Hello Bloglandia!

This is a bit of a whiny post and severely lacking in my usual snarky humor, but I’ll try not take you too far into the dumps.

As the title suggests, I’m having a tough time trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. As in, why can I not write faster? Why am I not selling more books? Why am I even bothering with this whole writing thing?

Basically, I haven’t been feeling very good about my writing at all lately.

Well, my writing career anyway.

See, other than the fact that it takes me an agonizingly long time, I’m not worried about my writing. I know my writing is strong. Sure I’m a little shy about my first couple of books for various reasons, but over the past few years I have done my work and put in the words (and the edits of those words) to strengthen my storytelling skills, my character development, and my overall wordsmithery.

But I’m constantly reminded that I’m not doing well, not doing enough, not succeeding. And I’m beginning to wonder if I ever will be.

I generally try not to show off the negative side of what’s clicking around in my head, but lately it’s just been getting to me.

The first wallop to my modicum of self-confidence came when listening to a podcast in which they interviewed an author who puts out a book every month. And apparently these books aren’t crap because she is making a killing and has gobs of loyal fans who beg for more.

I want to write fast. Believe me, I do! I know I can write and edit about three books a year, plus a short story every two or three months, but I can’t seem to break past that. And in the indie world, three books a year is considered too slow.

So that podcast served as yet another reminder that I’m a slow writer and left me cursing and hating myself.

Note: In reality, I’m a slow re-writer because I want to put out the best product possible. My books tend to go through at least five drafts before heading into the final rounds of proofreading. Somehow these magic book-a-month writers are able to whip out books that only need one round of editing. My slow mind boggles.

Then there’s the constant news I hear of people who put out a book they worked a few months on, didn’t really know what they were doing, barely put any effort or thought into their cover design and “somehow” ended up selling thousands of copies in the first week.

Piss off!

I know we writers are told not to give in to comparisonitis, but it’s really hard not to when Failure seems to be your middle name in regards to the one thing you truly feel you’re good at and want to do.

I honestly don’t know what to do to improve things. I do know my backlist of books needs a revamp (new covers especially), but other than that I cannot figure out what I’m doing wrong, how I’ve gotten myself so deep into the hole of failure, and whether it’s worth trying to dig my way out of that hole.

Oh right, I said I wasn’t going to get too far into the dumps, didn’t I?

Wait, speaking of holes…

My only plan now is to keep working on my Cassie Black trilogy. I had plans to release book one this year, but can’t see the point. And not because of this mopey moment I’m going through.

See, the book would have had a fall release date, but that’s going to be right in the midst of the fisticuffs brouhaha also known as the US Presidential Election. There’s no way I’m going to try to compete with that.

I’ll probably end up releasing the book early next year (which is going to be a painful wait and a topic I’ll be covering soon). Books two and three of the trilogy will be done by then, but I’m still waffling all over the place of whether or not to do a rapid release or to spread the releases out.

Again, release strategies…another thing I can’t get right. (If you’d like to give your thoughts/advice on rapid release vs. slow release PLEASE leave a comment.)

Am I going to bother marketing the book, trying to raise your interest in the book, or do anything but release it and call it a job done? I don’t know. Right now, I can’t see why I should bother.

I mean, I like LOVE the book, it’s won a couple measly awards, and think it’s some of my strongest storytelling yet, but my efforts to get people interested in my work have proven themselves pointless too many times for me to have much marketing motivation.

Of course, I am really stubborn and really tenacious, so I may give it one more try. Because I guess that’s what I am good at…an enthusiasm for my own work and being too stupid to know when to quit.

Okay, that’s it for the whine fest.

Wait, did someone say, “Wine?!”

Again, if you have any thoughts or comments or links to discount wine clubs, toss them at me. 

***

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16 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Me?

  1. I don’t rely on writing for money, and nor do I know you or your situation, so take everything here with a truckload of salt.

    First off, I would actually call you a very fast writer.
    If you’re able to get multiple books out in a year? Then damn! Many people I’ve met (myself included) can maybe get a book out a year. Maybe. When I think of the authors I look up to, they tend to be slower writers too.

    Of course, they could probably afford to be slow.

    Regardless, the number of works you put out in a year doesn’t make you any better or worse of a writer. If someone writes twenty books they aren’t proud of, then are they more successful than the person that wrote one book they had fun with?

    But that’s part of the trick, I think: time and passion. Sure, some of the Greats of our time and before were publishing machines! And some weren’t. The biggest common denominator through and through was following a project that spoke to them, regardless of whether or not it would be marketable, not speed of writing. I mean, really, how many of landmark works followed the top marketing suggestions of the decade, and how many just did what they wanted to do?

    A good busker doesn’t need to stand outside a music hall just to attract listeners, so write what’s fun for you and an audience will pop up. Of course, marketing does play a part in this, but if you’ve written something you’re excited and passionate about, then you’ll be miles ahead of competition.

    Good luck, stay healthy, and may your funk pass soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, TGM! Yes, I can say without a doubt, that I am proud of what I do manage to produce and that there is no way I’d feel at all comfortable putting out something I’d only given one or two edits.

      As for the books-per-year issue, I get annoyed with myself that I’m writing (okay, writing and marketing) full time and can’t seem to be more productive. It just feels like more ought to be falling out of my pen. And in the indie world, writers are kind of told (even if in a round about way) that if you aren’t constantly releasing books, you’re going to fall off the radar…which only puts me in a worse mood 🤨

      Maybe the best advice is to stop listening to advice…except yours. I do appreciate your thoughts and they are a big help, so thanks once again 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear your frustrations my friend!

    From time to time I’ll get in these ruts where I feel the same way, and sometimes we just need to reach out for support, so I’m glad you did!

    You actually don’t seem to be a slow writer if you ask me. You have plenty of great work to be proud of, and you’ve got that great series coming up!

    I’m super proud of you!

    Taking your time with writing is the best thing you can do. You take the time to deliver awesome works, and it really shows in the experience.

    I’ve been going through my first draft of that scifi short I’ve been working on and had a come to jesus moment where I literally yelled at myself to slow down. The want to churn out amazing stories in little time is there for sure, but I believe taking your time with works is for the best.

    I can’t advise on release strategies as I only had the one release and that was all pre-COVID, so basically everything I learned is out the window or at least a lot of it. *sigh*

    I feel your pain friend, I feel your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I was just cursing myself because I just gave a fellow writer one of my short stories…one that has been published in a literary journal and has been edited to death by more eyes than just mine. Then I was reading through the story to practice for an audio version and found a couple errors! ARGHHHHH!!!!! I swear there are gremlins in my computer.

      Anyway, thanks for the words. I’m sure I’ll always consider myself a slow writer because it takes me so many drafts to get to the final product (and even then that’s apparently not enough…sigh). I’ve yet to figure out how people write one or two drafts and call it a job done. What word demons are they sacrificing to?

      But I also know I wouldn’t feel good about slapping up a shoddy product that might have plot holes, poor formatting, lazy word choices, blah characters, etc. I mean, I’m probably going to agonize over that story’s two or three typos for the next week.

      So, it’s slow and steady for me and I just need to learn to accept that.

      Good luck with your story! I’m working on the one I jotted down in June right now…so far I’ve spent an hour rewriting one page. I’m definitely more tortoise than hare.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can understand the feeling when you spot an error, but I’m sure there aren’t really that many, and typos are pretty regular in a book, even for ‘the great Stephen King”. But yes, we must hunt all the computer gremlins!

        LOL If you find the evil gods they are sacrificing to, please let me know as well. For stories I do write less drafts, but the drafts I do write are GRUELING and take forever. I hyperfixate on every little thing and even then I still need at least three strong rounds of edits, possibly more.

        Right, exactly! See, your head and heart are in the right place, and that’s way more important than churning out books. When I slowed down on my story I realized I hadn’t really given proper time to the character.

        I finally sat down and was like “What is life like for Rory? Who IS he? And why is he this way?” It was so illuminating and I’m grateful I hit the brakes for a moment to think it through.

        OMG you sound like me! I spent 45 minutes this morning on several paragraphs. But they were bugging me in my defense!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s always great when you step away from something and then ideas trickle in of what really needs to happen and what in the world a character needs to be doing (and why).

        Yeah, luckily short stories don’t take as many drafts, but they can be intense drafts.

        As for typos…I feel an evil sense of glee when I find them in the books of the big name publishers. Mwahhahaha!!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yeah, totally! I mean, I’m currently not working on anything else, not even Reaper, but I think since I’m so close to the finish line on this I need to do it.

        Yeah, I think two drafts besides my own and I’ll be fine, but yeah, it’s been super intense.

        Lol I do too, like haha, you’re not perfect either. *blows raspberry*

        Like

  3. Wow. It takes me several years just to finish the creative process: There’s the first draft, then the endless rewrites, additional things I keep coming up with, plot connections I didn’t make before, tweaking the characters into individuals and not stock characters–It takes a few years just to hammer everything out. Then there’s the edits and research, when needed. And of course, even as a housewife I simply don’t have time to spend hours on my writing every day, so that stretches it out.

    There’s no way I’d ever get that many books out at a time. So…I gotta wonder if these book factories are putting out good work, or just a bunch of formulaic and badly edited stories which nobody will want in a few years?

    Like

    1. Hey Nyssa! Thanks for commenting :))

      Well, according to the interview, this author has a crazy amount of fans begging for her work, but maybe they’re not picky. I did also later learn her “novels” are rarely longer than 25,000 words. Even though that’s still a lot to crank out and edit in a month, it’s pretty short and there can’t be much complexity in the plots to keep straight.

      I think the best way to keep from going nuts with comparing is to learn your own best way of working. As long as you’re actually using your writing time for writing, then who can fault you for your progress (well, except your own inner demons – haha). And I hear you about the endless rewrites…

      And of course the writing life isn’t just about writing. I barely spend a third of my work day on writing, the rest are all the dozens of other tasks that needed tended to. I do know a fair number of these people cranking out books like machines have loads of assistants doing their newsletters, social media, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you belong to (I guess online now) a writer support group? I bet you are not alone in your feelings. Now – you’ve written way more books than most of us mere mortals! If that helps, maybe not, bring on the memes… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never felt I had the time for a writers group. Knowing my extreme introvertism I’d probably never say a thing to anyone in the group. Maybe if I could just communicate by meme, I’d be fine 😂😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hang in there, Tammie. Don’t be discouraged. I think you have a lot of energy and great ideas. I have written 3 books and they are (IMO) terrible. And I don’t know when I can find the time to rewrite and edit them. The only thing I know I can do is read as much as possible and hope that when my life slows down a book will come out of me. Honestly I’d be happy to be a one and done writer, if I could ever get to that point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry, Barbara, I have at least six manuscripts from my “early” days that are so awful I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to go back and rewrite them.

      I’m not sure how your 3 books are (your other writing is lovely). As long as you’re not being overly harsh on yourself, it’s good to be honest with yourself….I’ve read a lot of “published” stuff that is horrrrrible, but I can just picture the author thinking it was the most amazing piece of fiction ever 😉 I think being able to evaluate your own work is an important step.

      And yes, reading is the best way to improve your writing….well, besides writing more…so keep at both! If you want a good book on craft, check out Wired for Story. I think it’s by Liz Cron, and it’s really good at explaining what makes a good story without being overwhelming. Every time I read it I’m filled with ideas…which can be a dangerous thing 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Tammie, for these words of encouragement and for the book recommendation. I feel like I am approaching a period where I will become more serious about writing. The books I wrote were for the No Plot No Problem program (part of NaNoWriMo) and they were a lot of fun, but they would need a lot of work to make good!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You never know, they might help inspire scenes or plot lines in your new work. I used to be pretty diligent about doing quick writing exercises once a week and some of those scraps have found their way into some of my short stories and my latest manuscript. Waste not, want not, right? 😁

        Liked by 1 person

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