I don’t think anybody could ever accuse me of not being generally open and honest about what I think and feel about stuff on my blog. I am, most of the time, wholly myself (if slightly edited for profanity and anything that might be offensive or potentially damaging to my career). This is, I think, the appeal to those of you who are my regular readers, who actually bother to come back day after day to see what I’m blathering on about. I let it all hang out, so to speak. I talk about the good, the bad, and today I want to talk about the scary.
I am, in many circles, held up as a success. I do All The Things. I work full time (and then some). I eat healthy. I exercise. I have an agent. I self published and have sold well. I had a book nominated for the freaking DABWAHA awards (the ONLY self pubbed book in the mix).
And y’all? There are still days I feel like a total failure.
Those days when I make the EGREGIOUS (wonderful word, that) error of not keeping my eyes on my own paper. See, I know that there will always be someone further ahead of me in the publishing journey. There will always be someone more successful than me. And 99% of the time, I’m good at ignoring that in relation to me because I am continually working on my goals.
One of those goals is still pursuing traditional publishing. I admit it. I still want to land an amazing contract with the Big Six. And the book I’m working on now may be my ticket exactly to that. Which is all well and good. In a perfect world, I would be able to put out something to shop traditional and something to self pub in a year.
I get daily reminders that we do not live in a perfect world.
I’m sitting here halfway through DOTH (which I feel is, hands down, the best thing I’ve ever done), noting that we are past the halfway point of the year. I’ll certainly finish it before the end of the year, but there is a strong chance I won’t finish it early enough to knock out and release a self pub project. Which would mean no new releases in 2012. At all.
And that is freaking me out.
It’s not a money thing. Given the full time + employment, the inevitable slow-down in sales is not a crippling thing (I just need to curb my gourmet food budget and book buying some). But I live in abject terror that all the momentum I built, the fanbase I’ve worked to create–will forget me.
I fully realize how illogical this is.
I write well, and I’ve been blessed that a lot of people have liked my books. When I release a new one, they will find it. It may not be in the first week or month, but they’ll hear about it. And they will buy it, and things will start all over again.
But knowing something with one’s rational brain and feeling it are two entirely different things.
I don’t like writing from a place of fear. I don’t like doing anything from a place of fear (except perhaps running from the zombies, but I think fear is wholly appropriate under those circumstances), so when I get into this toxic mode of thinking, it just flat pisses me off. And it’s mostly pure, blind, mule-headed stubbornness that pulls me out. And copious amounts of chocolate. And all of you, my wonderful, glorious friends who remind me of what I did right (and of all the people who are actually doing worse than me to give me some perspective).
So, there you have it. Super Woman totally does get afraid of stuff sometimes. And that right there just might be headline news. 😀
You do need to keep your eyes on your own lane as the old running and Army training cliche goes but just for perspective I have two work in progress that I have no ending for and a finish novel that has been rejected a dozen times. Your example is an encouragement to me. As is the way you have cared for Daisy
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have SOME fear. And this whole thing can be scary sometimes, especially if you eventually want it to be your full time job. I see self-pubbed authors like Ruth Ann Nordin doing well and making a living from it, and I wonder if that will ever be me. I’m generally not scared of much when it comes to writing (yeah, I know you and Susan have talked about that), but this recent slow down in sales is actually scaring me a little. I’m used to buying lots of STUFF with my book money. I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s across the board right now.
If you don’t publish anything in 2012, no one is going to beat you with a stick. Except YOU. I know you’ve worked so hard on DOTH. There have been things that have slowed you down, like moving and Daisy, but these are just real life things that happen. DOTH may be the novel that puts your on the trad publishers’ radar. And it may be worth NOT putting anything self-pubbed out in 2012 to work on something that might be the start of a serious career. We are all rooting for you, regardless of whether you publish this year or not. Writing and publishing is an ongoing thing and you’ve got plenty of time, Lord willing, to do this. We all wish you the best of luck, Kait.
I try and remember that fear is a warning, something that is supposed to let us know we are in danger and not an emotion- it doesn’t always help, but sometimes it helps me separate what I’m feeling out.
I definitely have those moments esp. as a newbie author. It’s hard to be joyful for your friends when you want to be where they are. But we need to follow our own path, and live our own journey.
I’m trying to think of something wise to say, or something that would perk you up…but I got nothin’. I’m in the fear boat myself! Let’s keep paddling though. Who knows where we might end up.
I love your honesty. I just found your blog through facebook and the link from Writing/Publishing. I’m a new blogger, and love the dream of publishing a book someday, somewhere, somehow. So it’s good to hear how the journey looks and feels from someone who’s a little farther down the road. Thanks for being real. And for using my favorite word, “blathering”. 🙂
I keep hearing this message that these days you must write 1, 2, 3, 12 books a year to stay in the eye of your readership! For myself, I couldn’t tell you how often some of my favorite authors churn out books. I just keep my antenna up and wait for the next one to come down the pike. In the meantime, I read other authors. So while I’d love to read something of yours in 2012, I think I and a lot of other readers will still be around when you release next year or whenever.
It has been fascinating to me to learn that most writers, no matter where they are on this path–newbies or published or bestsellers–have fears about measuring up. Thank goodness we have community to hand us our big-girl panties and tell us to “keep movin’, you’re doing great!” Thanks for your honesty, Kait! You are an inspiration in many ways.
I will offer something that has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with being. Every time I recognize that I’m operating from or out of fear, I ask myself some variation of this question: “who is worrying or who is upset?” The answer is always my ego, and as I am one who no longer travels down ego’s road, I leave that detour and return to my path, the one with the wider view. Overall, I am less pissed off these days and enjoy more options.
Fine post, Kait.
Great post, Kait. All I can tell you is what I tell my pals (BREATHE!) and what our therapist told Hubby and I the first night were were in his office (filling out a survey): Hey…Stay in your own document!
Kait, I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet you. I understand what it’s like to be on your own and wondering if the work you’re doing will sustain you and be recognized as the gift you hope to offer the world around you. As for the fear, if you’re never afraid you are not truly alive. Without darkness, we could not appreciate the beauty of light. And without light we would never appreciate the refuge of darkness. It’s cyclical and human. It’s all we’ve got.
Because you shared this, that’s why you’re Superwoman! I heart you bunches and will get your book whenever it comes out! Just keep writing and being the amazing, honest, and genuine person you are!
WE ALL DO FEAR SOMETHING. THAT’S NORMAL BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN. IT’S JUST THAT SOMETIMES THAT FEAR COULD MAKE AS ANXIOUS AND COULD GET OUR ATTENTION FROM WHAT WE ARE DOING. WELL, GOOD LUCK TO YOU. THAT’S A CHALLENGE! 🙂
I absolutely hear you on the “I haven’t published anything in 2012!” fear. It’s an obsessive compulsive thing. It’s illogical, but you just feel ANXIOUS about it.
Part of it, though, is how we’ve trained ourselves to keep our noses to the grind-stone. We convince ourselves that having lots of things finished and publishing it NOW is critical to our success… because that keeps us from screwing around and spending too much time promoting and not enough time writing.
And the thought of losing our audience while we get something done…. as artists we are starved for feedback because we do our work alone in the dark. And when we get feedback it’s addicting, and hard deal with when it waxes and wanes – as it naturally does.
All I can say is, if they drift away, they’ll be back.
Thank you for sharing this, Kait. You mention not keeping your eyes on your own page… I feel like that’s exactly how I felt earlier this week. While the writing community of ROW80, MyWANA, amwriting, and others are great, sometimes they can depress me when I see post after post on how people are moving past me. It was actually what plagued me on Tuesday and kept me from writing. It’s a sad thing.
I’m so glad that those I look up to (yup, that’s you!) can have those days as well. It makes me feel… more like a person? But anyway. Don’t rush DOTH to get it out before the end of the year… if you do, you might regret it.
Great post, Kait. But you know, I love reading about your organization and your accomplishments. It just speaks to the list-maker in me. Lefties rule!