Friday, September 9, 2011

Is Romance Writing Hazardous to Your Romance?

We all know the guy is the romantic genius in any romance worth its HEA. Our Hero, however alpha, knows his way around a florist’s shop, reads minds, and may not clean bathrooms but sure can scrub his girl’s back (among other things). But, I’m here to talk about real life. C’mon, no guy can read minds. Very few pick up flowers anywhere but Wal-Mart, if they remember the flowers at all. And if there’s a card to be had in the house, it’s been purchased by the girl.

Real women lament all the time a lack of (consistent) romance in their lives.

I’ve also heard from multiple reliable sources that men whose wives read romance reap many additional benefits and are much happier in, well, all areas than the average guy. In other words, if the wife does the research, the man wins again.

Men=Mars/Women=Venus stuff aside, it’s all good. Women may whine but, secretly, we like being the keepers of the keys to perfect romance.

But (there’s always a ‘but’) notice I said the happy men belong to women who read romance. I’ve come to believe the husband/partner/SO of someone who writes romance is in a different kettle of rosebuds altogether. For him, his woman might keep all the keys to romance, but she’s using them to open some other door – usually a door on page 147 or so.

I and, by some reciprocal property, DH, had that truth driven home this week when we celebrated our 37th anniversary. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us has ever forgotten the date, but back in the days before I was a real writer I was big time into special placemats for dinner, a steak or his fave meal on the table, and always a card and a gift on the plate. I unlocked the romance door and threw it open all the way.

Now I write romance. And along came September 7, 2011. DH worked overnight on the 6th and I was happily getting my H/h cozy. At 12:02 a.m. my phone beeped and there it was—The Romantic Text: “Happy Anniversary. I love you.” Awwwww. I didn’t feel too guilty until I woke up the next morning, DH sound asleep after his graveyard shift, and I found a card on my computer keyboard. “You are the love of my life,” he’d written. And my second thought (after a double “awwwwww”) was, “Dang, dang, dang, I KNEW I forgot something.”

Sad.

I’ll jump ahead here and tell you I did get a card (a very perfect card—seriously), and I managed to disguise the fact that I’d forgotten. But that isn’t the point. The point is – writing romance is becoming hazardous to my romance health. I don’t know if that’s true for any of you. Maybe writing romance is hazardous to some other aspect of your life. I wish I had a solution for myself – and for you. I don’t – this is just my newest epiphany. I’m thinking it’ll all come down to some great truth I already know in my heart-of-hearts like: learn to prioritize or practice self-discipline. Until I figure it out the only piece of advice I have is this: find someone who, after 37 years, has seen you in so many stages he couldn’t care less whether it’s you or he who opens the romance door. After all –I guess that’s the real definition of Happily Ever After.

How ‘bout you? Does writing throw any aspect of your life outta whack? If so, what do you do? If not, I’m coming to breathe the air at your house.

Liz Selvig

6 comments:

Morgan O'Reilly said...

It's no secret that I started writing romance after DH and were separated for most of year because of work. He was teaching in Alaska while DS and I saw out the end of Middle School in Colorado.

I got lonely. Writing filled the lonely hours and kept the phone bill down. Writing also set a few fantasies free and helped make reunions much, well, um, better.

As long as he can see some aspect of himself in my heroes he's a happy guy. Here's to the next 21 years.

Kudos to you on 37!!

Maxine Mansfield said...

I have to admitt, I was kinda glad when Rich called today and said he didn't feel well enough to come over... I have edits to do :( But, I do realize that something is very wrong with me when a fantasy love story takes precidence over the real one...Just don't know what to do about it

Boone Brux said...

37 years, holy Mother of Pearl. I've barely been alive that long.:) Happy anniversry. And to be honest, my hubby and I say our anniv. Is in July because neither of us can remember the day. We've now opted for July 4th because then we can celebrate with the America.

Love this post

DeNise said...

Huge congratulations on your anniversary. My hero's all have a little bit of MY hero in them. I got lucky the second time around. I've usually got my head up my ...ur..WIP-so it really helps to have a romance minded man in the house. Even more charming--he doesn't get it, he just is.
Great post, Liz, thanks-we miss you.

Tam Linsey said...

What a poignant post, Liz. I never thought about my writing getting in the way of my romance, but it does! And like your DH, mine had stepped up to the plate for romantic moments. He even booked us a 20th anniversary (granted, that was a whole anniversary ago - haha) seven day cruise. Thank you, God, for our men!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great idea, Liz. I suspect that the same thing can happen when women are focused on other pursuits, but it does seem ironic when the woman is so wrapped up in romance writing that the man has to pick up the slack. But our men do, and reveal how thoughtful and romantic they can be for us. Thank goodness my husband is thoughtful enough to make me lunch when I'm in the middle of a big chapter or ask me what I want to do for my birthday. And hopefully I will do those things for him often enough to keep our own romance going.