It’s been a while since the last time I blogged. Been busy. On top of that, I didn’t feel like I had anything important to blog about, so I didn’t waste your precious reading time.
So what’s happened in the past six-ish weeks? Got to enjoy watching the Red Sox win the World Series at Fenway (go, Sox!), finished drafting Aigis 3 and now it’s being test read, two 5-day free eBook promos went out and about 23k free downloads took place in that space of time, my writing career started to take off, and then the friggin’ government shutdown dragged my book sales down with it. Now I’m back at square one and at a loss for what to do next, besides keep writing, keep trying.
What both my publisher and I thought were two highly successful promos turned into disheartening flops. It put me in a funk that I’m fighting every day, trying to not let dominate my moods and actions. Right now I’m scraping the bottom of the bucket for a crumb of hope. I’m in a state of not knowing why I exist or if I have a purpose. No matter how hard I try, my efforts keep adding up to nothing much, but what’s kept me going is the positive reviews I get now and then on amazon.com, the friend requests for my author ego on FB, and the enthusiasm I receive from said fans.
I have fans. It’s a cool feeling. I’m someone to people I’ve never met. I’ve given them stories they really enjoyed and they look forward to more. This has helped me live day to day, enjoy each step of the journey, and let the destination arrive as it will. A lot of stress goes poof when you live that way. You worry about nothing and simply enjoy the moment. I’d finally achieved that, but then it slipped away as my hopes for my writing dissolved with declining sales. *sigh*
Back on Halloween, I partook in something called “trunk-or-treat”, where everyone in town parks in a lot and the adjoining streets, decorates their cars, and hands out candy to all the kids. It was loads of fun–a bit awkward at first, too, since people would often overlook me. I had no car, until my roomie finally got home. I’d stood in a parking spot with my bowl of candy and a very hyper Springer Spaniel trying to beat the kids to the candy. On top of that, I’d bought a French maid costume I was thankful I didn’t wear. There were tons of kids and, quite frankly, I didn’t need my rear and chest hanging out in front of so many innocent eyes.
Anyway, I made a friend towards the end of the night. Some kid sitting in front of the car next to mine (Simon and my Prius joined us around 6:30) who ended up handing out his own bag of Halloween candy because there were so many kids. I was floored when I heard that. He had to be no older than 12. I’d never heard of someone so young giving up candy like that. At the same time, other kids his age were making several laps around the place, collecting more and more free confections. I ended up chatting with his mom for well over an hour, along with making him cinnamon rolls from scratch and a pumpkin cheesecake in case I overcooked the rolls.
It turns out, the mom knows fellow Indy authors who are doing well. This conversation led me to the realization that the universe was once again connecting me with people I needed to meet. Today, I finally geared up the courage to approach the people the mother suggested I talk to. Here’s to hoping this is the lifeline I needed to keep going.
The Ten-Year Trilogy
Yep, ten years later, I finally complete my first-ever trilogy. I finished the first book when I was 18, this sorry excuse for writing that had something redeemable at its core. I started writing the second book soon after. I’d originally thought this would be a two-book story, but three chapters gave me pause and I put the story on hold as college life unfolded. Years later, I returned to the three chapters and decompressed them into an entire book, thus expanding the story to a trilogy. In 2012, I started drafting book 3, but I put it on hold to write To Ocean’s End since Aigis 1 wasn’t doing too hot. Back in October I plowed through drafting Aigis 3, banging out 350 pages that month. Technically you’d have to double that figure, since I handwrite each chapter before typing it up. So 700 pages in a month. That’s about 22.5 pages a day. No wonder I had to take four days off and do nothing but play video games, read, and watch some TV and movies.
I’m still feeling a bit fried, so I’m just editing for the rest of the month while I wait and find out what revising needs to be done for Aigis 3. On top of that, I have two separate trilogies I wish to tackle next, along with several Aigis-related book ideas I’m putting on hold until further notice. As much as I love this cast of characters and their stories, I have to set them aside and try new material, until I strike a chord with the world.
Apparently there are such things as “fake jobs.” Some people get this silly notion that, even though a real employee is carrying out real tasks before an unbeliever’s eyes, the job is still fake. Back when I worked at Barnes & Noble, someone said, “I have a real job” to one of my managers. I don’t remember the conversation verbatim, or how the statement came about, but I remember the miffed and hurt expression on my manager’s face and the empathy I felt for him. How is running a bookstore not a real job?
Recently, a friend of mine posted a picture of a credit card receipt on FB. On the tip line it read, “get a real job.” Uh, waiting tables isn’t a real job either? How do you expect to enjoy a night out of people cooking and bringing food to a table for you? I’ve done my fair share of waiting tables and I make a point to be pleasant and easy to wait on, along with tip well. I’m thankful for those who give me the opportunity to take a break from cooking now and then.
Bearing all that in mind, I’ve dealt with a number of people who don’t think writing is any more than a hobby. People jokingly ask me what my real/day job is when I tell them I’m a writer. This has been going on for years, so I know to anticipate it to the point where I simply tell people I work from home. Recently, I told someone I’ve known for a long time that I’ve been working hard, only to hear this person say, “You found a job?!”
That cut right to the heart. I don’t remember much of the conversation after that since I was absorbing the unintended blow. I clarified that I’d been working hard on my writing, and the actual conversation never got committed to memory while I faced the truth that all my hard work on my books wasn’t seen as real work, a real job. Becoming a full-time author was a conscious choice, a big gamble. In all honesty, it was no bigger a gamble than slogging through some job-hunting site while slowly losing my mind because 99% of the jobs you apply to don’t even acknowledge you wasted an hour filling out their application.
I have no regrets pertaining to the path I’ve chosen. I’m a writer through and through. This is my calling. It’s real as real gets.