When You Don’t Know You’re Lost

When You Don’t Know You’re Lost

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in News, Publishing, Random, Rant And Ramble, Writing | 14 comments

Since going back to work full-time and trying to adjust to a new routine, surprise, surprise, my writing has suffered even more. However, even though I don’t have the kind of time to write that I used to, I’m doing my best to make it happen with what time I do have. That being said, after such a long hiatus from social media, blogging, and writing, and the general ass-kicking I received from real-life that I let take me away from all of that, my confidence really took a nosedive. That’s something I haven’t experience in a long time, and I wasn’t prepared to handle it.

As I jumped from one project to another, abandoning one story for something new and exciting that might keep me interested, I really didn’t care for anything I would write. And over time as I came back to it, reading it over I thought “It’s okay,” but it’s not a good enough story idea. Once again, I’d find myself starting one of the many other ideas I had saved up in the memory bank, for a short while anyway, until I’d abandon it. Then, rather than starting a new story, I’d go back and try to fix what I didn’t like with the old stories, but I only had a few chapters written in each and couldn’t figure out what the problem was.

After messing around for long enough, I realized the problem was me and my confidence, or lack there of. It wasn’t that what I was writing was bad, or that the ideas didn’t work, I just didn’t think I had it in me anymore. I thought maybe I had written the best I had to offer and there was no point continuing. Yes, you read that right, I actually have considered just letting it all go. This year has been so full of struggle and broken promises I’d made to myself, that I just wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going. At best I figured I’d write here and there just for me, and give up on the entire idea of having a career as an author. Since I hadn’t been online promoting myself, finding new opportunities, and writing new books, my sales  and books rankings tanked. My book’s visibility dropped off the map, I wasn’t generating any new traffic, and naturally everything seemed to be falling apart. What was the point? I thought. I had been doing what I considered to be well. I wrote full-time, response on my stories was for the most part, decent, and I was happy doing what I was doing, so after taking a few months off, it all just disappeared? Really, what is the point of trying then? Pessimist much? Such is life sometimes. If this all sounds kind of wishy-washy or depressing, it’s because that’s exactly how I had been feeling. Everything seemed to be going downhill, and my attitude and outlook went right with it. Any time I thought I’d try to get back to it, I’d write a blog post or a chapter of my new book(s), and then disappear for another few weeks. I couldn’t gain momentum, and part of me didn’t want to. I was done with it.

As I started my new job, I found myself—naturally—getting out of the house more. I was driving every day (a major thought generator for my stories), associating with the likes of adults, versus my constant barrage of diapers and house cleaning,  and as time went on, the real life blockades that had stalled me out, began to break down a little bit at a time. That’s not to say everything is back to normal, but there seems to be a break in the storm, and the little bit of sunshine that peaked through gave me the vitamin D I needed. It showed me the way when I didn’t even realize I had been so lost.

I decided the first problem was that I was jumping back and forth between so many projects. Nothing was really getting any of my attention. So first things first, I nailed down the story I would write and I wouldn’t touch another project until I was finished it. That focus alone allowed me to develop more thoughts, ideas, and plot points for one story than I’d managed in months. With all that came a new kind of excitement for a new story, new problems, and new characters. After that, I reworked the chapters I’d written and decided since my confidence wasn’t where it needed to be, I needed to know I was on the right track. I sent those chapters to a few trusted associates. People I knew would give it to me straight, and their feedback was enlightening. It had me excited for the story again, and not just this story, but writing in general. Although I’m not working on it as much as I would like to be, or even as much as I should be, I am working on it more often than I was. And as it comes along, I find myself wanting to work on it more.

It wasn’t until all of this occurred that I realized just how much my writing is a part of me. It isn’t just something I do, it’s something I live. The stories that I work on come out of me and onto the page like living, breathing, creatures. That may make me sound like some starving artist cliche, but it’s the truth. As life affects me, it affects my stories, to the point of nearly extinguishing my passion for creating them. And unfortunately, I’m the type of person who has trouble separating my emotions. If something makes me sad, angry, or shocked, I feel those things through and through. I’m not the type of person to take my anger out on other people if I’m mad, quite the opposite actually, but when I feel those things, every aspect of me is affected. There is no ‘off’ switch that allows me to jump from one thing to the other. Should there be? Maybe. I’m not sure how other people work. I know how I work, and even sometimes that is a mystery, but acknowledging things is sometimes half the battle, right? Knowing you’re lost is the first step in getting found. After all, if you don’t know you’re lost, you’ll keep on moving, but possibly in the wrong direction.

What I can say is that I have some pretty amazing people in my life who’ve encouraged me through all the downs, and really helped me work my way back to a place where I want to write. I can’t publish a book every few months. Or rather, I won’t. I’d like to have something new for you as a reader as often as possible, but my stories are a part or me in the same way that my heart keeps the rest of me going. They’ll never be perfect, but they’ll be the best I have to offer at the time, and until I feel they’re there, very few people will see them.

It seems like every two months I’m writing a post like this, but as I discover new things or make progress with something that pertains to my writing, I like to keep you posted. So for all those wondering, I’m still alive. I may not be around as often as I’d like, but I’m  here. I’m writing, just in smaller doses than before, and there will be more books, just not as quickly as I’d like. For all of you waiting, without making any promises, I’m aiming my next release at early 2014. For those of you who’re still here reading, and still here waiting, thank you! As the story comes along, I’ll be trying to find some good teasers to share, and until then, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook trying to get back into some semblance of a regular schedule! Don’t be shy! Come on over and say “Hello!”

 

    14 Comments

  1. This is a great post, and I must admit, I’ve been feeling much the same myself, and my writing has definitely taken a back seat. I too have been adjusting to several life changing things, and it seems the writing has suffered. I didn’t want to write the ideas I had, or, like you, was jumping between projects.
    However, I’m happy to say, I seem to be getting it all back, and have forgotten that writing isn’t just for readers, it’s for me, and it’s something I love to do. And I’m happy to hear that you are managing to find yourself a little more back on track!
    You’re a great writer, an amazing author (and friend to many) and though it’s hard to keep that in perspective, believe it’s true! I’m not the only one waiting to read what you have to say next, and will be a supporter for the long haul!

    • Thanks, Avery! I’m happy to hear you’re getting it back. You’re right, the writing isn’t just for readers. I forgot how much it was a part of me and how much I enjoyed doing it too. It’s important not to lose sight of that, but I guess for a while we did! At least we’re getting back on track.

    • Thanks! I can’t wait to share it with you. I’m pretty excited about this book, and it’s something new, so that’s refreshing. I look forward to your thoughts on it 🙂

  2. You sound like you’re in the same boat as me. Or getting out of the boat. Which is good. You are an amazing writer and I’m glad I found your stories and know you. I’m looking forward to whatever is next for you, no matter how long it takes.

    • Thank you, Patricia! I was thrilled to have met you so early in the journey. It’s nice to have friends who understand what happens behind the scenes!

  3. Sorry to hear you’ve had such a hard time. Thanks for sharing your feelings and keeping us in the loop.

    I’m excited to find out what you’re working on, but I’m happy to wait as long as it takes for you to finish something you’re happy with. I’m sure whatever it is it’ll be awesome 🙂

    In the meantime, I love your blog posts almost as much as your books, so keep writing these please!

  4. I am going to admit, this post really tugged at my heart strings. And for a minute there I didn’t want to keep reading it because I was afraid of what it was going to say. But I am so glad I did.

    You are a great writer. I love everything you write, these posts, your stories, EVERYTHING! You have real talent. I am really glad you are not going away because the book world would be incredibly sad without you. I am completely excited to see what you are working on now, because I know it will be great.

    So glad to have you back. Keep your head up!

    • You rock, Danielle! I’m definitely going to be making more of an effort to be writing on the blog more as well. I’m fairly certain we’re all in need of a new Story Time post. It’ll probably have poop in it. Such is my life. LOL!

  5. I agree with Danielle. Your writing is fantastic! I read a lot.. a lot of different writers, primarily in the SFF Genre… I loved your stories, and your voice. I appreciate your style … sincerely I do. I tell everyone about your books, I lend out my Ipad for them to read them, I am a big fan…
    I think authors sometimes underestimate the passion of their readers, but as readers we do understand that it takes time to craft a book worth reading. The characters, the storylines, the drama/action, the world building. We are patient, just remember that. Once I find I like an author I will mark the dates on my calendar for their next book, and wait. Once that book is out, I grab it, then as I read through my current backlog, I read it in turn… or if that author is in my top five (I’m talking to you Matt) it will leapfrog some of my list.. Really, wife, kids family, they all come first.. and we readers understand, well, most of us do. Keep on keepin’ on!

    Mark.

    • Mark! You are awesome. You’ve always been a big supporter, and I appreciate that. Thank you for your kind words, I feel beyond honored to be considered an author you look forward to reading. It makes me even more inspired to keep on writing! Thank you again, it truly means a lot to me. 🙂

  6. Don’t ever let me find out you quit writing. I won’t have it. I struggle a lot myself to stay motivated and I get depressed a lot because time for writing is so scarce, but writers like you and Carissa Andrews keep my head above the water. I see writers struggling and trying to publish and still be a part of their family’s lives and hold a job. When someone like that publishes, it reminds me that there is hope for the working class writers.

    • Thanks, TL! Your words are very much appreciated. There is still hope, even when time is scarce. We make do with what we have available to us and eventually, we get there.

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