So it's fall and all of my writing goals that were supposed to be hit in this season of color and falling leaves has sort of gone by the wayside. I've been in a major funk, mostly because the books I was excited to write in the spring are not exactly sparking a fire under me.
I was attributing this to to the fact that in the whole wide world, no one seems to be buying and reading my books in the last several months. I've been looking at my monthly sales and saying to myself, "why do I even bother?"
And so I haven't bothered.
And then recently I was trolling the internet for fun images to add to my website and I ran across some beautiful thoughts from Stephen King. I read this one one the left here first and it dawned on me that he's right.
When I started writing back when I was a young teen, I wasn't thinking about making money or any of that. I was a desperately lonely kid who needed something to fill the hours left empty by a lack of a solid social life. Also, I wanted to create a place where I controlled how the adults behaved and people actually liked me. I hated all of my classes in high school, most of them at least, and writing was the way I was able to escape the world of the completely mundane and painfully boring.
College was a bit more fun for me, and far busier. I mean, there were whole evenings devoted to seeing if I could fit into one of the driers in the dormitory. (I could back then.) But still, I managed to major in English and had more than one class that required me to tap into my creative side.
Marriage and young children filled my world for a few years and I set writing aside, but never completely let it go. I found myself joining a writer's group through my local park and recreation department and that's when, finally, I started to think of writing as a profession rather than some beautiful dream or funky hobby. (I mean, it's a really terribly hobby if you think about it. People who do counted cross stitch or woodworking can do it can do it while being social. They have something to hang on a wall and say, "This is what I do in my spare time." And unpublished author can't exactly hand a pile of paper to someone and say, "This is my novel." There have been whole stand up routines dedicated to how weird writers are when they have an unpublished novel.)
So I started writing as a career and I had dreams of book signings and sales and making a career of this writing things. And I birthed six books and a novella and I have worlds of stories rolling around in my head. But I'm finding I'm not exactly filling the coffers with cash, and so for the last several months I've all but given up writing. I mean, if people aren't buying my books, why should I write them?
And I've been horribly, wildly, desperately unhappy.
I've been a Stephen King fan since the day I read his book "On Writing" which is one part autobiography, one part a how to book on breaking into the writing world. It's awesome and everyone should read it. So as I was trolling the internet for fun images, I found some amazing sound bites from Stephen King and I realized what was wrong with me.
I'd forgotten why I started writing in the first place.
I didn't get into writing to be a world famous author. Oh sure, every writer dreams of that day when we have lines of people waiting us and tell us how our books changed their lives. But writers don't get into it for the money or the fame. We get into writing because we have stories to tell, worlds to build, characters to birth, and we need to get all of this out onto paper or into a flash drive because if we don't, parts of us die bit by bit, day by day.
So I found snippets of wisdom from Stephen King that inspired me, lit a fire under me, and basically slapped me in the face and woke me up. I write to tell stories and to entertain. If people read what I've written and liked it, I'm thrilled. But first and foremost I need to write for my own mental health.
And authors, writers, we can't fear the stories inside us. Recently, as I finished the final draft for my newest novel, A Hero's Spark, I kept asking myself the question, "How wicked is too wicked for my villain? Where's the boundary?" Believe me, I pushed the boundary in that book as far as I could because the evil in that character was very real, and very horrifying.
I do have to laugh because sometimes I get feedback from people who aren't all that worried about my feelings. I work with a lady who read Lies in Chance and HATED the ending. HATED it. And since we work together, she does find the ocassional opportunity to remind me how she hated the ending because, well, it wasn't sewn up in a neat little package. Sometimes we bicker about it because our real jobs are sort of stupid and we'd rather bicker about my book. But in thinking about the ending for that book I realized recently I have another book waiting to be written. And that's why that ending wasn't a neatly sewn up package. Now I have a writing project and the prospect of it all gives me joy.
So thank you, Mr. King. Thank you for reminding me why we write. Sure, getting paid is great. But writing for the sheer joy of writing...that's what keeps me healthy.
Friends, it's Friday. I would suggest you head on over to my amazon page or find me on Barnes and Noble or just hit my website and buy one or all of my books and read them. I've worked very hard to tell interesting, exciting, romantic stories that will keep you entertained until the end. But you know what? If you don't, that's okay, too. Because writing makes me happy, and I'm going to keep doing it and I'm going to keep sharing it. Someday maybe I'll be famous, but for right now, this is enough for me.
One that note, I will tell you I'm going to be taking some time off of blogging. Those of you who read this blog know that I take part in the National Novel Writing Month every November, and this year I'm going to start early and see if I can't actually write a book and get it released between now and Christmas. So if I'm not around for a while, that's what I'm doing, stay tuned!
Good things are coming!