Wow, it has been…a long time since I’ve posted anything; literally months. What have I been doing for all these months? Well, I could say I’ve been focusing on writing, but that would be a lie. In the words of Suzanne Collins’s character President Snow from “THE HUNGER GAMES” “we had an agreement not to lie to one another”. So, the truth is that I’ve spent the past months fighting all the surprise attacks off that life can throw at you.
We sold our house, bought the family farm, are restarting it as a farm, maintaining the day job, had a run in with a temperamental dog, said farewell to our oldest cat, opened my wife’s new business, patched leaks, shoveled gravel onto the washed out drive, have repaired fences, replaced fences, tore down fences, and at some point had nightmares about fences. I promise the list goes on but that one sentence was nearly a paragraph. The point is, it’s been busy and writing was booted from the driver seat to the passenger seat then to the back. If anything else had piled on then it would have been riding in the trunk!
Nevertheless, time marches on and things change, now we’re back to a somewhat stable point where I can write again. Now, I know what you may be thinking: did he make a post just to explain why he made a post? The answer is no. I made a post to explain the things I learned while unable to write.
See, I was busy, and truthfully I still am. Life has not slowed down and will not for the foreseeable future, but I love to write too much to stay away any longer. I had to find ways to make it work. It has really given me more respect for those always busy souls who still aim to write, keep on keeping on you poor souls!
What did I learn? I learned how precious a simple recording can be. Are you driving alone in the car and an idea hits you? Retain that thought until you can pull over somewhere to turn on a recording app. Then you can hit the road again while working on your story idea. You’re going to feel a little silly at first, blabbing away to your phone in the cup holder, knowing that no one is around, but you’ll be grateful for that recording later.
Second, stop feeling like you have to stay committed to the needless things. I was the biggest believer in keeping everyone up to date on my writing, my plans, my world building, my up and coming projects. I’ve realized, though that it is not a requirement. I stopped, cold turkey, just stopped. I did not update my Twitter with all the writing, I did not blast it out to my personal friends on Facebook, I did not actively engage in my online groups because I did not have anything to update. At first, I did it with a guilty feeling in my gut until I realized that it was not changing anything. My occasional ads were still running the same as always, my writing files didn’t self-destruct, and my social circles did not magically shrink just because I got busy.
Socializing and reaching out is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but if you are that busy then it does not help you to do it poorly, in my opinion. I could have continued, but I would have presented myself as an exhausted idiot who could not keep up. It was better for me to step back.
The third thing is not directly writing, but is related to your writing if you publish in any form. Have fun advertising! It has to be done, but it does not have to be handled like a chore. You are not washing the dishes. You are helping to share and spread something that you created with the world around you! I still run my online ads, and they are truly hit and miss. Sometimes they do great, most times they break even, and a few times I lose out. You know what I found out? I get better sales and have more fun by actually marketing my books. Is there a local book club that reads your genre? Reach out. Local bookstore that has shelf space for local authors? Reach out. Do you have a friend that does local craft events? Offer to pay part of their booth fees if you can set up in a small part of their booth with your work, and be prepared to talk!
The last big thing that I’ve learned in the last few months is the importance of your own health in relation to your writing. Writing, especially fiction writing, pulls straight from your own imagination, and your health has an enormous impact on your imagination. Are you in a dark place? Then your writing will reflect that. That does not make it bad, but it may affect the story that you are hoping for. That’s workable, but the other result is much worse. It could turn something that you love into something that you despise.
I am never more in my own headspace than when I am writing. It can compound any issues I’m having that are unresolved to a point that I hate sitting down at my computer. I hate to look at my own work because it is a gateway to that unhealthy part of my own mentality when I reach that point. Take care of yourselves. Some people feel better after they can write it out and work through it that way, but others will be like myself. If you’re like me then just stay aware of your health.
Serious stuff aside, there is good news! The Rose Chronicles Book II should be ready for release by spring of 2022! Woohoo! Let’s just hope that I don’t get swallowed whole by the rolls and rolls of fencing before that happens. If you’ve made it this far, thank you and I’ll try to do better about posting!