Back on March 22nd, I read a blog post by author Rachelle Ayala,(click here for post) regarding what she learned after four years of being a self published writer. It’s a great article, so I nudge you to go read it.
She hits four basic points about being a writer, traditional or indie, and the one that hit home for me was point four, “You Can’t Keep Up with the Jones.”
I have been heard to say I’m not competitive. Of course, it’s hard to hear me over my Knight’s strangely re-occuring coughing fits, but I’ll share a little secret with you. I am competitive. Not in many areas, but when it comes to my writing, it’s on like Donkey Kong.
Now, I don’t go out and challenge authors to a duel or anything, instead I find myself talking to my writer-self. “Two books a year? You’re falling behind, girl. What are you doing taking a shower? Get yo’ ass in a chair and start another book. You want to make it, you’re going to give me three books a year. Do you hear me?” (Yep, I’ve morphed into a screaming drill sergeant during this rant).
So, imagine how grateful I was when Rachelle said in her post,
“Even if you are one of the superstars of 2014, you are one book away from oblivion. Yes. That’s true, IF you are comparing yourself to others. There’s always going to be that book about space vampires steampunk BDSM billionaires that’s going to surprise the world and blow up your carefully crafted series with the bazillion brothers, sisters, cousins, and the entire state of Virginia family saga for the #1 position. It came from nowhere! And you, my goodness, you slaved and slaved for twenty hours a day, you wrote your fingers to the bone, and you can barely open your eyes and drag yourself to your laptop one minute longer, and blammo. That book beat yours! You’ve lost the brass ring, the lucky charm, the golden crown. You’re a HAS-BEEN!!! Ahhhh… kill me now!”
Because, sometimes you need to hear the truth. You really are one book away from oblivion. Doesn’t matter where you rank today, you have to keep writing, at your own pace, because true craft takes full fledged committment, not a teeth-gritting “I’m going to win” attitude.
It gets better. TOUCHED BY FATE, the second book in the PSY-IV Teams, is now in my brillant editor’s hands, and my type-A personality means I am now scheduled to start the next Kyn book in May. Maybe. Because, like every writer, I am afflicted with new ideas, ideas I want to explore. Unfortunately my “scheduled” writing makes me worry about taking that time to follow through.
Sigh. You’d think I’d have learned by now, but no, because I’m ON. A. SCHEDULE.
But…there’s this idea digging in, and it’s not letting go. It’s a story, and the only weapons I have as a writer are stories, my stories.
My schedule may have to be adjusted.
I leave you with another of Rachelle’s pearls of wisdom:
“What writer doesn’t want to be read? Everyone wants recognition or a pat on the back or even someone to scream, “I hated your characters. Kill them off.” Who wants to yell into a vacuum? I mean, if a book is unread, does it mean it doesn’t exist? So do what you have to get discovered. Write lots of books, hang out, socialize, and take feedback. Then let it go. You can only affect how well you can be discovered, not whether you’ll be read.
*raising a mug of coffee* Here, here, Rachelle.
*Rachelle Ayala’s post can be found here: http://www.rachelleayala.com/2015/03/what-i-learned-after-four-years-of.html