Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Doldrums?

There is a LOT happening in my life right now. Just 10 days to go before we close on the house we've had for the last 14 years and the one we hope to have for the next couple decades. There have been lots of ups and downs, paperwork foul-ups, inspection issues, water damage in our storage unit and all the rest. It's exciting. It's nerve-wracking. Kind of like writing.

It's been a weird cycle for me with writing. I want to write, but can't seem to get more than a chapter or two into any story before I lose interest. This is not how I work. When I started this gig 8 years ago, I couldn't stop writing. I'd always have multiple projects going, and they'd have to drag my laptop out of my hands at the end of the night. Now? Meh. I have two 3-book proposals out with editors, so I need to get my butt in gear, even if just one of them sells!

This isn't writers' block. This is self-doubt at its finest. I'll admit I'm not as far along as I'd hoped to be by this point in my career, and I'm angry at myself. I've also lost most of my confidence. I've gotten to the point that it really hurts to congratulate other authors when they get good news--even if I like them and know they genuinely deserve it.

When the career slump and the house nerves slammed into each other, it made for a very stressed out Cindy. But it might have also just given me the kick in the pants I needed. So with the help of a fair bit of chocolate and several gallons of Diet Coke, here's a few things I've come up with.

1. I don't NEED to be an NYT bestseller with six-figure advances. Sure, it would be nice, but I was happier when I was writing steadily and selling fewer copies of more books. So I need to quit putting pressure on myself to advance. If my current niche is as far as I get, then that's still not a bad place to be. I get to speak at Cons and do the occasional signing. I get a nice fan letter now and then. It's all good.

2. I need to stop fighting with myself about genres. Should I write YA? Would I sell better in SF? Is paranormal over? Bugger that. After my current contract is fullfilled, I'm gonna write what I feel like writing. And if nobody's buying that, maybe I will self-publish. Maybe I won't. But it's going to be story first, marketing later.

3. Writing is my job. Sitting at my desk playing computer games isn't. I'm going to cut myself a little slack between now and the move, but even for the next ten days, the rule is, I have to write at least ONE PAGE on my contracted project.

4. March 28 is not only moving day, but also my birthday. I don't do New Year's resolutions, but this year, I'm determined to make a new start on MY new year. I want to love writing again. And I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there.

Erm--encouragement or well-deserved butt kicking is always appreciated. Thank you!

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