Did publication make me a Grumpy Bear?

Once again, I’m reminded of the mixed blessing of getting what you asked for. The other day, I spent some time looking back at some of my old posts, ones I wrote before publication of my novel. I was so upbeat then. My posts reflected optimism for my future as an author. I let the “baggage” that came with publication murder that.

Once again, I’m reminded of the mixed blessing of getting what you asked for. The other day, I spent some time looking back at some of my old posts, ones I wrote before publication of my novel. I was so upbeat then. My posts reflected optimism for my future as an author. I let the “baggage” that came with publication murder that.

I don’t like this gloomy person I’ve become. More than once lately, I’ve read a blog post written by a hopeful writer, and found myself sneering with cynicism. At least I had enough sense not to leave a comment revealing my negative opinion.

What changed me from a champion of writers to a cynic?  In short—business. I bemoaned the necessity of adding book publicist to my role as writer, but what I actually did was replace one for the other. Big mistake!

After reading those old posts, there’s no question in my mind that I much prefer the writer me. I’m happy writing. It’s a great adventure. Oh sure, about every other day, I wailed that my writing was garbage, but I never really believed that because I had hope. I could learn. I could fix my mistakes. I could become the writer I wanted to be.

Then, I had to promote my writing. I suck at that. Really, truly, I do. And because I fail so miserably at it, my brain mixed up my view of myself as a marketer/publicist with my view of myself as a writer. I transformed into one ginormous Grumpy Bear that fails at promotion and never writes.

So, here’s my plan going forward. I will allow myself only one hour a week for the business side of publication. The rest of my time will be spent having fun—which mostly means writing, but also catching up on a couple other things I’ve put off for too long. Maybe I’ll even have time to play online again.

Promotion is a necessary evil, but only if I have a book to sell. If I don’t recapture that optimism, that glorious dream, I’m afraid I’ll give up writing completely … and that would be giving up on me.

Care Bears are copyrighted by American Greetings Corporation, Inc.

Write what you LOVE!

Yesterday, I started writing a somber, angst-ridden post. I guess the title and the hearts are clues this is not that post. My last post was a bit of a downer. Some of your comments led me to search my soul, question my Muse, and whine to some friends. Oh yeah, I can be a real joy.

The conclusion? I’d stopped writing for the sheer love of writing and started writing with the mindset of production. My work had ceased to be a creative expression and become merely a commercial product. I’d tried to force it. I worked on four different books. But ultimately, I ground to a halt.

Then a friend asked me to read the blurb for her next book, and the wheels started turning. Her blurb reminded me of one of my book ideas. I’d written up some notes and a couple of opening paragraphs. I looked for the file. It took me two hours because I couldn’t remember what I’d named the file, plus I thought I’d started it last year. When I finally found the right file, it had a nondescript name and was dated ’09.

I read what I’d worked up and realized the original idea wouldn’t quite work … but then … oh, then the floodgates opened! I could change this. I could tweak that. And—Oh!—what if this happened? I got so excited that I couldn’t write fast enough and had to go back to the computer to type.

I had doubts. “Is this crazy?” I asked myself. “Can I do this in my “genre”? “Could this be a good story?” I emailed a friend. She wrote back, “I think it would be great!” And that was confirmed when I remembered one of my favorite quotes:

“Listen to Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.”

-Shel Silverstein

So, I’m off and running. I’m writing, writing, writing. I’m in love again.

Write what you love, dear readers. Life’s too short not to.