Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Relentless Insecure Writer

On our way to Hicklebee's to drop off some books!
It's been a long time since I wrote a post that wasn't solely a promotion for my debut novel which I won't name because it's already in-your-face obnoxious on the right-hand side of this blog. 

I've been in a writing funk.

Cue the violins.

Maybe it's the weather. Unlike a few of my blogger friends across the midwest and east coast, I'm dealing with balmy California sunshine. The kind of weather that makes you venture to your window, fan your sweat-dampened neck, and guzzle ice cold drinks, smiling at the vision of beaches, BBQ, and fun under the sun.

I've had a lot to think about the past couple of months leading up to the launch and the month after. All this marketing and publishing, It's agonizing work. Thrilling and draining all at the same time. I wouldn't have believed the amount of work it took had you personally handed me a detailed list. There's nothing like tackling it all and coming out having survived. It's just the beginning.

And I think that's what scares me the most. 

So instead of writing the next book in the trilogy or finishing the other novel I had intended to release by the end of this year, I'm weighed down by a fog no amount of human strength can dissipate. I can wave my arms around all I want, blow as long and hard as I could, and the fog isn't going anywhere. I'll only end up light-headed and looking like a crazy person. I have a feeling it's something that has to lift on its own.

I read a quote the other day that had me questioning my ambition to be a novelist. Questioning, you ask? Yeah, I still question it all the time. Sure, I've written a book. I've written three, published one, working on another, and have promised to write more. How much more ambition do I need? But it's the fear that maybe that was all I had in me to give: that one book. That maybe I had touched a scorching oven and now have the knowledge of just how 'effing hot it was.

I know. I know. Damn violins again.

But back to the quote, or rather the question that burns above all else.


"Must I write?"

Regardless of the fears, the availing and relentless insecure writer within, I am quite literally unable to stop writing. It may take weeks of a long hiatus, but it's there, it will always be there. As much a part of me as any other part of my body. It's the spiritual extension that tethers me to our creator and to the earth.

I live a fast life, constantly filled with some form of work. Wasted hours make me feel guilty. The guilt builds up and I'm heavy with the burden that refuses to be lifted. That's a part of the problem. I worry too much. And I certainly think too much.

Thankfully, I'm surrounded by a lot of people who love me and won't ever let me forget it. I have nothing to fear of a future that hasn't happened yet nor may never happen. I just have to keep on doing what I enjoy and love most, and let all other things go.

So here's me throwing in the towel. Subjecting to the unused, unproductive hours, and just have fun again.

I've accomplished my dream: published a book that sits on the shelves of many peoples homes, held open in the hands of many readers, and only recently, sits waiting to be sold in an actual bookstore. I suppose what scares me the most is that like any book or movie series the stakes are now higher, the bad guys are scarier, and the inner demons are much more toxic. Things may get more complex from here.


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VS News: We've sold over 150 books! Thank you so much for all your help in spreading the word. Keep on sharing the book with your friends and family. You are seriously my champion!

Events News: We're headed to Lathrop, CA this weekend. Nearby? Stop on over at 6pm, Saturday, May 3rd. We're expecting a big crowd and I can only be grateful to my parents for setting it all up and working so hard to get everyone together. 


VS Reader Spotting!
I have so much writing to do...but I keep getting distracted by pictures of cats...

17 comments:

  1. Anna...can I come join you in your funk? It's lonely sitting all alone in mine. Yep. Same situation here, without the published book. I feel I must write to rid myself of the constant stream of thoughts and stories running through my mind with outstretched arms and scratching the walls with Freddy Krueger fingerblades, but when I get in this kind of funk...well, it's tough to get out. After much inner chaos, I finally break down and write and all is well again. But I've got to get there, first. I've learned to live with it, and think you're doing mighty well on the path you're travelling. :)

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    1. LOL, Michael, you are most welcome to join in a funk. We can have our own funky dance to go along with it. I will likely come to that "breakdown" moment and begin writing again. I can't wait for that moment! Thanks for the encouragement. And I'm glad I'm not alone.

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  2. OMG, I'm with you, Anna! My book came out March 18 and it's exhausting. I've visited bookstores, mailed bookmarks to a ridiculous # of school libraries and libraries, done Goodreads giveaways--you name it. The bookstore visiting is the tough one for me because I'm not comfortable being a salesperson. It's just awkward...walking in and saying, "My book is out. Will you sell it please?" LOL. I tried meeting librarians and they were kind of chilly, so I started just mailing bookmarks and had better luck that way. Then they could contact me if they wanted me to speak and, if not, maybe they'd hand my bookmarks out anyway. I did line up two library visits that way, so it seems mail is the best way to reach librarians and schools! Hang in there...I think as writers, we just want to write. This publicity stuff isn't really natural. The most successful writers are happier behind a computer...most of the ones who get caught up in the "celebrity" of being published don't have long careers.

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    1. Stephanie, thanks for stopping by. And thank you for the encouraging words. :) Sounds like you too have been through the gauntlet! I absolutely admire you and can relate the toughness it takes to break out of our comfort zone and work hard to sell our books. I feel safer trying to pitch it online, but you put me in front of folks and it's a whole other ball game. And great advice. I will definitely send bookmarks/promo cards to libraries if that seems more effective (that's my preference anyhow!). As for those who get into this for the dream of celebrity status, I agree with you that they are certainly in for a surprise.

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  3. What a relatable post, Anna! I live in the middle of Washington state, and unlike the west side, it's pretty dry and sunny most the time. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all supposed to be in the low 80's! It seems like a waste of sunshine to stay inside all day, so maybe I should take my writing outside :)

    I always doubt myself as a writer. I'm easily distracted, and I feel like I waste so much time I could spend writing. Sometimes I wonder if I really love it or I just think I love it. But like you said, it's a part of me, even when I'm in a dry spell. I can only imagine how draining all the publicity stuff has been. I hope you find your writing groove again soon! :)

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    1. Oooh Genissa, sounds like you and I are definitely in the same boat. If you can write outside, that is awesome! Let me know how it goes for you. I've got this "setup" at home that feels the most comfortable. Perhaps I should break out and try writing outside as well.

      Distractions are a nightmare. Have you read the War of Art? It was recommended to me by my cousin and what a hilarious perspective it puts on the concept of Resistance, and the shapes it takes that hold us back from fulfilling our work.

      Thanks for the encouraging words!

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  4. You are my hero.

    Like you, I'm in a bit of a funk as I work through some personal issues. But also like you I don't want to be measured or stressed by being a Writer. With the weather changing, kids graduating and moving on, I think it's time to just relax. Doubt-be-gone!

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    1. Aw Julie. Thank you so much for always finding a way to lift me up. It's been such a tough couple of weeks and I feel a little bruised and battered as if I'd truly gone through a spiritual gauntlet. What a test of faith it's been. But here I am, smiling. The next time will surely be a little easier, now that I have most of what I need, and am much better prepared.

      Sending love and prayers your way, (and mental margarita mixes + bottles of wine). ;)

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  5. I completely hear you on this post! I know how hard it is to take a break, but it sounds like you need a little rest. It really is amazing how much work goes into a release! You're doing amazing!! :)

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    1. Thanks Meradeth! I'm sending positive vibes your way, what with you release this week! :) So proud and excited for you!!

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  6. Congratulations, Anna. I truly admire anyone who's brave enough, confident enough, committed enough to do the whole indie publishing thing and everything that entails! Good for you. And let yourself take that break. Sounds like you earned it!

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    1. Thank you, Ruth! It is such a difficult journey. I'm pretty glad I took it on while being mostly naive to the whole process. I learned a lot, not just about the indie world and the work it takes, but about myself. :)

      I will definitely kick my feet up this week (or however long it might take), and just enjoy the ride!

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  7. I love that pic of you headed to the bookstore, a stack of books in hand. I hope you give yourself permission to relax w/out feeling guilty- I know it's hard to do, but we all have to do it from time to time. You'll know when you're ready to come back! B/c you have more fantastic stories to share w/the world. =)

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    1. Thanks Leandra! :) My boyfriend took the pic without me knowing. Even though I can't see my face, I can picture myself smiling, nearly bouncing as I walk along the street.

      I absolutely agree with you--there are too many stories within me to stay locked away and unwritten. Thanks for the encouraging words!

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  8. I got into a funk as well and decided to delay all publishing until I'm ready. So I get where you're coming from. Take a breath and when you're ready go forth blazing.

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    1. Yes! Definitely wait until you're ready. And trust me when I say, you'll certainly know it. Gut feelings are hardly ever wrong.

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