As some of you may know, I’ve been working on an adult fiction book for about a year now. I spend much of my day (and some wee hours of the night) thinking, imagining, and trying to breathe life into a love story on “paper”. If you were to look at my computer screen, you would see multiple windows open across the top: Google docs (where I store the literary products of my blood, sweat and tears; AutoCrit.com (a cool online editing tool); Thesaurus.com (for looking up synonyms of words I tend to overuse); YouTube (for playing cheesy love songs in the background); and Facebook (for moments of writer’s block). Add my creative juices to the mix and I’ve got the perfect ingredients for writing romance, right?
One thing I’ve learned through my writing endeavors is that you can only write what you know. Sure, fiction allows for a lot of room to invent new characters and places, but the heart of a love story is still about the romance. Which makes me wonder if I should be writing romance at all because truth be told, I’m not a very romantic person. I’m a little too structured to do anything spontaneous. I’m much too cheap to spend money on extravagant things. I’m way too square to behave passionately. 😉
This poses a problem since romance is all about throwing caution to the wind, laying everything on the line, and – this is for all you closet Beliebers out there – believing you can survive starvation, homelessness and bankruptcy because you have love (sigh! haha). Even if it is a bit exaggerated, this idea of romance is what you hope love stories are made of.
So how in the world does an unromantic gal like me find inspiration for a romantic novel?
Simply put, from my own love story. 🙂 Let me share it with you now.
Hubby and I met at church when he and I were 25 and 23 respectively, but our paths had actually crossed about a decade earlier on the final day of a joint church retreat. Although I don’t have the best memory, I distinctly remember noticing the slim, self-assured guy preparing to take our group picture and how he ran over to stand about five feet from me before the camera clicked. Years later after we were married, a friend of ours showed us the photo from that summer day and pointed out that, sure enough, hubby was the photographer who had caught my eye as a teenager.
When we officially met as adults, I remember exchanging names, shaking hands, and wondering if he was younger than me (we both looked like babies back then!). Over the course of a few months, we exchanged numbers from our very first cell phones (which were the size of today’s landlines), emailed each other every day (this was pre-Facebook), and eventually had “The Talk”. Fast forward a year and a half later, he took my parents out for dinner (without my knowledge) and asked for their blessing to marry me. During the week he proposed, he woke up early every day to surprise me with roses and cards on my car windshield and ended the week with a beautiful bouquet delivered to my workplace. That Saturday he took me out to dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date, then to a hilltop overlooking the city skyline. There he turned on the tape deck of his blue Mitsubishi Eclipse, sang his proposal to the tune of a song I liked, and presented me with a ring. I said “Yes!” and the rest, like they say, is history. 🙂
I share these memories with you because it helps me remember the wonder and thrill of young love. Not only does reliving the past provide great inspiration for my book, but it also injects a new zest for romance in real life, too – specifically in my marriage. I’m reminded to treasure the man whose bright smile I fell in love with. To stand by the vows I spoke to him thirteen years ago (come next Monday). To see the best in him even when we drive each other crazy. And to choose to fall in love with him over and over again.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll grow a romantic bone or two in the process. 🙂
Take a listen to Sara Bareilles’ new love song, “I Choose You“. May the lyrics prompt you to remember your own love story.
How did you and your spouse meet and fall in love? How do you continue to keep the romance alive in your relationship? Please share – I would love to hear your stories. 🙂