2016... what a year, eh? Too many of our legendary musicians and beloved actors taken from us. An election that has most of the USA in fear for their future and their rights in this country, and the rest of the world shaking their heads at how we could let such a bone-headed thing happen. And now All Romance Ebooks, bending authors and publishers over to fuck them in the ass without so much as a thank-you, let alone adequate lube.
Unless you've been living under a rock this week, you're probably aware of THIS little gem, and THIS ONE. But that's not what this post is about. Not directly, at any rate.
During the past few months, I've done some serious soul searching. It's no secret to anyone close to me that I have frequent crises of faith where my writing is concerned. But I'm at the point now where I realized it didn't bother me that it's been nearly three months since I submitted a book to my publisher. THAT'S a first. So I tore that apart in my head to figure out WHY I didn't care. It was an epiphanous moment. Not a word - I know - but I like it so I'm using it. *grin*
I'm going to finish this book for Evernight (assuming they take it, of course!), and I will still be writing in 2017, but I will also focus on the things I miss doing. Things that are healthy for me. Things I've neglected horribly for the past six years while I wrote like a fiend.
Please understand. I'm NOT saying I "blame" writing for turning away from other pursuits. I'm not the kind of person who tosses blame around. This was my choice. It was my choice to dive head first into this six years ago, and it was my choice to write two books a month for a couple of years, while working a full time job outside the home. It was my choice to push myself this hard, even when I had to drop back to one book a month.
And it's not only a question of being unable to keep up the pace. That's been going on since April, when I had to take a new role at my job. It's a question of not wanting to keep up the pace, regardless.
I have found - and this shouldn't be such a big surprise to me or to anyone - that by slowing down, my writing has improved quite a bit. There's time to actually craft the story, flesh out the characters, and really enjoy the nuances that go into my books. Wow. Shocker, eh? LOL!
So, aside from the fact that I feel as if I'm FINALLY becoming the writer I always wanted to be, there are other reasons to slow down, as I mentioned above.
I need to lose weight and get back to working out. I likely can't do much right now because it's been so long since I've done any formal exercise, but anything I do try will be in the mornings. That's when I'm at my best.
I also want to get back into yoga and meditation - again - things that are best done (for me) in the morning and right before bed.
I want to take lessons again and return to playing my cello. It's been way too long since I've touched it, and I miss it.
Back to the ARe debacle. Firstly, let me say I think what Lori/Samantha/Whatever her real name is has done is unconscionable. I agree with the RWA's assessment of it, and with countless authors, editors, and publishers who feel the same way. I don't want to give her any more free publicity on this site, so I'll make this brief.
Evernight Publishing, among other publishers, has promised to stand by its authors and pay us fourth quarter royalties for ARe sales, even though ARe is not following through on their commitments. Now, I don't work for Evernight, and I have no inside information, but I can only speculate that this is going to be a huge hit for them, financially. Evernight was one of ARe's best selling publishers.
For that reason and countless others - because I LOVE Evernight and their staff - I will not stop writing in 2017 as I had seriously considered doing. Yes, I was that low in my self-esteem mere weeks ago. Hence all the soul searching.
Instead, I'm going to strike a compromise. Yes, there are things about the industry I hate. We all do. And I've blogged about them before so I don't want to rehash that negativity here. It is what it is. And I am who I am, as well. I have to write what my muse tells me to write, and I have to write the way I want to write. I will never be a writer who dumbs down my writing, or who writes to trends. It simply isn't me. I write complicated twists and turns, I use careful phrasing, and I write intricate plots. It's not what a lot of readers want. They want a story they can skim through in an hour or less, hence the reason they're able to ignore bad grammar, poor spelling, and wonky sentence structure. Either that or they simply don't know any better. I suspect a combo of the two.
Well, tough cookies, sparky. Because I'm not changing my voice. If anything, I'm going to make it even stronger. I'm going to make my writing even better, because now I'm taking the time to actually craft a story. I mean, whatever happened to relaxing with a book, and taking the time to ... you know... ENJOY THE STORY? That's what you're going to get in my books, if there are any of you left out there who want that. I sincerely hope there are.
Look, I'm 59 years old. I've got 86 titles behind me, between the three pen names. Not too shabby, considering I'm just shy of 6 years of being published at all. I set out to do what I wanted to do. I'm a published romance author. I will always have that accomplishment. No one can take it from me. But now it's time to slow down and revisit the other things I love doing, and that I chose to push aside to keep pace with this writing thing.
I realize it means less releases and that likely will lead to less sales. I've accepted that. But it also means I will be a happier, HEALTHIER human being. You can't put a price on that.
I will still write, and it will be for Evernight, but it won't be at the pace I've kept up in the past. I wish I could put into words the amazing sense of peace in having made this decision.
Well, thanks for listening. And now join me in raising a glass of whatever you want as we boot out 2016, and welcome 2017!!
Have a HAPPY, HEALTHY New Year, everyone!!