I’m having one of those days. You know it’s bad when you’re Googling, “I just wanna quit my novel.”
Why am I writing? Hell yeah, when I’m already behind on everything and have 2 kids who want to my attention ALL. THE. TIME.
Oh wait, I haven’t been writing much. Posting on Wattpad, ironically, burst my bubble as my brilliant chapters have garnered no more than 60 reads in about a month. Unfortunately, in the time tested tradition of emotionally dramatic writers, it’s sent my confidence plunging south. Now, I recognize logically that this is kind of dumb given that hey, Wattpad is largely colonized (I hear) by emotional YA type of stuff as opposed to the more “classical” style I’m espousing – third person, intricate plotting, lead in, etc.
Rereading my opening chapter on Wattpad did give me enough impetus though to suddenly charge through and edit the first chapter, which I now regard as pretty good. Leaving just the rest of this gloppy mess of a novel…
It’s been a week of no writing and lower spirits owing to a nasty bout of flu that took my family all down like dominoes, one by one. With our usual child care arrangements out the window, our high need older child trying to cope with school anxiety and the small one teething and sneezing on antibiotics for infection, I’ve done nothing on the fiction writing front and am struggling to keep up with the rudiments of my actual paying assignments. Ick.
In fact, writing has fallen off my radar screen, paling beside a) the heap of trash that needs taking out; b) listening to the baby scream when I put her down to shower; c) wondering whether I can scale back work to spend more time with the kids in general; d) gingerly noting that the state of our finances doesn’t really make (c) a good option.
In other words, it’s one of those weeks when I feel – erroneously, I know – that a massive bucket of money would just vastly improve my life; and the corollary, a generally fading sense of confidence in my writing skills having got to just 8 reads on Wattpad and getting no response from my usual beta readers. Really, maybe I am deluded. I know that not only strong writing is necessary but also luck; zeitgeist. Hell, with the latter you don’t even need the former.
Which all makes me wonder: am I just writing on the dream of getting rich?
At this point maturity trumps angst and, a benefit of three plus decades on this good earth, I cut the soliloquy short and move on. I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box right now but at least I can recognize that after a week with the flu and the kids, I’m doing pretty well just to have a clean house and the laundry done, and the writing laurels just need to wait for another day. No more beating on my own back!
Yet another terrific post at Lindsay Buroker’s site, where she interviews a breakout self pubbed author on basic marketing steps:
1. Set up a website for the Author and separately, the Series (if it’s a series)
2. Setting up Author page on Amazon
3. Setting up Author page on Goodreads
4. Kickass cover
5. She waited until she had 3 in the series to release, for a cumulative effect
To read the full post: http://www.lindsayburoker.com/interviews-success-stories/sue-london-amazon-bestseller/comment-page-1/
And then there’s this gem of info on KDP Select, also worth checking out:
Yes, it’s one of those days.
My kids are sick and deadlines are looming, but I know that the thing that has pitched me into writing darkness is this: I posted the first few chapters on Wattpad as an experiments and got no more than 7 reads and 1 comment (admittedly, in 3 days). Which in turn made me realize how hard it is to get traction.
It also makes me wonder whether I have the gumption to keep trying.
But then, the moment I just started thinking about the actual novel and finishing, the sheer calming effect of my practice suddenly kicked in. The horrible cycle of addictively checking my Wattpad stats (hell, the thing doesn’t even earn you money!) and coming up empty handed stopped or at least quieted down.
It’s discomforting to think writing fiction may never earn me money. But maybe, at the end of the day, it’s just my practice. My Zen thing. The way a bird sings, so I should write: freely. Generously. For the love of the schtick.
Some people fantasize about sex. Some people fantasize about being thin, or winning the lottery, or having a great kitchen. For years, my fallback fantasy is that of being a writer – or more precisely, since I am a copywriter and communications consultant by trade, to make a gazillion bucks by writing fiction, quitting my day job, and living in luxury.
Time has fortuitously tempered by expectations, and I’ve adjusted my ambitious from living in luxury to a comfortable living (and even that can be a stretch, I know). I realize that a combination of hard work, zeitgeist, good luck and perseverance is necessary especially if one wants to try the self publishing route – it seems that the most successful authors are virtual machines of productivity.
Hard work doesn’t daunt me; I worked a full time job while nursing and taking care of my daughter, typing at all hours with my baby on the boob to make income. But as I come closer to finishing my first decent novel, I suddenly realized: wow, this has been a marathon. Would I be able to do this – and enjoy this – every day?
In place of the familiar fantasy of freedom and financial comfort, I suddenly think of writing under pressure (something I’m familiar with), but upped: instead of a company profile or annual report, which needs to be incisive and clear but not necessarily creatively inspiring, I imagine trying to pin down that elusive muse under stress and fear that I won’t make enough money to eat and/or that my self pubbed writing career will shortly implode. Ugh. In a moment the golden vision turned to dross.
A quick skim of other writer sites turned up the same issue right up. One woman said that after 10 years of abusing her muse it left and she burned out. I like to eat; I like not to live in fear. Maybe I need to readjust my fantasy and make it more specific.
How’s this for a new vision? A four hour work day concentrating on my fiction with some time for marketing and promotion, with good stable income and the rest of my day to take care of m kids and handle craftsy projects to refresh my muse and spirit.
How about you, any experiences of burnout?
Here’s a short summary of some more book cover designer sites that I’ve found:
1. Another designer of book covers, not the best in my opinion but cheaper than many:
Bookwebs offer three levels of ebook cover design.
– Bronze £50
– Silver £70
– Gold from £200
They also offer custom websites but I don’t think it’s good value — ” Three page starter ‘ebook’ websites from 199 pounds”, with limited space for uploads of stories. Better to go Word Press where you can get a nice website template.
They are basically an e-publisher but have cover design options too, with a nice portfolio!
Basic package at $149
Deluxe package $279
Muuuch nicer visuals!
Another e-book publisher offering cover design, this for $159. Seem less focused on this than BookBaby but the samples covers shown are strong.
Today, as I often do after a stint of intense productivity, I felt stuck. Unmotivated. I’ve been feeling that way for a few days after 2 weeks or so on fire. This is good, as it means I can actually concentrate on real life stuff like laundry, client work, etc. Morale-wise it’s kind of scary though — that tiny voice in the back of my head starts nagging, And you actually think you can finish a decent novel!? LO-SER.
Which put me in mind of a really awesome blog entry title I read once, so awesome I had to Google and find it again:
Ha! In a nutshell, how I (and probably long suffering husband) feel.
As it turns out, that was the title of an entry by Maggie Stievater, which you can find here: http://m-stiefvater.livejournal.com/164942.html. Much more imaginative a title than the title of this entry. With that down, I’m going to stop bashing myself for the night and see if I can do 15 minutes of writing…