This is an entry I’ve been meaning to write for a while.
A few weeks ago, I hit a bit of a block. I’d been reading fanfiction (I’ve never really stopped – it’s free to read but finding good stories is another thing), struggling to get a few of my own works done (original and fanfiction), and the story I was reading, the author kept commenting on how she was struggling some with the story. Not necessarily with the flow or even the desire to produce and publish, but with the plot itself.
Now, there is more to the story than what I’ve just related – there usually is – but here’s the main thing I want to discuss: I remembered to take the pressure to publish off of my shoulders.
There is always a desire to produce something when it comes to writing. Good or bad, we just want to get it down and out of the way. It’s true of any writer. We start writing, we start publishing and posting where others can find it, and the reactions we receive help to feed us. Sometimesin the way of ideas and inspiration, but usually in the desire to continue to writing, to continue producing. That’s when it happens: the pressure of writing something good, something people will eat up, love, and enjoy bears down on us, and it starts to affect our ability to write. Each writer usually handles this in a different way. Some become frantic, wanting to get more out there to keep people interested, while others happily dive into the next chapter and a separate project at the same time. Every author is different.
For me, it was coming down to I haven’t sold anything in a month, and I’m panicking because I still want people to know that I’m out there, that I’m still writing. I’d forgotten one important thing, the entire reason why I started to write (and publish) in the first place.
I forgot how much I just love to write. I’d started to put so much pressure on my shoulders to produce to publish that I was sucking the joy out of writing the projects I’ve mentioned. As a self-published author, I don’t have a publishing company backing me. I didn’t receive an advance of $5000 to get that first story published (and, even if I had, that money would be gone already). Promoting the stories currently published falls on me. Garnering interest in my stories is on me. Everything about this career is on me, and that includes the ability to keep writing/producing and publishing. Given I was working full time not that long ago on a day shift and recently relocated to a new location, the demand of producing, well, it became a little more intense.
But the interaction with this other author (done mostly in private) reminded me that, in some ways, I’m filling a very small niche in an otherwise huge pond. Not only as a fanfiction author but as a fiction author as well. After a few slidebacks early on in the fanfiction “career” (namely jumping on a bandwagon of “I only read this pairing”, “I don’t really like this characters”, “I want to read smutty stuff”, etc . . .), I’d decided to get back to filling the niches I so loved. I went back to writing stories that focused more on plot and character development rather than riding a trend. I went to “smaller” fandoms and just wrote. I remembered what it was like to love writing again.
Now, the pressure to publish is never going to leave. The pressure to promote is never going to leave, either, no matter how much some days I just don’t want to do it. That comes as part of the territory of an independent author. But I can at lease ease enough of the pressure to publish off of my shoulders as much as I can because the flipside is my stories will suffer. And if there’s anything I truly dislike about publishing, it’s putting something out there that I wouldn’t want to read from another person, let alone myself.
But that’s also the bonus to being an independent author. I can take that pressure off, for a while, focus on writing the stories and polishing them, promoting in the process, and going about it the way that I see fit over what others tell me they think is fit.
So, if you find yourself in a slump, stumped, blocked by that nightmare they call writer’s block because you’re frantic about publishing and soon, just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re doing this because you want to write, to publish and be out there like that and not because anyone else does.
At the end of the day, if you’ve produced crap for your readers, something that they didn’t enjoy as much as the first chapter/previous work, you may very well be very hardpressed to keep some of them.
Be kind to yourself. Write the story you want to read with all of the love in your heart for the story, and you will love yoursel for it.
Writing update: Sigyn’s Flowers is undergoing some ending edits. I’m not one usually for short stories so ending them with a closed ending is a bit hard. I’m also now on the fence about the current plans to publish the end of May, mid-June, due to some of the events in the story itself. There is a cover for the story, courtesy of my younger sister, and it will be published at some point. The question remains of when.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out my currently published original fiction – Portal to Gaming (Arc of Fantasy 1), The King and Queen of Wands, and The Sons of Thor (Arc of Fantasy 2) – on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Elise-K.-Rasha/e/B00MQF33K6. NOOK sales are currently suspended while I run a trial by being back in Kindle Select.
Have a lovely Wednesday!