Monday, July 23, 2012

The Summer That Wasn't

I had high hopes for this summer. My calendar was full, and the months stretched out before me like a scenic vista, beckoning me down its pleasant paths. But things came crashing down with a family medical emergency. I cancelled appointments and drove more miles than I'd driven in years, spent money I was hoarding for other things, finally got home and was beginning to recover my physical stamina and emotional equilibrium when there was a second emergency. This time other family members jumped in, and I kept my 5-year-old granddaughter--and also picked up a nasty bug that hasn't wanted to leave. Now it is the end of July, and I'm just now taking care of cancelled appointments and necessary chores.

The summer is over. It went on without me.

Although...the silver lining is...I had a  (writing) epiphany.

When I retired five years ago, I decided to see if I could get published, and I did. Now, five full-length novels and assorted "shorts" later, I find myself burned out--oh, not on writing but on the accompanying necessity for promotion promotion promotion. And I'm just spinning my wheels. I've had decent sales, but I don't write what gets the five-star reviews and tops the charts at Amazon, etc. No matter how well-plotted, how tight, how well-written my stories are, they lack the one necessary ingredient--namely, heat. That's a fact of life, and it's okay. (And it's not going to change!)

I've been spending too much time on promotion/marketing and not enough time writing just because I love to do it. I never started out to be a best-seller, to be rich and famous, only to achieve a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction, and I've done that. Now it's time to embrace my first love again--to write because I love writing and to let the rest go.

So what have I accomplished?
  • Five of six Penelope Pembroke cozies rewritten and destined eventually for independent epublishing
  • Writing scrapbook begun
  • Writing notebook taking shape 
  • Nanowrimo novel plotted for November
What am I looking forward to in the fall?
  • Beginning to submit file of short stories to various magazines and anthologies
  • Getting the Penelope books 'out there'
  • Organizing a syllabus for various writing workshops and offering them to libraries in the vicinty
  • Reading more
  • Delving back into long-neglected genealogy which, like writing/promotion, takes one's full attention
And how do I feel about my decision? FREE! I'll stay in touch on a few (a very few) writing sites, read the blogs of authors I feel I 'know' despite having never met, tweet updates, blog. Facebook, by the way, is history.

Five years ago when I began my writing journey, I read a quote from Margo Dill who said, "If you write, you are a writer." I wanted to be a writer--and I am.

One never gets too old to learn.


Stacey said...

Judy, I can totally relate to your blog today, and I salute you. I believe you will be a much happier and satisfied writer now that you've had your epiphany. Like you, for me it's not about money or making a best seller's list (although those things are nice). It's the sense of setting a writing goal and accomplishing it that is the greatest reward. Keep writing the books you want to write. I loved The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall.

Maddy said...

Sounds like a solid philosophy to me, especially "sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction, and I've done that. Now it's time to embrace my first love again--to write because I love writing and to let the rest go."

Liz Flaherty said...

I really enjoyed this post--and identify with it. It's a good reminder.