Monday, 15 April 2013

Welcome to My Guest Author: Natalie Charles

Today I welcome Author  Natalie Charles to my blog!   So over to Natalie...
Writer's Block: Writing the Book I Never Thought I'd Write

I remember it was mid-July, 2012. I'd just sent off the rewrite of my April release, THE SEVEN-DAY TARGET, to my editor, and I was more than ready to move on to something new. After all, I'd written THE SEVEN-DAY TARGET twice: once, for the Mills & Boon Introduces anthology, and then again for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. I loved Nick and Libby, but after spending nine months with them, imagining and then re-imagining their story, I was done. So, I practically popped the champagne as I settled onto my favorite writing couch and fired up the laptop.
That was the first time I realized it: my screen was blank. I had no names for my characters, no concept for my story, and no words on my page. I was finally free to write something new, and that freedom was utterly paralyzing.
It was writer's block on a level I'd never experienced. I wasn't just a soon-to-be published writer. I'd achieved publication by winning a writing competition, and that somehow increased the pressure. I was gripped by fears that I had only one book in me, that I'd never write again, and that if I did, I'd never live up to myself as a competition winner. I was almost too terrified to verbalize this fear. To write one book and then to never finish anything again…no. That would not be me! I would write something.
And so I wrote something, and it was awful. I deleted it. Then I wrote something else, and that was awful, too. I kept writing and deleting, tweaking the vague outline I had in my mind. I estimate I wrote 50 to 60k until I finally found a first chapter that wasn't perfect, but good enough to get my book started.
The difficulty I had writing my second book illustrates the fears I've had since winning Mills & Boon's 2011 New Voices. I'd gone overnight from writing for myself to writing for a publisher and an audience with expectations. Suddenly everything had changed, and that terrified me. Severe writer's block was the result.
So how did I finally move past my writer's block? It didn't happen until I took the pressure to publish again off myself. Once I decided that I didn't care if anyone ever read my next book, those words began to flow. I was writing for myself again, getting lost in my characters and swept away by the love story I was slowly, but surely, crafting. I fell in love with my characters and eventually finished the book. The book I never thought I'd write.
I'm constantly learning this craft, and I've finally come to understand that writer's block is fear -- pure, paralyzing terror -- but nothing more than that. It's not a reflection of ability or potential, and it can be overcome when we identify our fears and face them head-on. My new mantra is to write like no one's reading.
What are your best tips for overcoming writer's block?
Bio: Natalie Charles
Natalie Charles is living her dream as a writer for Harlequin Romantic Suspense after winning Mills & Boon’s 2011 New Voices Competition. By day, she is a practicing attorney whose writing is more effective for treating insomnia than most sleeping pills. This may explain why her after hours writing involves the incomparable combination of romance and suspense—the literary equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. The happy sufferer of a life-long addiction to mystery novels, Natalie has, sadly, yet to out-sleuth a detective. She lives in New England with a husband who makes her believe in Happily Ever After and a daughter who makes her believe in miracles.

Natalie loves hearing from readers! You can contact her through her website

Natalie on the Web:


Blurb - The Seven Day Target

He never meant to speak to her again. Back in Arbor Falls for a funeral, Special Agent Nick Foster has moved on. 

He has no plans to stay in his tiny hometown-or to reunite with the beautiful Libby Andrews. His onetime fiancée broke his heart, and what's past should stay buried.

Libby doesn't want his help. Her childhood sweetheart can never know the real reason she ended their engagement three years before. But when a serial killer targets her, she must team up with the rugged agent for her own safety. Something in her past has put her in danger, and the passion they've reignited puts their future in deadly jeopardy.

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble
Powell's Books
Indie Bound


  1. Hi Serena, Hi Natalie.

    Just write free style, anything that comes into
    your head or else write some fan fiction. When the writing inspiration comes plus the flow of words then it mean you're going in the right direction. I know I can write but my brain just won't write on demand.

    You did very well Natalie, thanks for this enjoyable post. And Serena, thank you for hosting Natalie.

  2. Hi Natalie, Hello Serena!

    Great post. But you did well Natalie! All the best!

    Thanks for hosting Natalie, Serena.


    1. Thanks, Nas! Yes, the second book is written, but wow was it a tough one! The third will be easier...right?

  3. Thanks so much for having me here today, Serena! xx

  4. Hi Natalie,
    Apologies for being absent. I have moved home and had problems with the net connection.

    I have suffered writer's block and sometimes it's not easy to get back into it. I do like your idea about writing for yourself to get yourself writing again. If you don't expect people to read it, perhaps it will help the words flow.

    Hi Maria and Nas, thanks for dropping in. And thanks, Natalie for sharing your suggestions.

    1. Hi Serena, I was thinking you must have been very busy. Good to see you!

  5. BTW Natalie, your book sounds great! I can't wait to read it.

    1. Thank you, and no worries about being absent, Serena! Believe me, I understand that life happens. :-)

    2. Hi Natalie,
      I've had quite a few problems with the PC here, virus included! Sorry again for being absent.

  6. Hi Natalie. I can totally understand that panic. I always write something else first before I start. Maybe a blog or even a long-winded email to a friend. Once the writing muscle is exercised, my fingers are obeying, things start to flow. All the best with your book. It sounds wonderful.
    Thanks for hosting Natalie, Serena.

    1. Thank you, and thank you for the great idea, Louise. Next time I'm stuck, I'm going to try to write something else. That makes a lot of sense. xx

  7. Hi Maria. Hi Natalie, what a fantastic Mantra that I think we can all apply to our roadblocks. You're very inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Hi Natalie,

    Thank you for sharing and what fantastic advice.

    When I started writing it was totally for me but now I freeze when it is time to send it off.

    I see it's time for a change of mind set.


  9. Hi Margaret M,
    You are a fantastic writer and I hope you get over the anxiety about submitting. Hey, I can send it for you?

    Thanks for coming in.