It has been a while since I’ve been around fully. Once LCR was in the pipeline to be released, it seemed like a good time to take a month surrounding the release as a break. It was my last chance to visit family and take some serious time out before the rest of the year and all the things I wanted to work on and do. I was planning out my life, not just writing but also just general things. Goals to accomplish and any adventures to go on or projects that were just waiting to be completed.
I also got an interesting couple of questions in emails while on the road and wanted to talk about it. It kind of stuck with me. It was from an author still new to the scene and the whole letter was pretty personal but I wanted to reflect a bit on the very core of the thing.
Two parts in particular that was asked: How do you handle negativity that these days seems to come no matter what action you take? And also, how do you decide what you do as an author, say like deciding what to write and when and how much time to spend on it, etc?
For me, the answer I have for it is pretty simple. I don’t really have time for the negative side because I try to focus most of time time on being productive, happy and doing things that I enjoy doing. I decide to write what makes me happy because that’s where I feel most confident I’ll be satisfied with the results.
Seems easy, right? But it surprises me when some people struggle with this in some way.
Some of us have to do certain jobs because that’s how we survive in life. I bused tables in restaurants and did my share of housekeeping in hotels and all sorts of crazy jobs. Even in those jobs, I made the most of what I could, worked hard, got raises and promotions or moved on to better things when opportunities came up.
With writing, before the indie world, I was doing the same thing. I wrote books that I thought would ‘give me a better job’. I was ready to let go of books to editors and agents who would tell me what was best, what was popular, and write to order basically. That’s usually what happens there, you’re writing something that fits what other people want. And occasionally I still enjoy trying to do that because I find it a challenge and I like a good one.
But being indie opened a whole new world for me. Here was the chance, for once, to write what I loved. I had the opportunity to put it out into the world and if people did like it, they could buy the next one. You get the first one free, you get the previews to see if you want the next one. You can even just get it from Scribd, read them all (or listen to them all!) plus more. Libraries usually have them. Whatever you want to do.
And what a wonderful opportunity it has been! I mean over a dozen books in, I’m still trying to get the details right! 🙂 And I’ve got loads of challenges like every other author faces every single day. It’s the stuff I signed up for trying to do it pretty much solo for the past six or so years (and counting)!
I am very grateful for the chance to be able to say I’m doing what I love, writing the things I love.
But the follow up question always is, what about fans that ask you to write this or that? The answer is, you can. But it depends on what your goals are and what you’re after.
See, I already spent a lot of time doing what other people want me to do. If it was writing for a publisher, they got the chance to tell me what they wanted to see, how to change it, etc. Or if it was a job, they could tell me what to do, take out that trash or tidy that room or be on their schedule.
And if it was about money, then maybe yes, I’d listen to people telling me what to write or how to write it. And I’m not talking like line editing or anything like that. I’m saying the core of your story, what books you write, how long the books are, what goes in them, sex or no sex, this character or not and how they behave, etc.
But then, whose story is it? Not mine. And if I’m going to be working this long and hard at something, wouldn’t I rather do it my own way, if I have that opportunity?
But if you keep it on writing the things you really love, do it the way you really want to do it, it can make a huge difference on everything. You’ll always enjoy it, so when people are being negative, it doesn’t matter. You are enjoying it, no one else has to, and anyone that DOES enjoy it, those people are getting something out of it for themselves, they aren’t reading it for you. But it is great if you’re able to make someone else’s week or weekend reading something they too enjoy and get something out of.
A lot of authors are suffering from burn out and getting severe anxiety from all the pressure from readers (and sometimes other authors) that really doesn’t need to be there. Write this particular genre, release often, be perfect, never complain even when people are threatening you harm or your family harm or whatever else. We’ve had several authors quit and many more just not even come out to share their ideas with the world because of fear from readers and other authors.
But here’s the secret, and I hope other authors, if you need to do this to be happy with what you’re doing, then I hope you’ll do it or find what does work for you.
Write what you love, and make no apologies for it. You can’t customize your book for every reader. And the moment you start trying to do so, the mindset turns from quality life and love that you have pouring into your book, and it turns into ‘what kind of thing can I write will make the most money right now and makes everyone else happy’. And the ‘make everyone else happy’ is totally impossible. Doesn’t really happen.
And if money is important to you personally, okay. Writing might not be the easiest way to make money (it is actually difficult, I don’t recommend for true wealth building), but you can if you’d like.
But it’s just not the life I live. If something’s broken, let me know and I’ll fix it. Site is down, missing commas, forgot to email you back, let me know and I get it fixed when I can. I just don’t dwell on it. I fix it when the problems arise and then try to avoid in the future. That’s pretty much all you can do.
And please, please, please readers or authors, if there is something that’s making you unhappy in your life, someone negative or perhaps someone threatening harm, get away from that. Even if it’s me. If I’m making you unhappy, don’t let me do that to you. 🙂 Go find your happiness, whatever it is.
Things that make ME happy:
- Writing stories I truly love, where ever my imagination takes it.
- Playing video games with friends.
- Spending time with family and friends when I can.
- Enjoying working on fun projects, either for myself or things I share.
- Knowing somewhere in the world, maybe one other person (could be you!) got some enjoyment out of it.
Find the things that make you happy, and do it. Love every moment, because we don’t have that many to experience.
Speaking of which, I’m excited to start getting back into more writing, and also maybe some side projects. I’ll get a bit more into it in the next couple of weeks. I have to get back to planning things out. If you had questions or just wanted to comment, I hope you do. I’m not always on places like Facebook or anything but I am always in my email box. firstname.lastname@example.org if you had anything, or otherwise, don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter. I always just release a newsletter when there is something important coming up like a book or project or something.
Looking forward to all the fun things I can share with anyone who is interested!
By the way, this video below is just one of the very many positive people I follow in my life. Chrome and his pup Disco are awesome. Love that kind of outlook on life in general. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration from that or something else today.