Perhaps the title should read Why I May Never Self-publish A Paperback Again. Or maybe, Why I May Not Share My Work With Others. Now that I think about it, it should probably read Why Self-publishing Is An Insane Pursuit That Can Make A Crazy Writer Even Crazier.
This business of writing and then publishing one’s own books is a world of extremes, a contradiction of terms.
- One moment you are perched high upon a peak in all of your glory while the next you wallow in self-doubt. And that can all happen in a day, an hour, five minutes even.
- It is believing – finally – that you are doing all of the right things to get your book to market only to realize you haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg. Publishing constantly evolves, and you will always have more to learn and will never truly master it.
- It is the accomplishment of a dream (to be an author) which quickly morphs into a nightmare (of becoming an editor, typesetter, cover designer, publisher, promoter, accountant, blogger, website creator, and more).
- It is the utter and complete ecstasy of typing THE END to a manuscript and seeing it in print. And it is tumbling into the deepest depths of depression when no one actually reads it.
- It is the confidence in your ability and the story you feel compelled to tell, and the blistering reality your work and efforts as a writer are futile, worthless.
- It is finding solace in the freedom and outlet of creation. And it is a detachment from and discontent with everything around you.
- It is the exploration and discovery of new worlds and ideas, the expansion of your horizon to a place beyond your imagination. It is total confinement within invisible bars.
- It is experiencing love, support, and understanding, and then masking the hurt of feeling ignored or rejected.
- It is the epitome of the roller coaster of Life. One moment you are Up; the next you are Down.
Thankfully, throughout much of this journey I have been Up far more than Down. Yet still, for me, the Downs are unacceptable. I need to go back to the root of why I began this whole process in the first place. That root is Writing. And as with everything in my life, I seek Balance.
Somewhere along the way, I’ve teetered off the totter. In fact, I’ve fallen flat on my ass and into that pile of dirt where the shoes leave a hole. Only in my playground, it has rained recently and the hole is now a humongous mud puddle.
I want to get back on the teeter-totter and regain the ability to enjoy, breathe, and embrace. I do not want to be stuck, overwhelmed, or burdened. Taking a break from self-pubbing has been relaxing, a break from the Have-to-Dos. I have focused on the Want-to-Dos.
And what I really want to do is Write. Not publish, but simply write.
-Maybe this means I write privately (as I have in the past) and keep it to myself?
-Maybe this means I won’t ever share my 250 page draft of SPIRIT? Or perhaps I only offer it in eBook? Serialize it on my blog for free? Query traditional publishers only?
-Maybe I’ll do it all the same and nothing will change. I don’t know.
What I do know is that, for now, I just need to write. If that means creating something new and scrapping SPIRIT to the virtual recycle bin, then I will do that. If it means writing poetry and short stories for myself and no one else, then I will do that. I will do whatever it takes because I confess I really love riding the teeter-totter.
@Dennis: This is not the first time your words have come at just the right time, and for that I thank you!
I do believe I am at a crossroads-one which means I must go back to the basics of writing. I admit I have a love-hate attitude when it comes to the publishing process. There are truly parts I enjoy, yet sadly, the parts I do not have infringed on my desire and time to create. To me, that is unacceptable.
And as for what's next? It is wide open. For now, I intend to put forth a hard edit on SPIRIT and possibly begin another project. It's all good, and I feel quite giddy at the prospects!
(BTW, that picture rocks, and I am totally sharing it!) 🙂
Wil Wheaton (screenplay writer and actor) shared this yesterday on Google+. It resonated with me, a friend of mine who's a fiction writer, and I'm betting that it will resonate with you.
Writing is many things, and doing it well nearly always has its cost. From what you've said, publishing is another, distinct kind of effort that's almost opposed to the work of writing inasmuch as it requires a kind of strength that's inimical to your inner, writerly self.
I agree that you should nurture the writer and not the publisher. So what's next? Getting an agent? Joining a writers' collective?
@Darlene: Thank you for your comments! I also take the critics (and non-supporters) with a grain of salt. They are not the reason I write, nor do I feel a need to justify why I do it. However, as I get deeper into the world of self-pubbing, I can't help but stop, evaluate, and re-align what I really want out of the process. I know I will NEVER stop writing, but as for how I share my work…who knows? Every item I create has a different purpose, which is why I feel the need to question what place SPIRIT holds in my future. I will not give up on it, or the writing process for that matter. And perhaps that is what it takes to be a true writer — Determination with a little bit of insanity thrown in? 🙂
Wow, I totally agree with you. And I thought I was the only writer that felt this way. Writing is a lonely job – but sharing it shouldn't be so hard. I've decided to take each comment or criticism with a grain of salt – whatever that's suppose to mean. There will always be fans of your writing and the other one's – who perhaps are jealous they can't write. Just keep on writing for whatever reason. I'm just glad I finally finished something I've worked on for so long. Could that be a reason for writing – to just finish something?