Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Year, Bad Start!

So writing wise, this new year is off to a bad start. Not much writing, but a lot of thinking and reflecting back on the time since I self-published Wilderness Heart (WH) in March 2011, and even further back to when I first decided to write fiction books. WH is in ebook format and paperback, and after almost two years on the market, sales of both are about the same, but very dismal.

Looking back over this blog, and seeing no rhyme or reason to my posts or steady entries, it’s time to ask myself if I should keep up with it. Everyone who is a writer says you need a blog, but I find myself overwhelmed with what to post on it. It’s like facing a thesis homework assignment, and writing shouldn’t be like this, should it? Not if you are doing something you love to do. But I did change the layout and color scheme and I think this look is more professional.

So now I ask myself if I am truly writer. Am I a writer if:
~ I don’t write every day?
~ I don’t write a blog entry at least once a week?
~ I switch genres and don’t just stick to the one I started with?
~ I have anxiety as to whether I can write at all?
~ I let life get in the way again?
Yes, I am still a writer, even those things keep me from writing.  Or perhaps, I let them keep me from my writing path. Time for some brutal honesty—with myself, with my writing, with who I am.

A lot of my stories I started over 20 years ago, when I wrote a lot, was a member of RWA and started the Aloha Chapter of RWA in Hawaii in the late 1980s. I attended regular meetings in our writer’s group, enjoyed the critiques, and attended a conference or two. When I first started writing, I was in the Navy then got out, got married, had two kids and moved with my husband who was still in the Navy at the time. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I managed to write anything with two small kids, but I did; unfortunately, I had only finished one book.

Then, as the children got older, and I got back into working fulltime, eventually got a divorce (totally sucked), 9/11 hit (scary shit), jobs were scarce (ended up spending the money from my divorce to live on and on the verge of bankruptcy), I moved a lot (three times), life happened and my writing didn’t. So from about 2000 to about 2009, I didn’t write, but picked it back up again in 2010 while editing my niece’s book. That’s when I also found the world of Facebook, self-publishing and all the other multi-media platforms, and now I am overwhelmed again with just promoting myself and my writing.

All of these promoting platforms are a huge time suck, but a necessary evil if I want to market myself. But honestly, I seem to be only keeping up with them and my writing is suffering again. Everyone who is a writer says I need a backlist of at least three books—that it’s the magic ticket to getting readers and selling more books, and some say it is five books (just starting ten books plus doesn’t help, they have to be completed and published). But with these multi-media platforms to keep track of, my mind off bad reviews (I admit two stars certainly do hurt and I wrote back to the reviewers but they never received what I wrote to them—bad manners and all that), the Amazon review problems, the writing world in the news media (a gazillion links I’m not going to post here—you’ve all read them), self-publishing versus traditional publishing (a gazillion more links and a gazillion books from self-published writers on self-publishing), the indie world of bad books being published (the links are endless on this topic), the flukes like Amanda Hocking and E.L. James (what we all wish would happen to us), and bloggers being cute and snarky trying to sell you their online classes on writing and self-publishing (can you tell by now I read a lot) and life getting in the way, I’m not sure where to go from here.

This year, 2012, I went from working as a technical editor, writer, bookkeeper and research analyst, making the best money I ever have in my life (more than my husband per hour), to having no income at all because I am now an in-home care provider for my 76-year old mother. I also moved from Alaska back to Idaho, and seven months later another move within Idaho (a total of seven moves since 2001). I now have to deal with my husband working in North Dakota and the fact I only get to see him about every 2-3 months for 7-10 days because he works 12 hours days, 6+ days a week. Now that I am not working, I have to rely on him to pay not only his debt, but all of mine, and fund my fulltime writing career—some would call it an ideal writing setup—I get to stay home 24/7 and write. But I don't write when he is here. ;-)

But for some reason I can’t get into writing to finish my 20 year old stories and work on some new ones; I have created more in my mind and have even started some of them, but can’t seem to finish any. I even came up with a sci-fi novel while visiting my husband in ND and I don’t write sci-fi, and I came up with a paranormal novel I don’t read or write in. Anyone want to ghost write for me or partner with me to get all these books written? I might be serious here! Call me.

Stopping this here for now, but please do come back and see what else is going on in my writing.  Interesting stuff and hints at what I am working on.


  1. Hi! I nipped over from Indies Unlimited and I can understand your frustration. I have about six stories and books I need to write and yet I am struggling away with a WIP that isn't going where it should.
    My advice is - take a break from it completely for a while. Don't think about it at all, then write something every day, even if its rubbish.
    You are putting yourself under stress by thinking you should be writing.
    I find this method helps the ideas flood back.
    I hope it works for you.
    Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Carol, and commenting and the advice. Unfortunately, in my situation staying home with my mother 24/7 can get quite boring just watching tv with her from 530am to 9pm, so I have to force myself to do something else or I might go mad! LOL

      Thank you and good luck to you on your WIP. I call it getting stuck and move on to another story until I get stuck :-)

  2. Wow, you certainly had a life. Have you ever thought about using some or part of it for a new book. I'm using part of my romance life in a new fiction book. I'm changing the names to protect "me" lol. I would recommend staying positive and don't pressure yourself to write if you don't want to, but it's a great stress releaser. How about a story that you could write with no publication in mind. YOu know just to see where it goes. Don't pressure yourself to market all the flippin' time. If you are not a blogger type fine. I blog when I want to and I can tell you it's not once a week, but keep your blog in place, it might benefit you in the future if you ever decide to submit to a publisher.

    Changing genres are you? I change them all the time and I market research a lot. Have you ever looked at what books are on the top ten list, not the authors, but the genre. I started with horror, went to a thriller (still unreleased and probably never will be), then I wrote a cozy mystery, which is a huge genre right now. Woman amateur sleuths are huge too, paranormal, HUGE! YOu need to write books you enjoy writing and also ones that a reader would want to read.

    IF you ever need any support, I'll be here for you. I make a good cheerleader just don't ask me to wear the uniform, lol.
    Happy Writing!

  3. Awesome, Madison, thank you so much for stopping by. Love the cheerleading idea, could always use it as I am sure you and all authors could from time to time.

    Yes, I am working on a romance mystery now and a few other genres. Check my next post in a few days, I go into a bit of a list of what I am working on. And my life, yes, all the time I consider writing about it in various books (only those close to me will know for sure :-) And the offer of support goes both ways, just holler.

    Again, Maidson, thank you.

  4. Hi from Indies.

    I felt that way about blogging but then I figured I just do what I liked when I liked.

  5. Hi Dale,
    Thank you for stopping by. I really appreciate it. I guess that is what I did for the past two years, blogged about what I wanted, when I wanted. I thought I might try something different this year, more about my books instead of about me, lol.
    Wish me luck.

  6. Hi Jacqueline, popped over from Indies Unlimited also. I too don't want you to stress about not writing. You don't need any added stress; what you do need is to be kind to yourself.

    I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. Grief can affect us in so many ways, can't it? It wouldn't be surprising if, along with the tiring work of being your mom's live-in caregiver, you are also grieving her loss if she is suffering from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. As someone who works for the Alzheimer Society in British Columbia, I encourage you to connect with the Alzheimer Association in Idaho and see how they can help. They will have more resources at their fingertips than you may know about after searching on your own - resources for your mom and for you.

    With regards to writing, I do hope you will keep at it. For now, put the old stories away (that's my suggestion, not direction!). Try a few brief flash fiction writing challenges. It doesn't have to be anything formal. You obviously have derived great joy from your writing in the past and you deserve to have joy in your life now. If there are a few moments you can eke out in your day, give yourself that time. Any time we manipulate words on a page, we are writing.

    And... if you are still wondering,let me confirm to you: you are a writer. :))

    Wishing you all the best as you go through this journey.

  7. Thank you so much Jo-Anne for stopping by and commenting. It is greatly appreciated. Now that mom and I are settled into a new home and getting reacquainted with her old doctor, once he gets all her records from the town where we were living with my sister and from Alaska where mom was living by herself, I will ask the doctor about her dementia or possible Alzheimer's. Mom calls it CRS and that is ok.

    My husband is on his way to see my for two weeks for his vacation time, it will be nice to be with him...he wasn't able to be here during the service for my brother.

    By the way, I have been to Vancouver twice, once with a friend from England to visit his sister who lives there and then I stopped to see her on my way to Alaska when I moved there in 2002. Beautiful city.

    As for my writing, the other day I outlined the chapters for the two short stories to go with the Alaska romantic murder mysteries so I am proud of that and have a direction to go with them. I do write flash fiction when the picture speaks to me from Indies Unlimited posts they do very Saturday.

    Thank you again for your encouragement.

    All my best to the success of your writing.