don’t dream it’s over

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post!

My insecurity this week (actually this month) has been at an all time high. I considered giving up writing. I don’t want to stop writing, though. I love writing. I thought maybe I could still write, just not publish. That could work! The “stubborn bitch” part of me realized I shouldn’t let a little low-self-esteem get in my way. And I thought of all the people that would be secretly happy if I quit… Fuck them! I decided what I should do is write, publish – and just not promote or care what happens to my stories as far as sales go. Maybe the promotion is where the problem is, really. But I had so many plans for marketing this next story! I was going to try to do it “right” and see if that made any difference in sales or reader response.

So I’m not giving up (yet.)

Still, this has been a tough time. I’m not even sure why. Nothing happened to make me have these epic levels of doubt and insecurity. I guess it’s just been building up for a while, and there is only so much “smiling over your real feelings” a person can do.

Issues:

  • I need to really work on my writing. I’m just not satisfied with the level I am at right now. Not satisfied at all.
  • I’m thinking of slightly adjusting my plot/genre to be more mainstream-popular (still sticking with m/m Romance, but more trope-y) The thought sort of…hurts. But I think it might help with the popularity of my stories.
  • Lots of stuff to do, not enough time to do it.

And then I remembered something I saw on facebook:

levelup

Maybe I’m in the process of leveling up! If so, it sucks balls. But I’m going to keep trying, and hopefully come out a little stronger. I think by next month’s ISWG post I’ll have myself together.

hope copy

 

20 thoughts on “don’t dream it’s over

  1. I so feel you on “lots of stuff to do, not enough time to do it.” (Oddly, I have plenty of time to screw off on the Internet though. If I did have more time to do stuff, I’d work on a research paper on how, if I love writing so much, I manage to spend so much time doing anything but.)

    I totally think you’re in the process of leveling up. (The bad news is that I don’t think there’s, like, a final big boss level where you defeat twelve of the meanest, baddest, most unfair monsters and the end-credits play with flowers and confetti and a medal-pinning ceremony. I think with this game, you eventually either retire or die. The good news is that, because of that, the game never really gets boring for very long (unless you just chill at the same level all the time).)

    On targeting the mass market…maybe there’s a way to do this where it doesn’t hurt. Maybe there’s a way to do this where it’s fun (but also frustrating and demoralizing, because, hey, we’re still talking about writing, and those seem to be included in the box, along with joy and excitement and a little treasure chest we can save our feelings of accomplishment in whenever we get some). My thought is that you could take a popular trope (and since it’s seven thirty in the morning and I haven’t made coffee, and I haven’t even brushed my teeth because my husband was hogging the bathroom with the toothbrushes in it when I crawled out of bed, I’m not actually able to come up with any popular tropes off the top of my head)…and you run it through the Amelia processor. Make it yours, make it unique, figure out how to do it not like it’s always been done but how only you can do it. Maybe it’s a subtle thing that makes it yours, or maybe it’s subverting the whole trope—the Amelia processor will figure that out. (And all of this is probably something you’d wind up doing anyway because most of us can’t not screw up put our fingerprints on what we touch, but maybe if you actively think about it this way, it doesn’t feel like it hurts so much to consider aiming for more “mainstream/popular,” if you make the decision that yes, you really want to do that. (Another nice thing about writing is that you can give any idea a try. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work—you just move on. So write something that aims for mainstream/popular and see how it goes. (See how you go, even more importantly.))) <–I have all these closing brackets and I don't even know where they came from. I'm just going to trust that there are enough nested opening brackets to match.

    I'm never satisfied with the level my writing is at. Sometimes I'm only dissatisfied in places (while getting to (briefly) enjoy (yay!) the fact that I'm okay with other aspects), sometimes the falling-short feelings encompass everything. But then that goes back to the game never getting boring. There's always a challenge to work on. (For me right now I'm focusing on plotting and payoff, but I'm feeling a need to work on the words themselves creeping up again too.)

    • LOL yeah, time management is sooo not one of my skills!
      I hope I am leveling up. I feel like I will never be “satisfied” with my writing, and I guess that is normal (if there is such a thing as ‘normal’ for a writer) and healthy somewhat. At least I know it would be UNhealthy to get satisfied, and think there is no room for improvement. I won’t make that mistake.
      I read something recently where an author of romance said she got mad popular (aka successful sales-wise) by writing to tropes and marketing that way. And, as typically happens, I then saw several other related articles in the same week. And I thought about all my weird stories… the paranormal-romance-maybe-magical-realism stuff I write that has such a small market. And the most successful titles I have are the contemporary romances that are kind of trope-y. (though I only have two of those, they sell pretty well without me doing anything)
      So *sigh* I think an adjustment is in order. Not that I want to change totally, and not that money or sales are the only important thing… but if I want to keep writing, it’s got to make me money. And if I can get more popular, I might be able to write more of what I want.
      But you have a good idea… combining the mainstream tropes and themes with my own style. That might work! I’d have to be more focused in the blurb writing and marketing to target it to those readers, which I could do. I can try, anyway.

      Thanks so much for your awesome comment and the encouragement! 🙂 I’m so grateful you are my blog-friend ❤

  2. That water fae has really knocked you for a loop huh?
    As for more or less mainstream… don’t worry about that. What’s mainstream shifts all the time. Before 50 Shades could you have imagined people openly reading porn in public?
    Write what you want to write. If it’s a little closer to the Harlequin model than the stuff you’ve been working on, that’s ok. It’s the story you wanted to tell. If the one after that is little more experimental and deviant… that’s ok too. No author has to write just one kind of story. The beauty of self-publishing is that there is nobody to tell you otherwise!

    • omg the water fae. I am so lost!
      Big mistake – trying to revise and write at the same time. It worked with the last story I wrote, but this time it’s not happening. I have a mile-long list of crits on scrib I’m ignoring just until I get the last chapter written.

      You’re right about self-pub, and that is one of the things I love about it. But it also is sort of a negative. At least if something was accepted at a publisher, I would know someone else thought it had some marketability. But on my own, I’m totally guessing. Sometimes I think a story is so great, and it turns out a flop. Other times I think it is questionable, and it turns out successful. I can’t be trusted!

      • A publisher doesn’t know what’s good either. JK Rowling ONLY got a contract when someone’s kid read the book. The publisher, like all the others, had already rejected it.

        Frank Herbert, who wrote Dune, was published by a company who, until then, published instruction manuals. They were the only ones given a chance.

        Most publishers are guessing on what might sell, and have the economic might to force people to at least look at it. Just because it’s successful, that doesn’t mean it’s good.

  3. Hey love! Don’t ever give up on what you want to do. It is the only thing that keeps you sane. I have been where you are, but I find, if you just tell stories, everything else with fall in place. Forget word count, how to publish, who to publish with, just write the story. Once the story is done to your liking, then decide where you want to go from there. Write as many stories as you want and then put them together in ONE book. People have done that. I hope this helps and eases your mind just a little. We are in this together, you are NEVER alone! Writers have to have each other’s back, besides the non-writers think we are crazy anyway :).

  4. Oh hell, if I worried about marketability I’d never get anything written. Come look at my reviews sometime for my YA fantasy “Journey to Landaran” under my other name and all the people having a hissy fit because I dared talk about a fourteen year old being sexually abused in a fantasy book. That’s the story I wanted to write, I knew that no traditional publisher would ever publish it, I did it myself, and I don’t care if it’s marketable. It’s the book I wanted to write.

    Your writing WILL improve with every story you finish. You may not even notice it, and then some day you’ll look back at something you wrote five years ago and you’ll be amazed (and possibly horrified). Just keep noticing what works in the fiction you read, keep dreaming up things and writing them. This is a trade. It takes time to perfect. You wouldn’t expect to become a perfect musician with one piece, right?

    So yeah, turn off that critical side. Let the creative side guide you.

    • Thanks 🙂
      I guess I’m at a point where I need to just stop second guessing everything and trust myself. It is hard to do. But I guess that difficulty is natural when you have a creative “career” – business and art aren’t always a perfect fit.
      I will keep trying to make it work!

  5. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with tweaking your focus as long as you don’t lose your voice. Also don’t feel bad about tropes. The reason why they’re tropes is because people identify with them.

    As far as your writing goes… It’s call the writing process. It’s always going to grow and change. The more you write, the more you read with a critical eye, the better it will get. What you’re doing now won’t be the same as what your producing in a year. It doesn’t necessarily make it worse…just different.

    • Yeah, a big part of my dilemma is finding the right audience, versus just writing and trusting the “right” audience will find me. I don’t think one way is necessarily better, and maybe the best option is to do a little of both.
      Contemporary Romance is always more popular than fantasy, and I do write both. I just enjoy the paranormal so much! But lately I’ve been feeling pressure to write more commercially viable stuff.
      Ahh, I shouldn’t complain! These are good problems to have 🙂

  6. Never give up! Never surrender! Raise your sword and go to battle!

    I hope you make it through this level, and gain some extra abilities while you’re at it.

    Loni

    • LOL I love that movie! If only I had an “omega 13” 🙂
      Though most of the time I feel like that “crew member #3” or whatever he was called, who knew he was going to die because he had no last name. I’ll get through, thanks for the cheer-up ❤

  7. There is so much trial and error involved in writing. That’s why it’s a marathon and not a race. Face it, we all want to achieve some level of success. We want others to read our words. But we really enjoy the writing process too. So work on getting your writing out there to blogs, magazines, anthologies, etc. Think about your marketing plan. Maybe pander to a more commercial audience. But always continue writing what you really love and locating others to read it that love it too. They’re out there. Don’t give up the faith.

    • Thanks! I feel so much better now, thanks to all the support from the ISWG and my blogging-friends.
      I guess it is natural to have these waves of doubt, and I feel lucky to have both a place to work through them, and people willing to hold my hand 🙂 including you! Thanks ❤

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