I think a writing career was easier back in the day when none of us expected to be successful.
I read a heartfelt post yesterday by a talented and hardworking author who confessed to feeling like a failure because he hasn't had the success he pictured. I'm not sure what he pictured...being able to support himself at writing fiction? But back in the day, we used to consider ourselves successful if we managed to get published at all. And if someone read us, corresponded with us? Good heavens! We had MADE it.
Now days writers expect to earn a living at writing. Even though all data indicates earnings for writers are dropping (am I the ONLY person in this genre who reads those Author Guild updates?!) people are so certain that earning a living penning fiction is a reasonable expectation, they feel like they have failed when they can't do it.
If you're doing what you love, if your endeavors bring you satisfaction and happiness, you're not a failure.
You know what failing is? Allowing others to define you--and your concept of success. Not making time to do the things that you love and you find meaningful. Neglecting the real live people in your life because you're so focused on this goal of "success."
Anyway. This pressure to succeed is a creativity killer. Not to mention a real downer in my newsfeed.
I'M KIDDING. TRYING TO INTERJECT A LITTLE HUMOR INTO THE FUNEREAL PROCEEDINGS, OKAY?
So. It's been about three weeks since I pulled the plug--No! I'm just postponing, taking a breather--on the last project. And true to my word, I've been focusing on my long-term game plan because, as previously mentioned, cranking out a new book every 90-120 days is not sustainable.
Or rather, not sustainable for me. Your mileage (and readership and earnings) may vary.
I'm in the midst of taking a number of online courses dealing with promotion and blah-blah-blah. No, I shouldn't say that because first of all, I LOVE learning new stuff--and these are all great courses--and I feel kind of accomplished because I'm getting stuff done. Stuff that needed to be dealt with.
What kind of stuff? Well, right now I'm focused on translations and getting more stories into print. Neither of these are big money makers, but as I've said elsewhere, maybe they'll pay for my food stamps in my old age.
Speaking of...well, nothing previously mentioned, but I need a segue... would you like to take an online course from me on writing mysteries? I mean, I'm not Robert Crais or James Patterson, but I know a thing or two about writing mysteries -- for niche and for mainstream publishers...and making a fairly decent living at it. I've got the credentials and I've got plenty of experience in teaching. So...maybe. Is there interest in such an enterprise?
Anyway, that's where I'm at. I'm taking professional development courses and toying with ideas for the future that don't involve me cranking out books like an aspiring data entry clerk trying to beat the clock.
Oh! I finally--how many years has it been--figured out how to use Mailchimp. I have just under two thousand subscribers on my regular list, and that's a nice beginning, but I've started up what I am going to curate as a VIP or premium list. This will have monthly chitter-chatter and more about what's happening in general versus the quarterly updates on what's new to buy. It will have more freebies and giveaways and books for review and that sort of thing.
That list can be joined here. (You'll notice there's a very cool and exclusive giveaway for my VIPS.)
I'm not saying that I won't be returning to social media, but... well, we'll see. If the past few months have proved anything, it's that the big attraction for most of you is very simply the books. The stories. The characters and their journey. And that is exactly the way I want it. The way it should be.
So happy reading! And...I'll be in touch.