Monday, October 24, 2016

A Writer's Anniversary

Today is an anniversary of sorts. It's been six years since I became a published author. During the past 2190+ days I've experienced a number of exciting firsts and achievements. I've made connections with wonderful people and made online friends who have enhanced my life. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum I've weathered a number of storms. One in particular (think hurricane rather than downpour) nearly broke my spirit and resolve and if not for a supportive and select group of authors in the same predicament I may not have survived at all.

Yet here I am. Stronger. Wiser. And admittedly far more cynical and wary.  

Prior to the storm I faithfully followed the expert's advice of what a newbie author should do. I got a website. Joined Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. I organized blog tours with other authors and wrote countless blog posts. (Not here. Elsewhere.) Social media networking and marketing became the norm and this new, fascinating yet frenzied online activity consumed my days and nights. 

While I was busy doing all of these things I neglected my actual writing. Three years in I realized I'd lost the joy of writing and felt like a fraud. How can I claim to be a writer if I don't write? Reclaiming the joy of writing has and continues to be a struggle. 

Therein lies the problem.

This week I took a long hard look at my writing career. The statistics from both a creative and financial standpoint are telling. You've heard of the proverbial starving artist? That's me. In more ways than one.

Disgusted and demoralized I made a snap decision to quit. Retire. Vacate the building. Stop writing. Period.

In truth the idea has been lurking around in the recesses of my brain for months. Ages have passed since my last unicorn under the rainbow sighting. I could no longer ignore this truth. I did not have the strength or stamina to paste a smile on my face and pretend all is well in my make-believe world. 

But here's the rub. 

My retirement lasted less than 24 hours. All night my mind swirled as I fought the greatest internal battle a writer will ever face. I cannot stop writing! It's mandatory. Necessary. As essential as breathing oxygen. And guess what? I don't want to quit. Writing is what I do. 

Even when I'm not writing, I'm a writer. It's who am I.

Which brings me back to my writer's anniversary. Yes, it's been six years since I became a published author, but I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I've always had a pen in my hand. 

This blog is a testament to that truth. I AM a writer. To the very being of my core. It's who I am. What I do. Writing defines me.

And so, I made the decision to begin anew. Fresh. Renewed. 

This new blog is and will be different. For starters it will be less rather than more. Forget the hype and bling. I've never been comfortable with either. Still, I can't help but fret it's so far removed from what one would expect of an author that I continue to have second thoughts and wonder why I'm contemplating doing this.

If anything this blog is a release valve. It's a "proper" blog in the true sense of the word and if I end up being its only reader, well, that's okay too. I need a place to record my thoughts, my feelings and all the nonsense that's swirling around inside my head.

Join me. If you like. Or not.

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  1. Oh my gifted friend! I am so pleased you are still taking up the pen. Writing is in your very soul and am so relieved you are being true to yourself. Even in this 'new' blog. I feel you have turned a corner and the path in front of you is no longer uphill but a winding straightaway that will take you and your readers to wondrous places. And I can't wait!!

  2. Pat, your friendship, trust, encouragement, our 4-hour breakfasts and yes, even the odd glass of wine have and will always continue to move me forward. Hugs and thank you!

  3. Anne,
    I could've written this post. Seriously. There are days that I WISH I could walk away from writing but, like you, I AM a writer. It's who I am, it's what I do.
    Whenever I start to feel that way, I need to stop and remind myself that the "writing" isn't the problem. It's my expectations that get in the way. I "expect" to sell more books than I do and, when sales are virtually non-existent, I start to wonder if I'm wasting my time. There are so many books out there for readers to choose from and promotion doesn't seem to work sometimes. Very frustrating!
    All that aside, it's the writing that matters. I'll never stop writing. No matter what!

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you wish you could walk away from writing but can't. Unless one suffers from this same obsession/infection/curse (whatever you want to call it) they don't understand how much of a roller coaster ride the writing life can be.

  4. Anne, I couldn't have said it better. I think many of us can relate to your post. I'm so glad to hear you're back to writing. You have a talent that shouldn't be wasted.

    I wish I could give you some sage advice, but I've been through it, too, along with following the advice that never seemed to help.

    We do what we can and hope for the best. I hope one day, when you're in the mood, you'll do a guest blog on my site. You can write about anything that pleases you.

    May the ideas and inspirations keep you writing.