Backspace key I stop myself from using so the stories live another day.

Yeah, weird title, but stick with me.

You know what’s interesting, is the longer I’ve been writing, romance specifically, the more things I realize I don’t know. Things I do–writing-wise, as well as writing-business-wise, and everything in between–sometimes seem like they’re going to be much simpler than they end up being. And vice versa, since I’ve definitely had experiences where something seems like a huge ordeal and it turns into a “That was it?” experience.

So anyway, I’m working on some sexy short stories to put in a collection for you lovely readers. A story or two have been anthology submissions that weren’t accepted, which is fine by me, because I get to play with them some more! Good for me, even better for you guys. (No, I don’t have a release date, but I’ll definitely let you know via my VIP newsletter, so please sign up for that if you want allllll my updates.)

But some of the stories are ones I’ve found languishing in various stages of done-ness on my hard drive. Kind of like deep sea exploration, you never know what you’ll find. “What’s this? A story with no title and three paragraphs written like I had something planned? Challenge accepted.”

And when I find one that’s almost done, or seems to be completed, my brain likes to tell me that it’s a good idea to just do a quick rewrite of them–they’re almost done, Ryley…it’s fine, it’ll be a fast way to finish them and get them ready for the collection, this will work out swimmingly.

Brain doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

“Sorry, Ryley, there’s no fixing your brain on this one. Here’s a G&T and Hostess cupcake…that should help.”

On one hand, it’s been a great learning experience to poke away at older material I’ve written–I can see how much I’ve grown as an author (and I’ll continue to grow–that’s how this creative thing works). On the other hand, I want to just click delete and never rework anything ever again because, oh man, reworking old material you wrote years ago is hard. Mostly because I’ve grown as a writer, which is such a good thing.

This is where I rely on my fab critique group to help me whip them into shape. Since I’m often too close to the story (even ones in a folder labeled “2015”…) I sometimes can’t see what needs to be done to fix it. This includes when I inevitably bite off more than I can chew on a topic I know nothing about and have to put some hours into researching, like the M/M college football enemies-to-lovers romance I’m beating into submission. (Seriously–why is American football so complicated?)

But my critique partners never fail to call me on my BS and get me to put in the hard work that will make these stories Ryley Banks stories, ones that I know my readers will love. Because it’s the hard work that makes this all worthwhile.