Monday, May 27, 2013

Paradigm shift

Ever since I wrote last Thursday's post, I been doing a lot of thinking about my writing career. There's nothing I love more than creating stories from my imagination. It gives me more joy than anything else at this point in my life.

The key phrase in that last sentence is "at this point in my life." As a result of all this recent musing, along with the comments of my authors friends and associates, I've come to the conclusion that I have been putting too much pressure on myself - pressure to be prolific (at least two novels and one short a year). Pressure to make my books available with every profitable retailer. Pressure to promote my books on as many sites as possible. Pressure to do interviews and book features around the Internet. Pressure to post regularly to my blog. Pressure to stay connected with readers on thirty plus Facebook groups. Pressure to retweet for an endless number of Twitter followers. Pressure, pressure, pressure...


At my age, I realize that I can't look at my writing career, or what's left of it, in the same way my colleagues who are in their twenties, thirties and forties do. Neither should I pattern my writing and promotion plans after theirs no matter how successful they are.

I have released and promoted seven books in less than three years, and each one has made a Kindle bestseller list. Next month will be my third anniversary of being an indie author.

All I want to do is write books that my readers love, whether or not they make the Kindle bestseller lists. Since I don't have an author assistant, and still can't financially justify paying one, it looks like I either need to scale back and let things happen as God sees fit or continue trying to do everything myself and face the consequences to my health and sanity. Lately my blood pressure has been out of control. So far, everything the doctor has prescribed has given me some kind of ugly side effect or failed to control the numbers. I also need to lose 50-60 pounds, which is nearly impossible when you sit on your butt 10-12 hours a day and have two bad knees.

I guess all of this boils down to one thing -- I need to be me and stop being concerned about making a certain number of sales every month. Thank God I have a working husband....



14 comments:

Linda Moore Kurth said...

As a sister writer of a certain age, I sure hear you. Trying to keep my life in balance is a continuing challenge. May God guide you in your health and writing decisions.

saraphen said...

Life is too short to be stressed out. At my age, and I'm probably older than you are, I'm learning to take time out for recreation and other pursuits. It refuels my imagination and reduces my blood pressure.

Chicki said...

Thanks for your comments Linda and Sarah! I love writing more than anything, but I've been working much too hard. Seven books in three years...

I'm striving for balance now. :D

Jackie Holness said...

Yes, I am committed to forging my own path...wherever God leads basically...I'm sure you are being led too:)

Adrienne Thompson said...

I hear you, Chicki. Do what's best for you. I was suffering from a lot of the same pressure and I've modified a lot of what I was doing. Determined not to ruin the one thing I love most in the world--writing!

Tiphanie Thomas said...

Chicki, your health is definitely first so you can stay around to do what you love! You are a tireless worker though and that's amazing and big accomplishment to have that many books in three years, but you're right about balance and if you let him, God will definitely lead to you to what's right for you now. Great thing about life is that it's always changing! :)

Tiphanie Thomas said...

Chicki, your health is definitely first so you can stick around to do what you love! That's amazing and a big accomplishment to have 7 books in 3 years, but it's a season for everything and now God might be telling you to something different. If you let him, God will definitely lead you in the right direction for you! :)

PatriciaW said...

I've been telling my soon-to-be high school graduate that he has to begin to carve his own path now, that everyone's path is different even if they have the same end destination in mind. And that's okay. Words to live by...even for myself.

It's difficult not to compare yourself to other authors who seemingly are making strides you wish to make, but with age comes wisdom. You're wise to realize this, step back and do what works best for Chicki. You have much to be proud of.

Chicki said...

Adrienne, Tiphanie and Patricia - I believe the striving is what's worn me out. Since June 2010, I've been striving to make certain sales number and striving to make bestseller lists, and I've done pretty well. Now I just want to chill a little bit and write more. I know I can't cut out the promo altogether, but I want to see what happens if I dial it back a bit and write more for a while.

J.L. Campbell said...

Inspiring post, Chicki. Everything we read tells us that to make it as an author we need to be prolific, which leads to the pressures you speak of. I find that I'm under a LOT of pressure and most of it is self-induced.

Sure, the reader would like to see the next book in the series, but I have to remind myself that it isn't going to get done any faster than the time that's ordained. I also have to tell myself that there's no way I can get as many books out as the next person, not with a full-time job anyway.

You've been a source of guidance and inspiration for me, so follow your inner compass. It's that wisdom that will dictate when you need to step back and do what's right and necessary for you.

Now, I need to take some of this advice too. :)

Lynn Emery said...

There is no way to keep up the promotional frenzy indefinitely. Everyone eventually flames out, and I've watched it repeat with different authors. But when you try to tell them in the midst of the frenzy, well you can guess the reactions. Have a life, and writing will be a joy. Buy into the "frenzy" and joy will slip away eventually IMO. Your emotional and physical health should always come first. Always.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the 'author of a certain age' club, I feel you. I create what works for my writing and my family needs.

Linda Beed

Chicki said...

J.L., Lynn and Linda - Thanks for stopping by. I just posted this comment in one of my FB groups. "The writing isn't the issue. The problem is that I've seen the dramatic difference in sales when I don't promote. Normally I sell a few hundred books every month, this month I sold about 70 copies of all books across all retailers!

I hear people saying writing is more important than promo, and I understand what they mean. But what happens to your sales (money) while you're hidden away writing?

Is it possible to find a balance and still make money?

bettye griffin said...

"Is it possible to find a balance and still make money?"

Yes. Have dozens of books available. If you're not there yet, just spend 10% of your day on promo to help keep things rolling, because the most important thing you can do is create more product. Good luck!