Thursday, 6 January 2022

How the menopause changed my writing...

It feels like a very long time since I was able to knock out 4 to 5 novels a year, but in reality it wasn't that long ago. It's just that shit started to get in the way. Shit like the menopause, and a global pandemic but that's a whole other blog post, that is. The menopause, though, let me tell you, that one hit me hard! The lack of focus, the inability to concentrate, and the one thing I wasn't expecting - the inability to write a decent sex scene, something I used to be able to do in a heartbeat. Check out my first Christ knows how many books, they used to call me the Queen of Steam, but for the past couple of years I've struggled to even want to write a sex scene. My entire writing playbook has changed, and I think that's thrown me more than I realised. Let's get one thing straight, though, I'm not saying I now suddenly want to write nothing but cosy romances involving Cornish tea shops, things haven't reached quite that level yet, I'm still very much a writer who's sitting on the dark side of romance. I can't see that changing, but as far as my books being littered with sexy scenes that leave nothing to the imagination, well, you better get that imagination working. For now. 

Am I comfortable with this? No. I'm not. The menopause isn't something to take lightly, it's a bitch, and it's affected a lot more than my writing, I just don't talk about it, that's all. I've had the hot flashes, the mood swings, I've thankfully avoided the night sweats, but my sex drive has - and I'm being brutally honest here - gone. Completely. When I can look at Alexander Skarsgård - a man who has influenced many a hot and heavy sex scene in many of my books - and think, yeah, I could do coffee with him, that's worrying.

So, what can I do to change this? To fix it? Well, as soon as my GP surgery starts taking appointments again I'll be giving the old HRT a go, that's a definite, but until that happens, I guess I'm just going to have to get creative, gain some much-needed inspiration from somewhere, probably involving Alexander Skarsgård, and think like the writer I used to be, and can be again. Make shit up. Whether I'm feeling it or not, I have to think of my characters, and to be honest, sometimes sex is necessary to drive the story forward, but having said that, I'm actually proud of the fact that I can write an entire story with minimal sex but have those characters steaming up the pages with insane sexual chemistry. Maybe, in the long run, this is just another lesson in my writing journey. Something else to add to that growing arsenal of advice and tips and stuff we just have to go through to grow and evolve as authors. Not a lot of sex in books isn't always a bad thing, right? I mean, I'm not an erotic romance author, although I have written an erotic romance trilogy - The Forbidden Series - in the past. 

I'm an author who just goes with the flow, takes whatever crazy idea is in my head at the time and weave a story out of it. And, funnily enough, just writing about this - because, remember, I said I've never talked about how the menopause has affected/is affecting me - is inspiring me to get back to the writing and embrace this change that, you know, might have always been coming anyway. I'm growing older, learning more, reading more, and I like that my style is taking little twists and turns, no matter how unwelcome I thought they were. Yeah. What a therapy session this post has been! 

Anyway, I'm kind of curious to know if the menopause has affected anyone else's writing, because it's not like it's something we women can avoid or forget about or pretend it isn't happening. It happens, whether you like it or not, and I don't like it. But, I'm learning to live with it. And my writing, well, that's just going to have to live with it, too. And to give it a kick start, I think it might be time for a little Skarsgård inspiration... 

Michelle x

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