Tuesday, July 29, 2014
despondency and disillusionment
Writing is a lonely endeavor. What I said in my last post is true--we cannot control or know how our writing will be perceived or even if anyone will read our books. This can be very disturbing depending on our mental state at the time and can stop us in our tracks.
If we are constantly checking on our ratings, our reviews, how many books have been purchased or downloaded, we forget why we're writing in the first place. Facebook and Twitter can pull us into it as other authors tweet their 5 star reviews or talk about their successes. I don't begrudge them their success but if I begin to compare myself I can get into a seriously bad mood.
In my yoga class on Sunday the teacher talked about expectations and how they can take us out of the moment and drive us nearly mad. The only thing in our lives we really have control over is our thoughts and our speech, which includes writing. If we think we should sell 20 books on Sunday and we sell none our spirits go down, especially if we've taken steps to make this happen. Why didn't it do better? What's wrong with it? Why doesn't anyone like my writing?? Thinking positive thoughts is not the same as expectations. We set our books free and then visualize someone picking them up and enjoying them--an entirely different approach. Being attached to the outcome is the problem.
On the way home from that yoga class I began to think of my books as children who have grown up and gone out on their own. As a mother I want to remove any obstacles that might get in their way but ultimately they have their own karma now.
Of course that doesn't mean we ignore them. Just as we pay attention to our children, we have to look out for our books. We have to tell people about them as best we can without spending hours each day promoting or boring the heck out of our friends. Each author has to find his or her own tribe. And sometimes this takes a while.
I recently listed one of my books on Story Cartel, a site that brings readers and authors together. The main gist of it is to get people to pay Story Cartel to list his or her books for free in return for an honest review. And the cost is not insignificant. Are reviews really that important? Now that I've uploaded my book and paid them I'll have to wait and see.
All of us experience disillusionment from time to time. The trick is to pull out of it before it takes over. When my husband responded to my complaining by saying, "Well, you could just write and not publish", I looked at him aghast. "No way!" I write because I love to write but I also write because I want my writing to be out in the world. And that psychological piece of it is a subject for another blog.
Thanks for reading and I would love to hear your comments on the subject.