Sunday, November 23, 2014

To My Fellow Authors: A Life Happening

I just feel like this has to be said:

I am so proud of ALL of you who are taking back your authorship: canceling editing until your done writing, changing release schedules, not doing $.99 sales every week. Writing what you want, when you want, on your terms.

It's not that we don't love you, dear readers, but we can't keep this pace up and give you the quality of the story that you deserve.

And we want to.

For most of us, writing is not a choice. We have these worlds and ideas in our heads and they don't shut up until we tell their story.  It's necessary to write to get them out and remain sane.

Over time, be it a year or three decades or more, we've come to love those noisy bastards in our heads. We want to tell their stories. And we owe it to them to be told well.

Cranking books out month after month when we aren't feeling it, when we are struggling with real life around us, serves no one. We feel exhausted. The stories lack that magical touch. The editing is rushed. The whole process is rushed and we just make it all that much less enjoyable for everyone. 

We too suffer real life. Sick children, work problems, housing disasters, car trouble, parties, pets, vacation, bingewatching a show, burning dinner, burning bridges. Divorce, death, uprooting, unpassable opportunities, depression, mania, and bad dates - both the fruit and with the opposite sex.

So, shit happens.

My fellow authors--think about this: Anne Rice released her Prince Lestat on 10/28- she announced it in March and it was probably already written. Her next one? April. Five months apart. And I'm sure it's been written for months. Everyone is 'pissed' that George RR Martin is taking so long with next Song of Fire and Ice, but guess what WILL hit the charts instantly. And just look what Sylvia Day did...

Readers, 90% of them, are forgiving and understanding. The last 10% are sadly vocal. As long as you engage them, even without a new release, most will sympathize with A Life Happening.

Writing takes the damn life out if you, and it has be on your own terms... not the terms of marketing or fans (sorry y'all, we love you but...). And to do that with life happening around you, sucking you dry? Well, if you're like me, and you do this because you don't know how not to write, and you love it and you need those characters to shut up... you need to step back and breathe for a while or you will start to hate it. And I love being an author too much to have that happen.

So, *slow clap* for everyone who is doing this on their terms, and learning what those terms are.

And *standing ovation* for the fans who stick with us, and understand-- we will get you that story. Just let us clean up the latest mess.


  1. This is all very good food for thought here. Thank you for this great post. Yes, we all need to step back and live, and do things other than writing or we will get burnt out. Sometimes I even take anti-technology vacations for this reason. Suddenly, I am reminded that life is more than about computers and cell phones and social networking, not that I don't love interacting with my fans. I really do. But, on these temporary reprieves, I can clear my head and that fresh creativity sneaks back in sometimes, in the form of a story idea or a scene for my current work in progress. It is necessary for writers to recharge their batteries, so to speak. We push ourselves to meet deadlines and work on book releases or tours. But, in the end, we are accountable to ourselves and our readers to be the best we can be. In order to do that, we have to stop and say, "Wait a minute. I'm only human." That's right. Only human. So only do what you can; it's not the end of the world if you can't get everything done. When I am working on a book project, I have no idea when I will finish. My publisher only offers one-book contracts so I don't have that specific pressure to get it done within a certain time, but I have deadlines for other things. Some are self-imposed while others are actual deadlines. Sure, I try to push myself to get it done, but sometimes I just have to tell myself to take a break. Destroying my love for writing or hurting my body is simply not going to help anyone. Try to take care of yourself as a writer. This is a really difficult thing because we always have that drive inside of us to do more. But, we have to try.

  2. I really appreciated reading this! I'm a newbie author who is self-publishing, so I definitely can take my time. I am also not looking to become rich and famous, though I do like to hear from someone who has read and enjoyed my work.

    I spent decades as a private music teacher/musical theater director and when I wrote my first book last year, one of my readers kept reminding me "There is no opening night." He was oh so correct, though that first book seemed to have been waiting for me to write it. I've since released a second book and have a third in preparation for release ... well, maybe in January. There's no opening night!