Refocusing my writing life

refocusing my writing lifeRecently I had a bit of a rant about self publishing and all the extras that go into it.

It may have come across as a bit of a whinge. But it wasn’t meant as such. I just wanted you to be aware, like I wasn’t fully, that there really is a lot you need to consider when self publishing.

Another thing to consider is online, print or a combination of both and then marketing. I’ve mentioned marketing before. It scares me, honestly, but then it is something I will have to work through.

I have had all sorts of advice recently about how to best sell my books and what format they should be in. There was also a conversation about giving back to the local community, supporting my independent bookstore type thing, by asking them to sell my book.

Anyway, I can get a bit obsessive, maybe, and I tend to take an idea and run with it. So after such a conversation I was researching local stores, finding key contacts, scanning shelves for other indie published books in said stores (only found two by the way in fiction) and contacted my cover designer about turning my ebook cover into a wraparound paperback cover. I even thought about a stall (with banners) at the local market!

All of this took time and energy and I waxed and waned between super excited by the possibilities and physically sick thinking of all I had to do. I even reformatted a version of the book for print.

Ok, now it certainly sounds like I’m ranting. What I wanted to say today was that firstly, I have calmed down. Truly, I’m much more relaxed. Secondly, I’m reverting to the original plan.

The original plan: write and get my stories out there.

I was spending too much energy on all the little bits, and so I have refocused on the writing part. The production part. The more books I get out the better. The better quality the story is the better.

Yes, I need to look at marketing and platforms and the like but I have felt like I’m rushing things. Just to get the one book in a shop window. It would be nice, but it is not the reason I write.

And that is what pulled me back into line. Someone asked why I’m doing this. And the simple answer is writing. I love to write. I love to read the story as it unfolds across the screen before me. I love to watch my characters grow and despite my frustrations at their misbehaviour, I love to find out what they are up to and where they think they are going.

I also want to share those stories, in their best possible telling, for others to enjoy as much as I do. So editing and proofreading and covers are important too.

I read a post recently (Nicola Alter) about whether books or movies make you cry. Now, like Nicola, I cry at most things. I sobbed through the end of Home (the animated movie) while my daughter patted my hand and whispered that it would all be fine, even though I was sure it wouldn’t be (she’s good like that). And I sobbed so much during the “red wedding” scene that I couldn’t finish reading the scene until I had calmed down and blotted my eyes a bit (and that took quite a while). But I laugh out loud when I read my own work sometimes, and I’ve cried a lot too, when my characters are in a difficult situation and when I’ve killed one off.

So amongst all of this sharing you are probably wondering if I have a point. Yes. I do. Honestly.

I’m writing. I’m self publishing but not stressing about all the countless options for self publishers (at least trying not to). I like electronic publishing and it may be that I add print on demand as an option with these and later look at branching out. But for now, I have a whole cast of characters in a range of worlds vying for my attention and I think they deserve it. Iski has countless adventures to write down, before he gets too far ahead of me. I have the Raven Crown Series that wakes me in the night, but not necessarily from the book I’m currently working on so I need to rustle them into the pages. And just because my head isn’t full enough of people that only exist for me, I have a new character shouting at me; living in a world I haven’t quite reconciled yet. And although she’s dragging me to Pinterest far too often, I’m trying to ignore her because Iski and Meg and a few others need to come first.

And if you ask me if there is a follow up to The Mark of Oldra coming, I might cry. But I may have some ideas there too…

If you are interested in reading any of my writing before it hits the shelves, send me an email saying you would like to be a reviewer or beta reader. If you want to know when all of these books are likely to make it to the world outside my head, sign up for the newsletter (on the upper right). I waffle a bit more there, but I also share how close stories are to release.

Why do you write?

What happens when you can’t write…

My usual evening position - trapped beneath dogs.
My usual evening position – trapped beneath dogs.

My life over the last couple of weeks has been a bit crazy. My parents are away and I am chicken watching and puppy sitting. It has not been quite the two weeks I thought it was going to be.

I had plans. Great plans of what I would do with my evenings alone, my free weekend and my uninterrupted mornings. But alas life does not turn out as we wish it would… mine certainly hasn’t this week.

Two days before my parents left on their great adventure one of the above mentioned puppies broke his leg and he needed to be kept quiet. It was harder than I thought to explain that to the puppy, or his brother. And the two of them have turned my life upside down. They have cried all night, clung to me all day and made doing anything very difficult. I have been so tired that when they do go to sleep (usually on me) I don’t have the energy to do anything.

Amongst all of this we have had the usual school and dancing stuff and I still have to go into work (which is a welcome relief other than my eyes slamming shut at my desk).

So I sound a bit whingey. I feel whingey. I am not writing and I want to be and that makes me grumpy – to the point I can see my daughter pause before she asks me anything in case I don’t react quite right, which just fills me with guilt. And certainly does not help.

I will make it up. It is just the frustration that I can’t put in what I want to. I had hoped to have my next short story ready for publication over Easter but it won’t be. I feel behind with my blog and I am working through the last week of an online course which I feel I can’t give my all.

The parents return in a couple of days. I can hand back the house and the chickens. The dogs will be handed to them at the airport (OK, I’m fantasising now) and I can shut myself in my room and sleep for two days to catch up and then I’m ready to go again. But it also means that until my house is finished I need to find better ways of writing while the parents are home because waiting for them to holiday hasn’t work well at all.

So cute when they are sleeping...
So cute when they are sleeping…

So while I count the seconds until their return I will work on ways to get at least a small amount of writing done to keep some form of sanity. Maybe a little sneaky time during the day job (it is how this post was written), it saves trying to fend off small dogs determined to chew the cord or screen or me while I try to work at home…

I’ll be back when my sanity returns (hopefully before Christmas).

Tell me I am not alone – what do you do when life gets in the way of your writing?