I’ve had one of THEM weeks. You know the ones. You’re sitting there, minding your own business, doing a little bit of writing, a little bit of blogging, probably too much blog reading, and all of a sudden Mr Self-Doubt invites himself into your home, takes over your favourite seat on the sofa and steals your TV remote control. Not only that, be he also demands a cup of tea AND possession of the biscuit tin.
He’s one of them unwanted guests I talk about quite a bit. Once he’s made himself comfortable, it’s quite hard to persuade him to leave.
However….on this occasion, Mr Self-Doubt actually talked a little bit of sense for a change.
Now, before you all look sternly at me under heavy furrowed brows, this isn’t going to be one of those ‘Woe is Me’ posts. I’m still writing….just. But I have decided to take a slightly different view on what I want to do with my writing.
As I said above, I read too many blogs.
I read blogs by aspiring writers like me, from which I always take a lot of inspiration. It’s always great to know I’m not the only one who feels the way I do and it’s empowering to know there are others out there who can empathise. The writing community, I have found, can be incredibly supportive of one another.
I also read blogs by published and experienced writers. Some blogs inspire. Some blogs frustrate me. You know the ones: The ‘This is how you MUST write’ Blogs. Annoying. And I’m not disrespecting any established writers out there, whom I’m sure have oodles of valuable advice to hand out to the newbies. But some blogs are incredibly preachy, which I hate. And then there are the blogs that scare me. The ones where everyone who reads and comments on the posts seem to know so much about the business and it makes me just want to slither back under my rock and stay where it’s dark, quiet and peaceful. This happened to me at the beginning of the week and I ended up having a mild panic attack and posting a cry for help on twitter.
Two very kind writer friends answered my call. And their words led to something of change in my perspective on things.
I would like to be published one day. Of course I would. Surely it’s every writers dream? When I was younger I would fantasise about seeing my books on a shelf next to my favourite authors. Obviously, that’s one heck of a pipe dream, but it’s a lovely one and right up there with dreams of marrying Eddie Vedder and living in a cabin by a lake somewhere: By day Eddie would write songs, I would write novels and by evening we would sit by the water’s side and he would serenade me on his guitar. Half-naked. Yeah, see? Pipe dreams.
Anyway, I would still love to be published one day. But I have to be realistic. I don’t have time to learn the first things about getting published. Okay, so I know a little about traditional and e-publishing, but not nearly enough. And even if I did know, I just don’t have the time to devote to that kind of project. It’s time-consuming. It’s soul consuming. And if I really want to do it with some gusto, then I need to be devoted to it. I hate half-hearted attempts and making promises that I can’t keep.
The more I thought about this and the pressure I put on myself to learn more, understand more, do more….the more the very thought of it crushes me and I’m worried that the more I stress about it, the more it will wear away the edge of my passion until I just don’t even want to write anymore. And for me, that’s more than I could bear. A life without writing? No. Not on your nelly. But a life without getting published? Yes. And so what?
I have written two novels and am in the process of writing the third in the series. I get fabulous feedback from my band of merry readers, and this much-loved group of beta readers grows larger every week. It makes me so happy knowing that people enjoy reading my mad ramblings and knowing that people connect with and love the characters almost as much as I do. But rather than chase the dream, I am going to focus on book 3. I may do something with my short stories; maybe find an avenue in which I can publish these, but again I don’t really know where to start, so I need to do some research for which I need some valuable spare time.
Something has to give. I write or I try to get published. The brutal facts are that I don’t have time for both right now.
So I choose writing.