Maybe it’s just semantics or false motivation or Jedi mind tricks but I would really like to quit using the word “dream” when it refers to my writing. I’m in this shit. I don’t want to “dream” about being successful at it. I want to make plans, set goals, meet deadlines, MAKE SHIT HAPPEN. Dreams are just some shifting amalgam of ideas that may or may not come to fruition. I’m at the point where I need something more solid than that; which is the reason why I start every year with a set of writing goals.
This year I started off with the goal of publishing four titles. With The Shame in You, A Slant of Light and Everything She Never Wanted now available through most vendors and with Having it Both Ways well on its way, I have achieved that goal and have done it much faster than I initially intended. It’s an exhilarating feeling to look at my goals for the year and see most of them completed. But now comes the inexorable urge to add more things to the list.
Gotta keep busy! Gotta do all of the things! Gotta make an impression on the market! Do the work!
These are the mantras that circle in my head constantly. So much and so often that they ceased to motivate and instead became anxiety inducing. There are days when I feel like everything I want for my writing career is so close, but far away at the same time. Seven months into my new plan and I’ve done all I know how to do to make this thing happen. But here’s a little truth about publishing–be it traditional or independent–this is not a meritocracy. You can write a great book, do the best marketing and make all the right connections and still won’t see your book on a best seller list for several years, if ever.
The only thing you have on your hands is time and talent. It’s a long game. A marathon and not a sprint. And the best advice is to keep writing good books and they will find an audience.
*Sigh* The best advice that I’ve never taken.
The thing is, I don’t feel like I’m putting forth a good effort unless I am being proactive. Somewhere in my brain there is some mythical endpoint. Some place on the timeline where if I haven’t made a success of myself by this date, I might as well hang it up. Because the bottom line is, if I don’t cape from my books no one else will. In Her Closet was rejected by traditional publishers more times than I can count. If I’d taken their advice, The Lust Diaries would’ve never happened.
See how I just justified refusing to accept that good advice?
This wouldn’t be a worry if I wasn’t beginning to fray along the edges. I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about this shit. I’m overcome multiple times a day with an undefined anxiousness that makes me feel antsy followed by a bout of fatigue so strong that I spend most of the weekend sleeping (this is not an exaggeration). A burn out is coming. I can feel it as surely as the electric charge in the air before a storm.
I’ve identified the problem and I’ve also identified that it’s unrealistic to say that I will take a step back from marketing or take a break from writing. That doesn’t help me achieve my goals. So now it’s time to start thinking of ways to deal with this anxiety that will help me achieve my goals.
First things first: I gotta start moving again. I’ve been dealing with a long-term hip injury and I’m pretty sure I’ve put on 12 pounds since last summer. I’m finally at a point where the pain is managed and I hope this means it’s really truly on the on the mend.
Thing two: I’ve already purchased a few copies of my book so I’m going to spend a weekend driving around to the local independent bookstores to see if they will take a few copies.
Thing Three: Find some other artistic outlet. Thinking of taking a watercolor class at a local art school That could be fun.
Thing four: Write, write, write. Try to make this book as good as the others.
The plan is to put one or all of these things into motion for the next 28 days. I’ll tick them off to let you know how it goes!
DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER!