Is This the End?

It’s been months since I’ve really written. Not just months. Years, if I’m going to be really honest with myself. Oh, I’ve written sporadically here and there. I finished a book at the end of last year, but it needs such massive work I just don’t know what to do with it. I finished a book this year too – a how-to guide to self-publishing. But I can hardly bring myself to edit it. When I write, it might be for just a day or two before my fervor fizzles out. I rarely finish what I start, and if I do finish, it isn’t anything remotely worth publishing.

And, so I’ve been asking myself, “Is this the end?”

What’s the point of writing anyway? When I don’t write (which is most of the time), I feel incredibly guilty for procrastinating. When I do force myself to write, it doesn’t feel like it used to. It’s feels like a chore. A job for which I don’t get paid enough to make it worth my time.

My books sales have plummeted and I only have myself to blame. I haven’t put out any new material. I don’t market – at all. In fact, I hate marketing. Don’t we all?

I often advise authors to forget about marketing and publishing. Forget about word count and guilt over not having time to write. But, I’m finding it incredibly hard to take my own advice. With each passing day, I’m increasingly aware of the fact that I haven’t written in a really long time. I think about all the unfinished WIPs collecting dust on my thumb drive. I think about how easy the words used to flow back when I first started writing, and how the ideas seem to have dried up in recent years.

Every day, there are a zillion new books being published on Amazon. (Maybe a zillion is a slight exaggeration, but I’m too tired to look up actual statistics, so we’ll go with that.) There are a LOT of authors. I mean, a LOT, And for every author out there, it seems like there is a book cover artist, a publicist, and at least two editors. I think just about every author out there has decided to throw their hat into the ring as an author services provider of some sort. After all, with the zillions of books out there, it’s damn near impossible to make a living as an author, so most of us need to supplement our incomes with something else.

I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to be an author or an editor. I don’t see my peers as competition or enemies. We’re all in this together and I know many of my author friends are hurting as badly as I am. They are struggling. We all are.

Over the past couple of years, many of my writer friends have given up. There are always several new writers to take their place, but it’s sad to see people giving up on their dreams. Many of the writers who have given up are amazingly talented – so much more talented than I am. It’s a crying shame to see such talent and creativity go to waste. Sadly, I can understand why they’ve chosen to take a step back from writing. It’s the same reason I’m on the edge of doing the same thing.

Being a writer is hard work. I don’t know if I’m cut out for it anymore. In an environment where it’s becoming harder and harder to get noticed, I don’t know if my love for writing is enough. There are only so many hours in the day, and unfortunately, a good many of those hours must be dedicated to doing something that actually pays the bills.

Maybe this is just a passing phase. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow on fire with ideas and the words will flow like they used to. I’ll be crackling with creativity, and the heady combination of caffeine and passion for the written word will drive me to complete another book or an entire series. If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, maybe next week. Or next year. Or maybe, as I fear, it won’t happen again. Maybe writing was a passing phase, something that was never meant to be more than a hobby. Maybe it’s time for me to accept that I’m not a real author, just a wannabe who, thanks to the miracle of self-publishing, was able to pursue my dream for a little while.

I hope I haven’t discouraged any of you from continuing to pursue your dreams. If you want to write, please do it. Don’t let anyone or anything deter you. As I sit in my living room, writing this post, I can see my small stack of published books and I’m pretty darned proud of what I’ve accomplished. Despite the fact that I might very well have come to the end of my writing journey, it was a hell of a ride. I regret nothing.

 

39 thoughts on “Is This the End?

  1. percolatingpoetry

    I think it’s the same for many art forms, including music, painting, etc. Historically (and I don’t have any sources to back me up here), I believe it’s always been a struggle to make a living through one’s creative outlet. However, I think nowadays, it’s even more difficult simply because anyone can publish, as long as there is an internet connection. That being said, if we really think about why we started writing int he first place, and we consider what writing does for us (mentally and emotionally), we may be surprised to find that we write because we have to (pr love to) and that its therapeutic value outweighs the dollar value. And, we all know that once a hobby becomes a job, we place more pressure on ourselves to perform. Write on, I say, and let the words fall where they may!

    I enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      You’ve got a great point here. Writing was easy and fun before it became a job. When my first book was published, the business aspect of writing took some of the fun away, but not all. I think my self-imposed pressure to crank out a marketable product has done the most damage. I need to focus on what I love about writing instead of worrying about all the business nonsense. Thanks for your comment! You’ve been enormously helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. percolatingpoetry

        I understand that. We often put more pressure on ourselves than we need to. I am so happy what I shared has helped. That is humbling! You are most welcome, Tricia!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Aargh! Working on the second novel in the Pride’s Children mainstream trilogy, I don’t want to hear that it’s possible to stop, but I have friends online who, after a number of books, have just stopped. You’re not alone.

    You’ve proved you can do what you’ve already done – published certain kinds of books. Maybe you should take a bit of time to think whether what you need is to write something more complex, rather than stop. Not saying you should, but you should definitely think about whether you need to kick things up to a different leve – consider a breakout novel. Maass and Zuckerman each have a book out about writing the breakout novel, and the kinds of things you need to do.

    I started there – I read those books as I was working on my first novel, and used every trick in them to make that first one (167K) dense, layered, and complex – because that’s what I wanted to do. The marketing isn’t there yet, and the second one in the trilogy is, if anything, more so, but that kind of complicated work really keeps me reaching – and digging – and is a lot of fun. I spent all my writing time today talking to myself about the current pivotal scene – and having a ball finding more and more cross connections, motivations, and correlations. Tomorrow I hope to write it.

    Let me know if that’s a useful suggestion. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      This is good advice. Thank you! I think it might help to read some books about craft while I’m taking a break. Maybe that will get me excited about writing again or at least get some new ideas flowing. It sounds like you’re on the right track with writing and keeping yourself motivated!

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      1. I had the same ‘probelm’ with my PhD thesis. The argument with myself went as follows: to make a decision to quit such a monumental project, I have to be in my right mind – otherwise I’m not being fair to myself and the project.

        However, I WON’T be in my right mind until I’m out from under this cloud.

        So I have to finish first; then I can make the decision to quit from the right place.

        As you might suspect, I have that doctorate, and Book 1, and…

        I would regret forever quitting when I wasn’t in my right mind. Funny how that worked out.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      You know what? I haven’t been reading as much I used to lately. Maybe that’s what is really missing – the complete absorption in a great book. With moving recently and now the birth of my first grandchild, I haven’t watched TV or done much reading except for a few minutes at night before I crash. The love of reading might bring me back to writing some day! Thanks for mentioning reading!

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      1. selenegracesilver

        This! One of my favorite professors always told us that writing proceeds from reading. She described it in a way that made me envision all written texts as interconnected on some psychic cultural web or map, sort of like Jung’s collective unconscious. I am not writing with the speed or dedication that I was between 2010-2012, just before I published my first story, but I’m reading a lot in between the writing. And I’ve come to view my writing process as part of my personal ongoing experience of text. Sometimes I’m reading, sometimes I’m creating. But I’m taking pleasure every day in my engagement with text and words and syntax and ideas.

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  3. Tricia, I really hope you don’t stop writing. Heaven knows, I’ve considered it myself, over the years, for all of the above reasons. But you’re a very good writer and although I fully sympathise with you reasons for considering stopping, I think it would be a great shame if you did. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      I’m sure I’ll continue to writing in some form, whether it’s poetry or blogging. I’m just burned out on writing for publication. I have taken breaks in the past, but something feels different this time. We’ll see what happens given some time. Thank you for your support and kindness, Kate. One of the best aspects of writing has been the people I’ve met. I’m ever so grateful for your friendship!

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  4. Sometimes we need a break. Some (serious) writers take breaks of several years. I know I certainly do. I think we feel a nagging guilt to produce because we read about those folks who churn out a book every month or two. That’s certainly a commercial effort, but it isn’t a model that we have to follow. Some of us just need to catch our breath, reflect — and don’t don’t let this very precious “think time” discourage you. Try to bask in it.
    And, by the way, I agree with you about promotion and marketing too: I hate it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      I’m glad I’m not the only writer who needs to take long breaks. I know I’m certainly not the only writer who hates marketing. Though some “experts” will try to make us writers feel guilty for not marketing, I don’t think failing to promote means we’re not serious writers, as they might suggest. Maybe I should forget about all the extra stuff (marketing, publishing, etc) and just get back to writing for the sake of writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes a break is all we need, or a refocus on what we’ve been doing, in order to recharge our batteries and get that passion back. I too have taken a step back this year (from writing, promoting other authors, blogging, reading other bloggers’ posts – except this one!) and have concentrated on reading books … as many as I can, both new books being published and those on my excessively long TBR list. Part of the reason was an attempt to catch-up, but this reading binge also became a purpose of its own, and I am now putting together a series of blog posts on the occupation of reading itself. I’m interested in the topic myself, as a reader, but I also hope my research into this will help me, as an author, to see what goes on when other readers read a book, and that this will provide other authors with valuable information.

    Or not. The truth is, I’m just plain fascinated lately with this topic and have even considered looking for online university courses so that I may study it further.

    So, what I’m saying here is that sometimes there’s a reason for us to step away from creating and publishing new books and consider how we might concentrate our efforts in some other direction. Find something else that fascinates you, Tricia (and that for you might just be being a grandma right now!) and give yourself time to get back the joy we should all feel about writing (or doing anything at which we are good). All things happen for a reason, and if this means stepping back from writing and publishing then please do this with a clear conscience. Give yourself permission to take a break. The writing will always be there to come back to – when you are ready.

    In the meantime, Tricia, give yourself a good and hearty pat on the back for all that you HAVE accomplished in your writing career! Your output has been formidable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      I’m excited about your new venture, Susan. Yes, maybe there is something I just haven’t discovered yet. For now, I’m going to read, hangout with the new grandbaby (yay!) and try not to put any pressure on myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I get where you’re coming from. I go through phases of writing and not writing. I’ll start writing, get to a certain point, feel like my writing is dribble, get frustrated, and work at something else for a while. I don’t know if this will help you, but it recently helped me a great deal. One of my favorite writers, author Neil Gaiman, wrote this on his blog:

    Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

    On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

    And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

    And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love what Julie Hoffman shared about Neil Armstrong here! That is significant. It brings to mind that so many of us engage in self-doubt, any yet from some perspective, you could consider Neil Armstrong’s comment humility. I think comparisons are the real trouble. I read this post last night and it triggered many thoughts. I’m revisiting this thought-provoking post first thing this California morning, for it hasn’t left me alone. I think we decide where to invest our time and it’s as simple as that. I never have known what is and what is not “meant to be,” with regard to a life. Because we all have talents. It’s up to each of us to decided what to develop. We’re welcome to quit any time. It does occur to me that we decided who to become in life, then we get about the business of becoming it. It doesn’t happen overnight, so we have to have the fortitude to stay the course. As for me, I never so much decided to become a writer, as I got in touch with the fact that I am one. Looking back, I should have started may years earlier than I did, but so be it Let’s just say I’ve had a long learning curve, and I’m still in it. I understand when Tricia said it’s a lot of work. It is, and social media can be a pain. Tricia, I’m wondering if you’ve tried finding a literary agent? It really does help to have someone in your camp. And there are many small presses out there as well. The game changes when you have an outfit behind you, and yet it’s still a climb. You’re right in pointing out the legions of people in it! I think it all boils down to the attitude one brings to the table, as well as answering the question for yourself of why you’re in it? Do you WANT to be a writer, or are you simply compelled to write? I’ve said repeatedly: with writing there is no THERE to get to. There is only the act of writing. As for what becomes of our work, if we can be comfortable letting the chips fall as they may, then writing remains an act of self-satisfaction. I believe there’s something important in that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      Hi Claire! You’ve made some wonderful observations here, but I particularly love what you said about there only being the act of writing. In many of my posts, I have often advised authors that all they have to do to be a writer is write. After giving it some thought, I don’t think I’ll completely quit writing. It’s something I enjoy, and sometimes feel compelled to do. I have wanted to be a writer for a long time, but I often wonder if I haven’t put enough effort into it. I certainly don’t prioritize writing the way I should. And, so I wonder – am I really cut out to be a writer? Wouldn’t a “real” writer make time to write no matter what? Wouldn’t a “real” writer love writing enough to work though the hard times? That’s where I’m stuck right now.

      I began my publishing career by querying agents and small publishers. My first book was published by a small press, but for a variety of reasons, it didn’t work out. The publisher is now out of business. I have given some thought to reaching out to agents again. It would be nice not to have to do everything myself.

      I guess I need to explore some of the questions you’ve posed here. I know why I began writing, but somehow I let other things get in the way – things that have to do with the business of publishing, but nothing to do with actual writing. Maybe if I refocus on writing and forget about everything else, I’ll rediscover my passion for writing.

      Thank you so much for this wonderful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! I like your thinking, Tricia. There is an ebb and flow to writing, and there needs to be breathing room. Everyone has their own way with it, and there is no right and wrong here, which is why its futile to compare ourselves with anyone. But I think some of the smaller presses are great. It all comes down to how an author gets in the game, no matter who they’re with. I know a handful of authors having a miserable time with the big houses, and others with smaller presses making some serious noise because they’re holding events at bookstores! It’s an overwhelmingly competitive arena, but who cares? if you have a story to tell, then I say tell it!

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  8. This. All of this. Yes! My book sales have been abysmal (through all channels combined I usually make 20$ a month now). I write at least one novel a year (I admit, I usually cram it all in to six months where I do nothing but write and edit), but those other six months (and even during those six months of writing) I run the street team, market, tweet, facebook, update the website, do takeovers, run ads, etc etc like we’re “supposed to” – I tend to jump on every marketing advice trend I see, in fact – and in the end I make enough a month to go to McDonalds. Not even a nice restaurant, just McDonalds. Wow. I have missed parties, events, going out and **living** in order to make enough a month to get a cheeseburger and fries.

    Pardon my french, but F*** that.

    But then, I tell myself, the reason I write isn’t for money! No, no, it’s for readers**! To share my stories with someone who cares about them… yeah right. I’d have to find those people first. I have a handful of fans who just looooove my books, but they can’t even take the five seconds to vote for me or even nominate me for awards now that I’m not giving away prizes for it. I get pretty much zero comments on my blogs, no one comments on my author page – despite my posting every day (like we’re “supposed to”) – and now that I’m not giving prizes in the street team, no one is there. I can’t even get people to play games without bribing them with free stuff, let alone get them to do all the things that the romance author’s rabid fangirls do for them.

    So writing for readers? Again pardon my french, but F*** that.

    And of course, while we’re writing for money and people, we need to write for our peers. We need to read tons of author advice. We need to be guilted into all this crap in order to feel legitimate, to prove to our fellow writers that we deserve to be called writers – and guilting is all those posts and articles do. They put layers of guilt on us and “prove” that we’re not “real” authors – that we don’t take it “seriously” because, if we did, we’d read Steven King’s books on writing, and we’d have a writing schedule, and a daily word count, and we live, and we’d tweet daily with some perfect ratio of fun to advertising tweets, and we’d make our buttons on our website a contrasting color to make them clickable, and we’d write everything out long hand because only with the feel of pen on paper can we say we’re real, and we’d outline, and we’d live, breathe, and eat writing because it would be *the* most important thing in our lives and .. and… and…and THEN, and only then, would we magically sell millions of copies because it’s all smoke and mirrors and as long as the marketing is pretty enough, and everyone can SEE what a *real* author you are, they’ll all run to buy. Except they won’t.

    So, pardon my french again, but f*** that.

    All of this…It’s why I’m NOT working on a novel right now. I’m doing a year of short stories – which I’m writing in segments for a blog challenge group I haven’t had time to participate in for years. I spend an hour to three hours a week (on Tuesday nights, so I’m not missing out on anything. No more “I can’t go to the park because I have to write.”) where I knock out 2000-3000 words, with the mindset that I’m doing it primarily for the blog challenge. The actual publishing comes second. When I get around to it, I’ll spend a Friday night, after hubby is in bed, editing them, then I’ll eventually format it and all that (I have a completed one right now waiting on me, and two older ones I need to format for Pronoun). The stories are all freebies, so I’m not writing for money, which means I don’t feel bad when I don’t make any.

    And I’m not writing for readers. I’m not worrying about how some demographic will like/dislike something. In fact, I’ve gotten some iffy reviews on Amazon already. Weirdly enough, they didn’t bother me that much, because I feel like free short stories are kind of a throw away thing – they’re fluff, they’re for fun, they’re not *serious* like a novel is, if that makes sense, so if someone doesn’t like the bit of fluff, big deal. Who cares? I liked it.

    In other words, I’m back to writing for ME – which is how I started, and what I was doing back when I enjoyed it – back when writing was not a chore, or a job. Back when it was for fun. And, just as important, I’m rediscovering all the things I used to know before I joined writers’ communities, because I’m not reading ONE word of “advice” on what authors should do (unless it is something technical like dashes, commas, or formatting). Not. One.Word. I will write when I want – and still be an author. I will have my schedule my way – and still be an author. I will do what promoting and marketing I feel like – and still be an author. And I have not, nor will I EVER, read Steven King’s book “On Writing.” I’m not a huge King fan – I think his books are too long by half, need a lot of editing, and frankly are not that creative – and you know what? I am STILL a legitimate author. And if I don’t write one week? No big deal. And if I write more than I planned? Awesome. And if I write less? It just means a shorter blog (and maybe someone from the blog group will actually read it). And I get the bonus of getting make covers (I love doing that when I get to do it MY way) and those teaser graphics (again fun!) and it’s all just whenever I get to it, and screw everyone else.

    I like this much better. I’m actually EXCITED to work on them. I have a couple of longer works churning in my head that – you know what? – I might go ahead and work on one of these days – and I am EXCITED about them, too! It’s *almost* the way it used to be – almost, because of course some of that residual guilt is still there, some of the ingrained pressure, that whispered,”You’re not *really* serious about it”. But, I think, by the end of my short story year, that should be pretty much strangled down. Four months have already made quite a difference.

    Now comes the part I’m iffy about writing. I say iffy because I know how you feel, so (I think) I know what you’re looking for. Or at least it’s what *I* want when I say these exact same things. I don’t want someone to run and say “but you’re such a good writer” (*guilt, guilt, guilt,* because, no matter how well meaning their words are, it’s still a guilt trip that makes you feel like “gee, they think I’m good, and here I am feeling bad. I shouldn’t feel bad. I must be bad.. blah, blah, blah”) What I want is someone to say, “You’re right. The readers suck. The market sucks. The expectations suck. The whole damn thing sucks, and we’re all underpaid, and no one cares and you should just tell them all to f*** off!” BUT while this is true, at the same time I love your books SO much that I feel I have to say that literally you are one of my absolute favorite authors – not just favorite “self published authors” but favorite authors. However, there’s no guilt attached to that because, while you are amazing, I know 100% what you mean here and you’re right – it all sucks and it all feels pointless because we’re so busy trying to please other people and prove something – to them, to ourselves, to colleagues,to family, to friends – that it IS pointless. Doing something just to prove a point is never worth the effort. Doing something just to make money becomes just another job. Doing something for other people becomes a chore. In the end we have to do it for ourselves, because we want to and – pardon my french, but f*** everyone else. Or at least that’s the conclusion I’ve come to.

    **(NOTE: fellow authors are not who I’m talking about, but rather readers who are not authors – fellow authors are busy with their own stuff.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      Oh, wow, Joleene. I’m sorry you’re feeling so frustrated. You are one of the most talented authors I know, so to hear you say that the business of writing seems pointless… it’s very frightening! It scares me that talented, creative people are feeling so fed up. It also terrifies me when I think about all the amazing stories out there that might NOT be written or published because the author has thrown up their hands in disgust or despair. Yes, I know we are supposed to write for ourselves first and foremost, but when sales are down and it feels like readers have dropped off the face of the earth, it’s hard to keep going. I’m glad you’re getting back to what made you start writing to begin with, and that’s you’ve found joy in writing again. I love your books and the world you’ve created!

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  9. I’m watching Tyrus Wong: American Masters right now and he talked about the possibility of going back to Disney and Warner Brothers and he said something like “I don’t want to do it anymore” Instead he moved on to create kites, paint, make beautiful things.

    He stopped painting for 15 years while his wife was ill, stroke related dementia. After she passed, he began creating again.

    I read your words as I watched this show and I think it has many moments that will speak to you as a creator. Meanwhile, there are times we have to step away for a while to take a deep breath and refresh our creative juices. Not everyone can sit down every day and crank out 1,000 words. Some days I’m lucky to get 100 on the page.

    Do what you need to do for now. When she’s ready, your muse will grab you and the words will flow again…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      Thanks, Ruth. I guess I should cut myself some slack instead of beating myself up for taking a long break. By the way, I’ve been watching your posts on Facebook. Your word count is building up and I can’t wait to read the finished product!

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    1. Tricia Drammeh

      I have so much respect for those in the teaching profession. I don’t know that I would have that kind of talent, though. Thank you for the suggestion!

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  10. Andrea Baker

    Tricia, what can I say?
    It’s as if you have been reading my mind :(. I haven’t written for a number of years, and confessed to someone recently that I’m actually embarrassed to call myself an author. The dream of writing those ideas down seems to have evaporated for me as the stresses of life have grown stronger.

    That said, I agree that the wealth of “new” authors has made life a lot harder, and unless you’re prepared to spend hours online marketing, or have a reason to be a “celebrity” and therefore get the infamous “book deal”, it feels like an impossible task.

    But, having said all of that, and agreeing with the posts above, I have found myself recently at a crossroads. Not the “should I give up?” ones you describe, but one where I questioned myself about why I starting writing in the first place. They were ideas and characters that I’d play around with in my head, following a winding path with many side streets. Back then I was too young to even understand publishing, I was just daydreaming. I’ve decided to pull away from publishing altogether for a while – take Leah off the market, not because it shouldn’t be out there, but because I’m different, my ideas are different, and this story now needs to be written once, not in pieces. Don’t get me wrong, the ideas aren’t flowing again, yet, but the relief of taking myself out of this circus is tremendous.

    I also believe that we have lost something over the years. You and I met through Authonomy, and you know how much I have enjoyed every single one of your books. But, problematic as it was, it was a social release where, when we got stuck in a plot hole, or had writers block, we could release among people that really understood our plight. For me there is nowhere like that anymore, no community within which I can grow.

    I know you didn’t write this article for praise, but because you are hurting, and at a crossroads. All I can say is – you are extremely talented, and the world will lose something special if you give up. But I feel, like me, you’ve lost the joy of writing for writing’s sake, and feel as though you need to justify every second spent at it.

    PS- in fact, if you fancy a beta reader of the ones you describe above, warts and all, send it over!.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia Drammeh

      Yes! I know exactly what you mean about changing as an author. I have an unfinished series and the longer I wait to complete it, the harder it is. I feel like I’m not the same writer any more, so it’s almost impossible to pick up exactly where I left off. I’m not certain at this point who I am as a writer, and with everything going on in my life right now, I think it’s going to be a while before I figure it out. I do hope you’ll get back to writing when the time is right. I loved Leah’s story and I love your writing style. Whatever experiences you’ve had since you last wrote will only enhance your writing talents once you decide to return to storytelling. (I might take you up on the beta reading offer!)

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      1. Andrea Baker

        That’s exactly where I have been with Leah’s story – Every time I tried to carry on, I found myself wishing I had added something / changed something in the first story, and then as a result I hit a block again. The only release I’ve had in writing has been poems – very few, but special ones for special events, and at least that has given me some outlet.

        From what I’ve seen in your posts, your life has been in upheaval for a while now, moving, new job, children growing up, and now being a Grandma (congratulations by the way!). That is going to shift the focus – perhaps just making up nursery rhymes, telling stories etc will help. Most importantly do not put pressure on yourself, it will only make you feel worse.

        Your writing has fluidity and imagery that I envy, and I refuse to believe that you won’t continue, when the time is right for you – but things may need to be rewritten to meet the person you are at that point, and the way your writing has changed, in order to continue that specific journey.

        Send anything to me (you have my email address), I’m more than happy to beta read – and don’t worry about it not being “fit to share” either!!

        Like

  11. I think this is just a passing phase that all writers go through. Just a few months ago, I wrote a similarly post like this, wanting to give up writing and what motivated me to continue on. I was depressed (later found out it was the beginning stages of my rare disease) and hadn’t written anything new in about a year, then I reunited with an old writing buddy. We encouraged each other and both started writing again.

    It’s okay for you to take a break from writing. You’ll start again when you’re ready 🙂

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    Liked by 1 person

  12. selenegracesilver

    Oh, the irony of this post. I was just checking in on your writing career because I’m (groan) going to ask you to review a new anthology (or at least my novella in it) on your site, lol, because you so kindly reviewed my previous books–and I’m terrible at marketing–so once you are kind to me, I’m always returning like a stray cat after another meal.

    Anyway, the irony. I was visiting your blog after checking out your Goodreads and Amazon author pages and was super excited to see that you’re still publishing, and that you had even put out a book of poetry. So many reviewers and writers from a few years ago have abandoned publishing all together.

    Persistence is the greatest predictor of success as an author. I sat through a lot of creative writing workshops at university, both undergrad and grad, and read a lot of talented potential in my peers’ work. Yet, the majority of them have never published anything. Ever. Tons of $ spent on degrees that were never put to use. Only the smallest percentage have persevered. And the market is tough once you get in it. I admit I’ve had my own doubts–eased only by a relief that I don’t have to make a living at this racket–the marketing is a soul killer. I got re-energized though after reading Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan’s book on marketing for writers, Your A Game. I saw them at RWA 2015, and they really encouraged authors to team up for the marketing aspect of publishing. That’s the trend right now, anyway, for however long it lasts, lol. Hence the anthology and an attempt to share readers. Have you considered joining up with other YA authors to reach new readers?

    While you might be feeling uninspired, or down about the (very down) market right now, you actually have achieved a lot compared to 99% of writers. Truly. Maybe it’s important to pause, look at all you’ve done, maybe even add up the products you’ve created–published books, reviews written, blogs written, books edited…etc. and divide by the number of years since you launched your writing career. I bet it’s impressive, especially if you’re also sustaining a private life with family and possibly another working career.

    And read good books. That’s the first love and the deep well we draw from to create ourselves.

    Tricia, you rock and your readers on Goodreads and Amazon agree. 4*s plus! You’re doing something right. Publishing is a long game. Looong. Marathon long. Sometimes we have to walk to keep going.

    Selene

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh Tricia! Please don’t give up. I enjoy everything of yours that I read. I know it’s frustrating not feeling like you want to write most days and having so many other authors in the same boat, but I think it is a phase and that you will get your spirit back. It might be a year from now but I think that joy for writing will return. Please let me know if I can help in any way. I care about you ❤

    Like

  14. You sound very weary and fed up with it all. I wrote a similar post to this once and a friend contacted me and said, ‘stop, now. You are burning out. Step back. Do something else and take a break.’ I took her advice and spent the next six months drawing pictures of my characters, eyebombing, going for walks and doing things that were not writing. After that, the fire relit and the enthusiasm came back. If it’s really pulling you down taking a break might be worth thinking about.

    Since then, despite the renewed enthusiasm, I have teetered on the brink of burnout most of the time. I constantly have to evaluate what I write and how I write it as the duties and demands of Real Life require more and more of me. I can’t realistically compete so the pressure to strike while the latest trend or marketing fad is hot has gone because any shot at keeping up is impossible. That was hard at first but now I find it kind of liberating. If you need ideas, Some things that help keep my head together are …

    Plotting: I am a pantser but I realised I don’t get to write often enough to do that anymore – I forget where I am and by the time I’ve worked it out there are only a few minutes of my writing window left. So I have started setting out a plot. Not too detailed but enough to do all the keeping the info together in my head over a shorter period of time so I can write the rest on auto pilot so to speak. The technique I used came from a free seminar by a writer called Joe Nassis. Its working very well so far. He also talks about using sprints: setting a timer for 20 minutes, writing all that time, taking a break tor 10 minutes, rinse and repeat. If I do that once a day, I get 400 words in. That helps too.

    Write what you can: I can’t not write and stay sane. I’m an authorholic. However, I’m in no state to write a richly textured, complicated series – although I’m having a go. To get round this I’m working on what I can write: shorter stories about the world and characters my audience already likes and writing that ties in with the duties. In this case all the stories about my family members that my parents and grandparents used to tell. These are easy and fun to write and it’s clear that there’s a demand for them that I never anticipated. There have also been requests for a how to book but I have few credentials on that score so I have to find an angle.

    Work on more than one project at once: that way there is usually something on the desk you feel like working on.

    Try to establish areas where you feel in control: even if you’re not, the illusion that you are master of at least some of your destiny is very calming. 🙂

    Let the rest go: my book sales have tanked. I’ve no clue why. However, I have found that doing instafreebie giveaways has grown my mailing list. Not many of them read my books, more so recently as I’ve been starting them on the scifi comedy that no one will touch with a barge pole and the people who download that transfer better than those who start with the series. I don’t write to market, I write the books I wish I could read but don’t exist. I have learned that my tastes are more rarified than I thought.

    Sometimes it’s a case of coming at it from a different angle: I have discovered a very strange thing. Despite my email list seeming to be completely un-engaged – dreadful open and click rates – I get replies to the newsletters I send out. A lot of readers of my series told me they dislike fantasy and sci fi, usually, but loved my books. I have a mailing list with just shy of 4,000 people on it and yet the highest selling book has only sold about 700 copies in 5 years. I asked the list, politely, what the heck they were doing there. The consensus for those who replied was that they love my emails and my blog. Could I make some books out of my blog posts and family stories? They asked me. Hence, one work in progress, Setting Tripwires For Granny and other Tall Family Tales. They have also asked if I’d do more posts about living with my parents’ dementia and make that into a book – a kind of survivor’s guide.

    Whether you take a break, diversify or just find a way to let the crap go, all you can do is what keeps you sane. If that means writing something different go ahead, if it means taking a break, take a break. It will all still be there when you come back.

    Good luck and God bless!

    Cheers

    MTM

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tricia Drammeh

    I have pretty much accepted that I’m not going to be able to write the way I used to – not anytime in the immediate future, anyway. I’m just going to try to edit a book that I’ve had on the backburner for a while and then see where I’m at when that is finished. I’m trying to stop putting pressure on myself, but it’s difficult.

    I’ve heard from a lot of authors who are saying their sales have tanked lately. Maybe people are so caught up in politics and world events that they don’t have as much time to read. I’m not sure what the answer is, but it’s not something I can control, so I’ve decided to stop worrying about it.

    Thanks for your support and encouragement!

    Like

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