I have learned from reading romances that there are many different types of love between couples and it is great to be able to read all of these stories presented by all the different authors.
I have learned when an author pouring their heart out in words, it brings me to a new world…but then I am a hopeless romantic after all.
Such encouraging words…thank you. Number five struck a cord because I too was raised as a pleaser. Over the years I have worked hard to balance that with being a warrior as well. There is safety in words, and I’m so grateful to wrap myself in mine, filling pages one at a time. I’m also grateful to have met (if only via online) amazing authors that share their words with me.
What a beautiful post. Thanks for the wonderful tips. Inspiring and lovely.
Thanks for the tips. I’ve not read any of your books but it appears that I’ve been missing out! Thanks for the contest!
What I’ve learned about reading romances novels is that no matter where you live, or what the situation may be, you can find romance even if you are not looking for it!
I love Jane Porter so much!!
Love #2. Thank you for your great list.. and your wonderful books 🙂
I loved this article! Thank you Jane for sharing you wonderful talent and words of wisdom with us! I especially love #5
Forgot to mention what I have learned by reading Romance Novels. I’ve learned it’s ok to believe in the Happy Ever After Endings. It’s ok to dream and believe in true love!
Good advice. Thanks for sharing
Learned how to address royalty
I learned that romance can happen at anytime and anywhere-usually with a guy with whom you have issues!
I love reading a good love story and one thing that it has taught me is that when life can give you more than you can take, you can always escape even just for a few hours to where love always prevails.
The biggest thing I have learned about reading romance is that a happily ever after is always within our reach. We just have to make it happen and watch for those signs along the way that are pointing us in the right direction. Thanks for the awesome interview!!
Great interview, love the advice.
13 rejected books, and 15 years to get that first sale? Wow! Your persistence paid off and I’m glad.
Great advice, Jane! What I have learner is that it is okay to allow myself time to read, relax, let a romance novel take my mind to another place, and meditate.
Great advice, Jane!!!
Love your books, Jane.
What have I learned – I don’t kiss and tell so I cannot say. LOL.
I read romance because of the hope. Even a sad story ends with the promise of happiness. You just can’t find that in all the other genre out there. And Jane writes gritty, emotional stuff. Thanks for giving it your all, Jane. It’s been a pleasure to read.
Jane, what great tips! I especially like “Success isn’t a thing. It’s an attitude.” That is so true. I always enjoy your books and always look forward to reading your new releases.
After reading a few of your books I can tell you write for your readers. Your books are so good, I love the emotion in the stories. I know that the critics must love them too, they are so well written. I can’t wait to read the Good Daughter.
Great advice no matter what profession we follow…thanks!
Wonderful advice and thanks for the encouragement! Would love these books! Rhonda
I could have never pictured myself reading romance until by chance I found a copy of She’s Gone Country at my sisters work (Favorite book ever!) and now I have been sucked in to the glorious world of Jane Porter’s works and wonderful imagination
Romance novels have taught me numerous things. Many times the things you hear, or you say, but you never understand. Stand back up when you fall down, dont give up on what you want, if you love them let them go. So many phrases and so much that is learned. Romance I find arnt just about Romance, they are about lifes lessons that we usually dont fully understand. Yet in reading we learn them better. They give us the opportunity to overlook someone else, see through that person. And learn to view things in more then one way, to learn through more eyes then just our own. Walk a mile in anothers shoes applies to all novels, not just romance.
I find that I am able to understand myself & my needs better…overcome some stereotypical brainwashing from my childhood & increase my self-esteem. Sort of the idea that anyone can be beautiful & be loved!
Haven’t read any of your books yet but adding them to my TBR list