Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why writing is more than writing...

I had a bad day yesterday on the business-front.  Actually, it was the culmination of several bad days over the past few weeks.  Last night's disappointment was the final straw that put me over the edge, leaving me to wonder for the katrillionth time why I've willingly chosen this business.  It wasn't a life-long ambition of mine to become an author; in fact, it's fairly recent.  But I love creating stories, and I bought in to the theory that if you love what you do, the rest will come.  Yeah, right!

It's not about the writing.  For a change, my writing is going extremely well.  I LOVE my current WIP, and I'm eager to start on the (currently) six other titles waiting in the wings.  No, this is about the other stuff; the stuff indie authors have to deal with.  Yes, yes; I know.  I'm the one always saying that authors are authors and we shouldn't differentiate.  I wholeheartedly believe that's true - when it comes to our books.  But there is a difference on the business side, and that's where I'm struggling.

Now, this isn't a bitch session about the indie scene (though a few choice words crossed my lips last night).  And as mentioned above, I chose to become indie.  I could do what thousands of other authors have done and submit my works to publishing houses on the hopes they'll like my work enough to represent me.  I understand that's an option.  To be honest, I like the autonomy of being indie.  I like choosing my own deadlines - which I rarely meet - and picking the title, and designing the covers.  Plus, having representation from a publisher doesn't guarantee best-sellerdom.  There are hundreds (if not more) of talented authors out there, backed by publishing houses, who've never seen a best-seller's list.

No, this is about the stuff I'm not good at, and I'm brave enough to say I'm not good at it.  Making smart decisions.  Oh, okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's how I feel in the moment.  I look around at my peers (I'm not comparing myself to them.  Honest!) and I take note of what they're accomplishing, and, more importantly, how they're accomplishing it, and I try the same tactic.  And it fails.  So that leaves me wondering, is it me?  Am I the common denominator?  Am I just not cut out for this? Or is it the aged-old adage - one I've quoted myself from time to time - that we all walk different paths and their journey isn't mine?

Trouble is, even when I change paths, they converge to the same one I've been traveling my entire life.  The path of not knowing what the hell I'm doing.  Of making the wrong choices.  Of losing faith in my decisions.  I thought growing older meant growing wiser.  Maybe it means being wise enough to know when to quit.

Okay, this is turning into a pity party post, and that's not what I'm about.  I'll find a way - somehow - though the specifics escape me at the moment.  Nothing worthwhile is easy, right?

If there's one thing I don't doubt, it's the support of my fellow indies.  We all face these why-in-the-hell-am-I-putting-myself-through-this moments and it's the faith and encouragement from those who have been there that gets us through.  And, for that, I'm eternally grateful.  No one gets this like other indies!!

So, where now?  I wish I knew.  As my husband tells me, "keep writing".  And I will.  I love it too much to quit.  I guess I'll figure the rest out as I go along, and maybe, just maybe, one of these days the sky will open up in front of me and I'll see I'm where I was meant to be all along.

Or maybe not...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Looking back...and forward...

Four years ago today, I made a decision that changed my life. I sat down at my computer and began writing Here to Stay. I knew nothing about being an author - some days, I feel like I still don't - but I had a story to tell and decided the time had come to tell it. Encouraged 1000% by my husband - no, that's not a typo; I'm overwhelmed by how much he believes in what I'm doing - I published it, and started on the next, then the next, and the next.

Four years later, I've published eleven books (twelve, if you count the story that's currently in an anthology) and I have no desire to slow down. There are so many stories occupying my brain that I wonder if I'll ever have time to write them all. Probably not; for as one is born on the page, three others take its place in my mind. And that's okay. It gives me a reason to push on when I doubt myself, when I think I'm wasting my time, when I think I'll never be further along than I am in this moment.

Do I seek fame and fortune? Yeah; maybe a little. It'd be cool to have hundreds of thousands of readers eagerly anticipating the release of the next Kristine Raymond book. It would be fabulous to rake in enough royalties so that I could support our household and offer my husband the chance to pursue his dreams. But is that all I seek? No. Not even close.

Mostly, what I want is to make someone smile when they read a funny line in one of my stories, to touch them emotionally, to offer them an invitation into another world. I think Toni Morrison said it best - “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” That's what I do. I write the books I'd want to read. They may not be what's trending, but they're mine, and I do believe, when the time is right, they'll find their audience.

In the meantime, I keep writing; doing what I started four years ago, and will continue to do as long as I'm able. While I can't honestly say that each moment of the process is pure joy, I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

Much love,