Monday, June 29, 2015

The Quiet Life

It's amazing how much can change in five or six years. When I was 25, I wanted to be famous, essentially. I wanted to be a bestselling author that everyone knew and complimented and thought was amazing in every way. This would make my life meaningful, somehow. Then I would feel like a valid human being. Or whatever.

Now I'm 31, and not only do I know that being famous (though I'm not exactly famous) sucks, but that none of that stuff fills that hole like I hoped it would. Having people talk about you and your book…it doesn't make you feel better or more important. Sometimes it even feels just plain weird that anyone would pay attention to what you're doing. But maybe that's just me.

This past 6 or 7 months has been a big struggle for me. I think it's been clear from my posts and my general lack of social media presence. I've just been, well, depressed. I've wanted to quit. I've questioned every choice I've made as an author ever. In a lot of ways, I've stepped back. And oddly enough I feel like I haven't even stepped back enough, what with all the conferences I committed to attend this winter and spring. But my conference blitz is finally over. And I'm back to just me and my own words.

You know what? I'm actually happy to be there. Just me and my stories.

All this publishing stuff—the marketing and cons and selling and interviews and on and on—I thought that was what I wanted for so long. What I'm finding now is that, as authors constantly say, it really always comes back to the writing. When I take away all the stresses of the business side, I still do love to write and edit my own stories. That part…that's something I can never get away from and it's something I personally need to focus on if I want to stay sane.

I suspect I may not be the only author this applies to. No matter you are on the journey—aspiring writer, debut, on your 3rd published novel or 20th or 50th—focusing on the writing seems to always be the answer. At least it's what I continually come back to: a quiet life filled with my own worlds where I can escape and have fun and explore my own views on life. That's the best part of all this. It's the part we can all have if we sit down at the writing desk with gratitude for the work we do and what it gives us.

As I move into a quieter time in writing for me, I find I'm actually looking forward to the "reset," so to speak. No deadlines. No contracts. No events or publicity or whatever. It's like I'm a brand new author again, and for once I really want to be that. I want writing to be magical again. I want editing to be satisfying and educational. I want to be proud of my work regardless of what other people think, much like I was when I was an aspiring author. And I hope by wanting it, I can make it happen.

Here's to the quiet author life. If you're there right now, savor it, because the busy times are exhausting and you'll find yourself wanting the slower pace in the future.

7 comments:

  1. It's true. All the external stuff comes and goes. The writing itself is the best part.

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  2. I'm glad you found a way away from all of the pressures of book marketing. It's sad to hear that you don't enjoy being famous as much as you thought, because I feel like that's a big part of wanting to be an author, but in the end I just hope it works out. And I hope it's amazing for you, whatever it is.

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  3. I love this post. I'm sure you've heard tons about Martine Leavitt's incredible keynote... Have you read it? I think it's still pinned in the Storymakers group. Anyway, she spoke so powerfully on this topic specifically. As did Anne Perry - they both hit the idea of being changed and enriched by our own writing.

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  4. I hate the thought of being famous! Ugh. Blech. I hate the thought of having to deal with all the demands that well-meaning (and not at all well-meaning) people place on you. I don't even like the thought of a book signing. No one believes me when I say that but I swear it's true. I want a nice, normal, quiet life, writing books that people will maybe enjoy and spending time with my friends and family. Life is really so much better when you appreciate where you are and what you've learned along the way rather than where you think you should be.

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  5. I hate the thought of being famous! Ugh. Blech. I hate the thought of having to deal with all the demands that well-meaning (and not at all well-meaning) people place on you. I don't even like the thought of a book signing. No one believes me when I say that but I swear it's true. I want a nice, normal, quiet life, writing books that people will maybe enjoy and spending time with my friends and family. Life is really so much better when you appreciate where you are and what you've learned along the way rather than where you think you should be.

    ReplyDelete