Writing resources typically focus on the “How To.” How to: become a better writer, be more productive, market like a pro, reach more readers, sell tons of books, master social media, and top bestseller charts.
I do not intend to downplay anyone’s goals or criticize their personal approach. I am a firm believer that people should do whatever works for them. But as a writer invested in the long-term, I do not seek to make a quick buck or follow the latest fad.
I am a realist, and (I hope) my blog reflects this.
Eight years in, I feel like I have been there, done that. Yes, this industry is ever-changing and evolving, but the basic offerings remain the same. I registered for seminars, purchased sales packages, read online guides, subscribed to blogs, received free downloads, and listened to podcasts. But along the way, I realized none of that was for me and doing those things for extended periods of time led to burnout.
The hard fact: being a dedicated writer is often as fictional and full of fantasy as the tales we create.
We can manufacture anything we want – plot, character, dialogue, theme, setting – but the idea that we are in control is a myth. Writing rarely heeds a structured plan. There is no correct path nor will we ever master it. And even if we do everything right, our desired results are not guaranteed. Nothing is promised. The creation process follows its own agenda.
Writing is its own entity.
The publish deadline for my latest book has come and gone. Usually in the months leading up to a launch I am frantic to finesse every detail and perfect the finished product. After 9 books I have a (somewhat) streamlined process getting me from Chapter One to “Congrats, your book is published!”
But for some reason, this project is a hot mess. It is written, formatted, and (mostly) edited. The printed manuscript now sits in my ever-present to do pile waiting to be red-penned, and I have not touched it in a month.
It is mocking me but to be honest, I am mocking it back.
The primary source of my struggle? Family. [see previous post] I need to focus more on them during a time usually set aside for publishing. Yes, this is Life. But from the beginning when I had a very young son and heck, even through a year of battling breast cancer, I somehow managed to complete one or two books per year. Now, I realize my last release was October 2016 which by current writer guidelines is considered quite sad.
I have concluded it is the process – the never-ending demands. I cannot keep up with my personal writing standards and maintain sanity as a wife and mother. The incessant NEED to do something ALL THE TIME is wearing on me.
Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life. Lawrence Kasdan
Whenever I succeed at writing, I am usually failing at something else. This was the case with my non-writer world and because of that, I made the difficult decision to step back from my current work and walk toward myself and my family.
I am learning to let go of some things so I can hold onto something better. Gone are the blogs, podcasts, and seminars. No more strict publishing or marketing schedules. I wish for nothing more than a good idea, the thrill of crafting a new story, and someone to share it with.
But frankly, I worry I cannot do even that.
This is not the first time I questioned whether I could continue. Early on, I wondered if sharing my work was the best route [Why I May Never Self-publish A Book Again]. And when I was diagnosed with cancer [On Hiatus] I truly believed I would never write another book. Yet those and every other moment of personal doubt were proven wrong as the stories and desire kept pulling me back.
Maybe there will not be an obvious sign that it is the end. Sometimes we never know it will be the last time. Sometimes it is just over and done, and there is no grand finale, no goodbye party, and no one to send us off in style.
Sometimes there is nothing to do but appreciate the opportunity and remember the joy.
I am not at the end. Not yet. It simply may be a new beginning. A different phase as a writer – one where I am aware of priorities and protective of time. Because the love – for the words, characters, and process – the love has not left.
Thankfully, writing understands. It is patient. It knows I will be back soon and when I am, all will be right in my little world.
Photo by remi skatulski on Unsplash