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June 2015

What If I’ve Already Written My Best Book?

This is a fear I have often. Daily, if I’m being honest. Am I alone? Please, for the love of chocolate, tell me I’m not alone. Lie to me if you have to…

I get asked a lot what my favorite book is that I’ve written and—thus far—my answer is always Caged in Winter. Why? Well, for lots of reasons. I love the characters—they’re, to me, the most complex I’ve written. I love the prose—again, to me, it’s been my most lyrical. Even though I spent the shortest amount of time with that book and those characters as I have anything else I’ve written, I feel like I know them best. I feel like it’s more a part of me than any other book.

Fotolia_48164774_Subscription_Monthly_XL_jpgIt was my first full-length novel, one that came to me in a flood of thoughts and rushed out of me like a waterfall. It is also, apparently, the book of my heart. I didn’t think it was at the time I wrote it—at the time, I just basically vomited out this story that demanded to be told. I’ve heard many authors talk about the books of their heart, and I didn’t think I had one, yet I continually come back to CiW when asked my favorite.

The problem I’m facing now, seven books into this journey, is…what if I’ve already written my best work? What if everything else I’ve done or will do pales in comparison?

And the thing is, logically, I know that’s not true. I know that with each book, I grow a little more as a writer. I learn how to better create and mold characters. How to create tension and smooth a plot arc and increase emotional investment. Besides that, I have readers who’ve loved each of my books more than any of the others—some of them are Caged in Winter, but, interestingly enough, most are not.

Years ago, when I was a professional photographer, I went to a workshop held by someone I highly admired in the field. She went through our portfolios and gave us feedback on them. When she was going through mine, it was quiet murmurs of appreciation interspersed with head nods and smiles. Until she came to one picture—a personal favorite—and that head nod turned into a head tilt. That murmur of appreciation turned into a, “Huh.” She asked me what the deal was with that picture, because, apparently, it didn’t go with the rest of my work. The answer? It was of my son. I had a personal attachment of the picture, and thus held it in higher regard than other pieces, even if they were “better” in the eyes of others.

Perhaps that’s where I am with holding all my other work up against my first. It was the book that got me an agent. The one that got me my first publishing deal with a big five publisher. The book that got me in bookstores. So I wonder if my viewpoint of it is tainted somehow? If I’m seeing it through rose colored glasses?

The point of this post? I don’t even know, man. This is something I’ve been struggling with for a while, and, honestly, that whole last paragraph? Totally just came to me as I was writing this. It makes sense, though. Readers, agents, industry professionals see your work with fresh eyes and a new perspective. When we, as writers, look at our work, we see the trials and tribulations. The late nights and early mornings. The writes and rewrites and edits and deletions. We can never see just the sum of all the parts. Can never only focus on the project as a whole. We only see what it took to get us there.

What about you? Do you have a book you think everything else you write should be held against? Something that everything else pales in comparison to?

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Man Candy Monday: Magic Mike Edition

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Tuesday night I’ll be at an advanced screening of Magic Mike XXL, complete with free popcorn and drinks (both of the soda and adult variety), raffle baskets and goody bags. At first, I wasn’t telling anyone I was invited. When asked if I was going to see the movie, I dithered and giggled. Then I remembered the dozens of well-written, enlightening articles I’ve read on female sexuality, the female gaze, and our media and society’s struggle to accept them. Society might prefer that I be bashful about wanting to go see Matt Bomer shake his booty…but I ain’t gonna. I won’t pretend I’m not excited to see Twitch groove to some Dub Step with his shirt off, because I am super excited. I can’t wait to see this movie!

Admittedly, the story line for the first was fairly dark given the first thirty minutes of the film, but I liked it. The characters’ arcs interested me, and I enjoyed all the pretty men dancing around in Speedos. I have no idea what will happen in XXL, but I do know Matt Bomer will be there looking gorgeous, Channing Tatum is going to roll his abs and dance his ass off, and Twitch will be there with his phenomenal hip hop moves, making me want to sign up for a class. So, if you’re waiting on me to be embarrassed about enjoying these movies (or good looking guys who can shake their groove thing) – keep waiting. 😉

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I have feelings about this gif. Complex, complicated feelings.

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Writing Your Way

I was fairly new to writing when I made a serious mistake. I wish someone had warned me of the long fall and ravine of doubt that mistake would cause. If possible, I’d like to save new writers from this. So today, fine people, I’m telling you:

Don’t let anyone – ANYONE – tell you how you have to write.

Now, I’m not talking about all of the elements required in a story (conflict, motivation, arcs, etc.). Those are all things you need for effective story-telling. I’m talking about the actual process of putting words onto screen or paper. The act of writing.

I’ve been to workshops that suggested tips on the process. Operative words here are suggested and tips. All to help a fellow writer out. These workshops are awesome. But I’ve also been to those that insist if you don’t use a particular method, then you’re wrong. I’ve even heard, if you don’t write a certain way, then you aren’t (and I quote), a real writer.

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Today, I know enough to roll my eyes and ignore their editorial, but back then I bought it.

For me, it was planning and plotting a story. I tried to become this detailed plotter, with a ten page long plot outline and notebook full of charts, graphs, forms and character descriptions. I’m not exaggerating. And if that’s your jam and it works for you, by all means, GET IT. It did not work for me. I ended up with a notebook full of what felt like homework and no desire to write.

Some people love software programs and gadgets, others love note cards, and it works for them. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! There are writers out there who will say you need to have a dedicated writing space and iPod full of ambient sounds in order to write well. Guess what? If you don’t have that option, and have to write sitting on the end of the sofa with Amazing World of Gumball as your background noise, then you get used to it. Some writers hit 5,000 words a day, 6 days a week. Others write less than 1,00 words, maybe 3 days a week. Both ways will get you to The End. We all write under different circumstances, with different processes and rituals. Don’t ever feel like you have to do it someone else’s way.

I suggest you go to the workshops, listen to the ideas, and cherry pick the methods that speak to you. Try them out. Occasionally, you’ll find something that opens your writing up in tremendous ways. But if what the workshop suggests makes you want to beat the wall with your keyboard, you don’t have to do it.

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There is no ONE way. In fact, I don’t know any two writers who write the same way.

Even my fellow plotsing buddy and I differ greatly. We both start with fairly basic plots (I did realize I need to plot a little more, just not notebook length plotting), but then I Vin Diesel the hell out of my first draft. Fast. Furious. Heavy on the forward momentum and UNF, touching on the deeper themes and heavier emotions, that I’ll go back and expand upon later. My friend is a more intentional drafter, requiring a lighter second pass on her manuscript that may take a few days.

My second pass takes about three weeks.

This would drive some writers bonkers. Their way works for them, this way works for me. The ways to write are as diverse as the world around us, and diversity is awesome! So while it may take time, only you can decide the best way for you to write.

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How to Deal When Writing is a Slog

If anyone ever tells you that writing gets easier once you’ve sold a book, please picture me laughing hysterically. Even though I worked hard for a long time to get my first sale and I’m thankful for my career, it’s not always easy. When the writing feels like a slog and you keep looking at the calendar, freaking out about the looming deadline, you can wonder why you ever picked this career. You’re convinced every word you put on the page is complete garbage and you’re only typing them because they’re bringing you closer to your required word count. You worry that your editor is going to read the finished product and think you wrote the entire thing while smoking crack.

run-647054_1280Why yes I do have a deadline in 18 days and lots of words left to write. How did you know? Despite the fact that I have a detailed synopsis, for some reason this book is like trying to swim through mud. Often during the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself highly stressed because I wasn’t getting more words written each day. I am not one to miss a deadline and often get books in early (yeah, I was that kid in school), so I can get stressed if I’m cutting it too close. It’s hard to stay sane. It’s hard to not doubt myself. It’s hard to not at least wonder if any talent I had for writing books has been spent already.

But I recognize that these thoughts and self-inflicted stress are not helping me actually accomplish the task that has to be completed. So here are some tips I try to remind myself of each day to get through a difficult writing journey.

1. At the end of the day, even if I didn’t write the 20 pages I wanted, remind myself that I’m closer to the end goal than I was when I started the day.

2. Recognize that some parts of the book are going to be more difficult to write and go slower and that I can make up time in other parts that come more easily.

3. Do whatever I need to in order to entice myself to write pages. This may be that I get to get up and check social media or my e-mail for 10 minutes after every page I write. Or I get to watch a recorded segment of TV between commercials. Getting started each day is the hardest part, so yesterday I told myself I had to sit with my laptop for one hour and sprint write. One, this made me want to see how much I could accomplish in an hour. I also posted on Facebook what I was doing at the beginning of the hour and said I’d report back my progress at the end of the hour. Also, my reward for sitting there writing for a solid hour = banana pudding! And the fact that it got me rolling toward an eventual 17 pages for the day. When I’m really struggling, I switch up the plan each day — whatever I have to do to get pages written.

4. Change up when I write each day. Because I’m fortunate enough to write full-time, I can make my own daily schedule. Some days I’m more productive if I write first thing. Others, my brain just isn’t ready yet, so I run errands, do household tasks, go thrifting, whatever, then write at night. Again, whatever works.

physiotherapy-567021_12805. Have a big reward in store for when I meet the deadline. This time around, my reward for finishing and for for selling the three books that include this one is to be able to book an hour-long massage. My stressed into knots muscles are going to need it.

I think part of my problem this time around is the stress of a tight deadline combined with the fact that for several months I basically wasn’t writing much as I recovered from my broken wrist and dealt with the never-ending house renovations. The writing part of my brain had atrophied, and it’s taken me a while to get it back into writing form again. My hope is that through this slog I’m strengthening that part of my brain and the next book won’t be so hard.

Here’s hoping you all are having lovely writing days full of easy pages.

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Sanity? We Don’t Need No Stinking Sanity

As you’ve probably noticed, our blog theme for the last few weeks has been how to hang on to your sanity while writing. Perhaps you’re worried that it’s already too late for that and you have, in fact, gone round the bend.

When you’re a writer, the line between “normal behavior” and “crazypants bonkers” is often thin and hard to discern.

My family constantly jokes about me being nuts. I asked my son, “How will you know if I finally snap?” Him (in accusing tone): “When I find you staring at me with a knife in your hand.” Me: “For the last time, I was unloading the dishwasher! Quit trying to make it sound sinister.” My husband: “Yeah. Can’t imagine where he gets that overactive imagination.”

Overactive imagination, while problematic when I’m convinced there’s a monster under the bed at two in the morning, is a key qualification of the job. So are other quirks that might seem odd to non-writers.

Is it okay to hear voices in your head? If you’re a writer, it’s practically a requirement! I’ve got anywhere from twelve to twenty characters living in my brain right now, and it is LOUD in there. (Now, if the voices are telling you to sacrifice livestock in bizarre rituals or start your book with thirty-six pages of backstory infodump, it’s time to seek professional help.)

Is it perfectly normal to cry over the problems in fictional people’s lives…even when you not only created the problems but gleefully plotted them out? I vote yes. My husband might disagree, but this isn’t his blog post so he doesn’t get a vote.

Does it mean you’ve snapped if you find yourself thinking up ways to commit the perfect murder? Not if you’re writing a book with a suspense element. (Although I would say that actually meeting with a hit man, even in the name of research, is a bad idea.)

What about becoming a reclusive hermit with questionable hygiene? Is it a definitive sign of mental instability if you spend more time with your imaginary friends than your real friends? Nah, it could just be a sign that you’re on deadline. Finish your book, then rejoin the human race and thank your loved ones for their patience. (But first, for the love of all that’s good and pure, take a shower.)

“Normal” for writers just isn’t the same as normal for….well, normal people. But perhaps our talent lies in our ability to see the world a little differently, monsters under the bed and all. Fill your life with people who understand—or at least embrace—your particular brand of crazy and don’t be afraid to give sanity the day off.

** Tanya Michaels is not actually a mental health doctor. She only plays one online.

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Perspective

I don’t have a magic answer that anyone hasn’t already posted on how to keep emotions in check in this business. Mostly because I still haven’t mastered it.

If you’re like me, you started out as a nervous wreck trying to write the best novel you could. Polishing it until (you thought) it shone. And wishing on every twinkling star in this galaxy–and the next–that you’d be published someday.

The negativity rolls in. The negative thoughts inside your own head. The negative reviews.

A few days ago, my first book was released into the world via Netgalley. Like any new author, I looked at the initial reviews. And (of course), I saw a bad review. Actually, I scoured for a bad review. I skipped every good review just to get to a bad one. And then I got upset. I whined. I vented.

Then I stopped and put it in perspective. I’m fricking whining about a book review…while hundreds of thousands of people watch loved ones die of horrible diseases every day. Children go missing every day. People starve every day. Some kind of natural disaster or freak accident devastates an area every dy. People live with war and violence in the streets every day.

And I sit here in my warm home, getting ready to drive my perfectly healthy kids to school in my dependable car, getting depressed over someone’s opinion of my book.

Now, I’m not saying authors don’t have the right to wallow for a few, but we have the privilege of getting over it. And I know I took negativity to the extreme in my examples, but the truth is, a bad review is nothing compared to what some people are going through every day.

So my advice, as depressing as my delivery was, is to keep things in Perspective. Keep working hard. Keep doing what you love to do. Keep learning your craft. Don’t focus on the negative, because, honestly, in the grand scheme of life, it doesn’t matter.

Make your kids giggle. Snuggle your pets. Go see your 89 year old grandpa (oh, that’s me). Be positive. Be kind. Brush it off. You deserve it.

Sophia Henry writes Heartfelt Flirty Fiction featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. DELAYED PENALTY and POWER PLAY, the first two books in the Pilots Hockey series from Random House Flirt, are available now at all major e-book retailers.

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What Sanity?

I’m sorry. I’m still laughing hysterically at the idea I would be able to tell anyone how to maintain sanity in the face of this writing thing we do.

No, really. I need to take another minute. While I’m tamping down those last giggles, you can read this post from Chuck Wendig on why writers are crazy. Well, if you don’t mind salty language–and we already know I don’t–then you can read Wendig on why writers are nucking futs. I’ll wait.

Seriously, the only way I know to handle this is to not take myself too. . . seriously. I never think of myself as the “next best thing.” I think of myself as an author who worked hard to create the right opportunity to get a book published. Beyond that, the world owes me nothing. I look at the size of my To Be Read pile, and I realize that anyone who reads my book instead of the billions of others out there is doing me a HUGE favor.

Another mistake I see comes from authors who do someone a favor expecting something in return. Nope. If I tweet about your book, it’s because I liked your book. If I bring you a bottle of water, it’s because you looked thirsty. If I ask you if you want to get coffee, it’s because I think you’re a good conversationalist. I don’t do things in the hope you’ll someday reciprocate. If I need help, I’ll ask. If you say no, then that’s cool, too. Expecting people to read minds is sheer insanity.

Speaking of mind reading, I’m gonna have a “Do as I say…” moment here. I remember hearing Suzanne Brockmann speak on a book called The Four Agreements. One of those agreements was to not make assumptions. Oh my gosh, I am the worst! So-and-so hates me! Or so-and-so is mad at me! As if the elusive so-and-so has that kind of time. I may have to look up that book and read it as a reminder to not make myself crazy with things I don’t even know to be true.

Lastly, the hubs has this thing about priorities. In other words, family comes first. Then friends. Then writing. Then the other stuff. He is so much better at this than I am. I mean, yesterday I spent most of my day on GRW stuff. Did I get any writing done? No. Did I finish this blog post in a timely manner? No. Did I get supper fixed for my family? Uh, no. Obviously, I need to work on my priorities.

Speaking of those priorities, I guess I’d better get back to writing, yes? Good luck in the quest for staying sane. Um, don’t do what I do?

 

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Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Subtitled:  Staying Sane as a Debut Author

Having to follow Jeanette’s moving and truthful post is tough! (See I’m comparing myself right there *slaps wrist*) But, seriously if you haven’t read it hit the link above.

I settled on a topic that’s relevant for me as my first book was published this year. I imagine every book has its own challenges, but your debut book is a special breed.

Not only is it the first time you’re sending your words out for the masses to read, but it’s an unknown. Expectations are sometimes far from reality. I pinged a special group of women for input—the Golden Heart class of 2014, the Dreamweavers. If you’re every lucky enough to final in the Golden Heart, you come to understand these other women are kind of like your graduating class. All of you finaled as unpublished authors, but a huge percentage go on to publish. Several of us have published our first books since the Golden Heart last year, and many, many more are scheduled to publish within the next year. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Do not stalk Goodreads for reviews – This was especially difficult for me as my book hit NetGalley six weeks or so before my release date. You veer from elation to despair depending on what the reviewer thought. And, as many times as you tell yourself, it’s out of my hands or I know not everyone will love it. It stinks when someone actually, really doesn’t like it. I’d liken Goodreads to a form of torture.

Am I doing better as I approach my next release? Actually, I am. I’m not following my own advice to stay completely off Goodreads, but neither am I taking any reviews personally (yet).

2. Do not follow your Amazon ranking like a stock price – I poached this advice from my GH sister Julie Mulhern who heard it on an RWA conference recording. Amazon is crazy, y’all. Rankings change hourly, and with the introduction of Amazon Unlimited, can jump around like a rabbit on crack.

I pretty much fail at this too. I don’t check as obsessively as I did when my book first released, but I do check for trends, especially if I’m trying some new promo.Freaking-out

3. Temper your expectations — Unless you’re an anomaly, you are not going to be a bestseller. You will not be in Amazon’s top 100 or even 1000. Heck, you’ll be doing great to crack the 10,000. My expectations were too high, and when I didn’t reach them, it messed with my head in a very negative way. I started to doubt myself. My productivity went down. I was distracted and unhappy and anxious when I should have been celebrating a release. Of course, I want my book to do well, but I’m entering my second release with more realistic expectations.

This is where other writers can really support you. They can pat you on the back and tell you what you’re feeling is normal. If all else fails, take a step back from your computer. As Lenora Bell advises, go soak up the sun and remember there is life beyond writing. In fact, life will feed your writing.

4. Publicity is never-ending – This can be terrifying or comforting depending on where you fall. Especially for a debut book, you can feel a little like a lost chick looking for someone to herd you along. Your publisher may be very supportive (setting up reviews/blog tours, etc.) or not at all, leaving you to hire a town yeoman to announce your book release.

The positive here is realizing that not everything hinges on having the most fantabulous release day ever. You can book blog tour a month or year later. Like my GH sister Nan Dixon says, a sale is a sale no matter when it happens.

5. Do not compare yourself to other writers — This was mentioned by two other awesome writers, Erika Kelly and Amy Patrick. And several of the BadGirlz mentioned this in their blog posts this cycle. It’s hard to put on your blinkers and focus on your path. Your path is not going to be like anyone else’s path, but if you keep to your path and put one foot in front of another, I truly believe you’ll reach the goals you set for yourself. And, those goals will different for every other writer.

So what can you do to make your debut a success? If you write a great book and put it out there, it will find readers. Will it be the day or month or even year you release it? Maybe not…maybe readers will find that book after you release your third or fourth or tenth book. The key to making your debut a success is to make sure your debut is not your only book. So…Quit focusing on your debut and go write the next book!!

11 Comments

Accepting Love And Support

As a writer and as a person, I struggle a lot with my own perception of myself. Recently, I’ve been particularly down about my career and my life. I don’t write fast enough, I waste too much time, I’m not as skinny as I used to be, I keep turning back to these bad habits I should have kicked by now. That nagging voice in the back of my head repeats my flaws over and over on an infinite loop, and sometimes it gets almost impossible to tune it all out.

Worse, sometimes it gets really hard to see how anybody else can see past all my failings. Why on earth do my friends put up with me? Why does my husband still look at me like I’m the girl he fell in love with? How can he brag about my accomplishments to his co-workers? How can he forgive that pile of dirty dishes when I didn’t even hit my word count today?

It’s poisonous. It’s toxic. And sometimes, it’s just how my brain is. I feel like I don’t deserve love and support.

Sadly, I don’t have any magic prescription for fixing this kind of negative thinking.

What I do have is a moment.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband convinced me to take a night off. We did our usual scrolling through our Netflix queue and stumbled upon Chef, which has been on my list for a while now.

cheffatherandsonIf you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s the story of a celebrated chef whose life has kind of come off the rails. He’s recently separated, he’s in a stifling position, career-wise, and he ends up losing his job after a total meltdown. In his despair about the mess he’s gotten himself into, he tries to get out of spending time with his son. He basically tells the child’s mother that he can’t have the kid seeing him while he’s such a disaster.

In the meantime, the kid’s disappointment is all over his face. For the entire movie, all he’s asked for is the chance to spend time with his dad, and he doesn’t seem to care what they do together. He wants to follow his father to the farmer’s market, to the restaurant where he works. Anywhere. Forget that Mom’s house is beautiful and Dad’s apartment is a hole. He doesn’t care.

And as my heart bled for this boy, I found myself talking at the screen, trying to tell the guy to get over himself. Your kid doesn’t care if you think you’re a failure. He adores you. He just wants to spend time with you.

And my husband put his hand on my knee.

I don’t even think he knew what he was doing, but all of a sudden, the world came into sharp focus.

We write fiction for a reason, and one of those reasons is that it has the power to change people’s minds and people’s lives—it can change their entire perspective.

This particular piece of fiction helped shape mine.

I’m not going to pretend that all my many, many psychological issues were instantly cured. But in that one moment, I remembered that the people in our life don’t love us for what we can accomplish or what we can do. They just love us. They just want to spend time with us.

Love isn’t always something you earn. Support isn’t always something you deserve.

Sometimes, all there is for you to do is to accept it. Let it buoy you up. Let it remind you that you’re worth loving no matter how bad your day is going or how frustrated you are.

And try to be there for the people you love in return.

22 Comments

The Happy Place, and There Is No Race

In keeping with the theme of safeguarding one’s sanity while working (or aspiring to work) as a writer, I want to share two things that keep me going.

1. The Happy (writing) Place:

I’m lucky in this aspect, because my happy place feeds directly into my writing. I recharge by connecting with surroundings I love, whether it’s a natural one like the beach, or simply a room decorated in a way that makes me happy. Creatively, I’m really into settings and details, and since I began writing, those settings have always fallen under the umbrella of Happy Places. So going out, say, on a boat, or to a mid-century hotel on the beach, not only feeds my soul, but it feeds my writing, too, by putting me physically close to the place I’m trying to convey. It’s equal parts relaxation, research, and make-believe. I can just “be” in a place like that, and let my mind ruminate on a plot or detail–or, I just take another sip of my drink. I’m very zen that way 🙂 If I can’t make an actual getaway, I find my happy place on my patio at home, or in my little writing nook, surrounded by pictures that spark my imagination (which I blogged about before and totally need to post pics of the finished space, btw).

Now, your mileage may vary if you write dark. If your story world is a bleak post-apocalyptic landscape or a creepy dungeon, this may not work for you. Unless a dungeon is your happy place, then yeah, go for it. Not judging!

 

2. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

This was the single thing thing that has driven me crazy over the past few years of my writing career. When I first started, I wrote fast. My speed came from a combination of enthusiasm, ignorance of craft, and ass loads of free time. And I wanted to get that puppy done, man! Out there and earning me some fat stacks! Then, Hubby and I decided to start a family, and a little thing called Life happened. And I’m not gonna lie, I struggled. While I was pregnant, I felt frantic at the time ticking away while my brain was in a fog. The baby came. My friends around me started getting published. Instead of focusing on the joy of a new chapter of life, I was beating myself up over how slowly the chapters on paper were coming. I was a rock in a fast-moving stream and my critique partners and all the other writers in the internet world were silver fish passing me by. I almost quit.

But slowly, I found my feet again, and my (rusty) creativity returned. I told myself, do a little bit a day. Do what you can. Slow and steady wins the race. Sure, but does the tortoise really believe that when the hare goes whizzing by? Then, I realized there is no race. A story comes from your mind, heart, and soul. Yours. No other person’s publication, or success in whatever way you want to measure it has any bearing on your story.

Maybe if you’re trying to cash in on a fad, it might feel like a race. But even then, the pace of the publishing industry throws that idea out the window. Let’s say a book about a time-travelling dog hits big, and now time-travelling dogs are the next big thing (which would be awesome). If you sat down right now and wrote your own version, by the time it your trend-driven book got a release date, the fad would be over. Only if you cranked something out, spent barely any time on edits, and rushed to put it on Amazon would you possibly hit the trend. Whether that reflects so well on the writer is a subject for another article.

One important note: I am NOT talking about deadlines, y’all. Then, it is a race, and your editor has the stopwatch and she’s tapping her foot at the finish line. Success, though, and the timing of others’ success is not the race you’re running. It isn’t fertilization, people. There isn’t one reader, or one publisher waiting for the single book to make it there first. Just remember, it isn’t a race. And books aren’t sperm. Although, there might be sperm in a book…but again, that’s a subject for yet another article.

And on that note, I’ll conclude my sanity-saving wisdom.

Happy writing,

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