I scared myself recently. But first I want to take a brief look back.
In light of the fact that I’ve officially been on WordPress for one year (they sent me a happy anniversary notification), I decided to look back on my accomplishments. I looked at the Pros first.
- I managed to stick with something for more than a few months. Yes there were a few weeks where I did no writing but I came back to it. Routine has never been my thing.
- I have 26 followers. (THANK YOU!) Never thought I’d get any and I celebrated every time the counter went up.
- I started the Mother Project, which means I had to get over my biggest fear and put my writing out there for public consumption. (And my Mother’s.)
- I explored myself as a writer and learned a bit more about how I work.
- I discovered many people on here that I enjoy reading and have enriched my experiences as a writer and human being.
Those are like, the TOP 5 but I had to admit I struggled to even get those down. It’s because artists are their own worst critics and in our esteemed opinion, we are never good enough. Trying to shine a good light on our work is difficult.
So I looked at these 5 and sighed. I felt my shoulders droop a little. That’s all? This is what I accomplished in a year? I was hoping I’d be farther along by now. Have more comments, more likes, more interactions. I felt like a shy violet in the shadow of the mighty oaks that came before me. I had to do more. That much was for damn sure. My minimal effort wasn’t enough.
Okay. Okay! I can do this. Let’s find out what it takes! We’ve been at this a year. Let’s take another swim with the sharks.
It was this mind-set that had me venturing into the great gaping Maw that is “Publishing” again.
WordPress has a terrific number of articles about publishing. There are editors here that can give you the skinny on what they want from writers, marketers that tell of their experiences in the industry, authors and bloggers that have been through it, and are still going through it. It’s a great resource. However; with every click, my eyes grew bigger and bigger. My eyebrows lifted into my hairline and I had to bite my cheek to keep my jaw from unhinging.
Apparently, according to the general consensus of the Publishing Maw, a writer could no longer be humble and mediocre. They couldn’t be shy and meek and grateful for being considered. No. Writers had to be Pushers. They had to push themselves to go beyond their borders and push their audience and push issues. They had to be EXTRAORDINARY and STAND OUT and BE ORIGINAL. (Mind you, there is no originality left in the world so go figure.) The market is so saturated with fiction now that editors and agents have to reject almost everything that’s been done before. Vampires? Meh, been over done. Zombies? Soooo over it. Teenagers with special powers? Something else for god’s sake!
So right out of the gate, writers have to spin gold out of the moldy over-used straw that has been used before them. Then, once you’ve edited this snarl of straw into a semblance of a “good” novel you have to go out and promote it. YOU, the author, have to come out of your cave and start a social media account and promote yourself. You have to get people to review your novel. Get beta readers, hire an editor to polish up your novel and then pitch it to agencies. Most won’t even look at it unless you have a platform of followers over 5K. Then you wait months and months for your rejection letter.
…….Why the hell am I doing this again? WHY do I want to be a writer? It’s goddamned impossible!
I felt the Maw start to close over my head, sinking me into darkness. I scrambled out and ran for the safety of Netflix, ice cream and a fluffy blanket. Now here I am on the morning of my anniversary. I’m mad at myself for not doing more, for not knowing more and being farther along than I am. I don’t know where to go or which direction to branch out in. What more can I do? I was more lost than a wee lamb in a snow storm and I’m ready to table flip this shit and quit.
But then an interview came into my mind that I listened to recently from Dr. Joseph Suglia, author of Table 41. A very eloquent and intelligent man with a writing voice that makes the imagination fly on colored wings. I’m making my way through Table 41 now. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever read. At the end of the interview he was conducting, he said one thing that I had forgotten on this journey:
“Write for yourself.”
And there it was.
The clean gust of fresh air to clear all the smog surrounding me.
Yes, I really would like to make decent money writing and doing something that I love to do. But if I’m not enough without the money, how am I going to handle trying to be enough with it? There is still a lot I have to learn before I’m ready to research publishing as of yet so I’m going to stay far faaarrrr away from that shark pool. I’m going to continue, one foot in front of the other, on this simple road I’m cultivating for myself. So here’s a list of goals I’m going to try to achieve for this next year:
- Read more diverse genres of novels (I tend to stick to young adult and fantasy since that’s what I aim to write)
- Write more diverse articles. Push myself to write about the things that scare me, or scare others. Confront issues head on.
- Join a writing group. I enjoy discussing books and writing with others and I could really use some constructive criticism on my writing.
- Add another day of the week to publish on WordPress. Maybe start promoting the books I’ve read or high-lighting a great article and discussing it. Never hurts to give other writers a nod of respect. Plus, sharing is caring 🙂
- I’m going to leave this one BLANK. Always room for improvement.
So what started out as a debilitating and dismal day has turned into something a little more hopeful. You’ll probably never read this blog post Joseph, but I wanted to say thank you for the reminder anyway. I’m grateful I’m still on this path, even though I wanted to quit many times. It’s taught me a lot and I know the journey will teach me even more. I’ll try to be ready.