Time Off and Time On

Howdy folks! It is I, the sporadic blogger and queen of reinvention! Today, I'm planning to go into a little detail about why exactly I'm taking some time off from writing (publishing, actually, but more on that below) and some of the ups and downs of author life. I'm going to be dispensing some hot sports opinions about creativity, business, and life in general, so be warned, if you're a creator or business person or alive, you might find yourself vehemently disagreeing with what I have to say. That's fine, these are my opinions and you don't need to share them, but please don't try to convince me that I'm wrong or worse, try to justify yourself to me. I'm not here to tear others down. This is self-indulgent. This is all about me. Don't try to make it about you.

To begin, a bit of self-promotional spam: This week I published The Needs of the Many, which is the final book in my latest series. This is my 19th published work, 13th full length novel, and completes my 3rd series. All of which has happened within 6 years since finally deciding I was going to publish my first ebook. To say that I'm deserving of a break is an understatement.

Which brings me to my first point. A lot of authors I know don't understand that this is a voluntary break. This is something I'm doing because I want to, not because I have run out of ideas or I'm experiencing some sort of writer's block. Believe me, the ideas are there and it is VERY tough to ignore them at the moment, but I have to. For my own good.

You see, what folks don't seem to understand is that although writing is an important part of who I am, it isn't my whole life. Burnout isn't something we should work through, it's a warning that too much of a good thing is no bueno. I've had people offer me sympathetic words and well wishes. Some have been genuine and some condescending, but in all cases, it's taken all of my restraint not to verbally shake them until they see reason.

I suspect a lot of this has to do with the advice I touched on in a previous post about writing everyday. In that post I said writing everyday is fine if that works for you, but really, it doesn't work for everyone. Think about it this way, do you work? Do you take vacations from work? If I was an accountant and I decided to take some time off to go to Disneyland, would you offer me condolences and say "I hope you start enjoying accounting again soon!"? Of course not because that is dumb.

Okay, you say, but a job is something you need to do to pay the bills, of course it's going to get tedious. Writing is fun. Writing is life. If you lose your passion, what have you got?

Well, hoo boy, there's a lot in that statement above that can be addressed. And yes, I've heard all of that before. First off, okay, so what if writing is a hobby? Am I not allowed to decide to switch hobbies? At the moment, I've gotten back into art, specifically drawing. About 15 years ago this was a huge passion of mine and it all but replaced writing around 2005 (when I abandoned the early version of The Eyes of The Sun due largely to Hurricane Katrina). All through my teens, I was passionate about music and planned to make that my life. What I'm saying is that hobbies can come and go. If you decide not to do something for a while, you haven't lost your passion.

But that bit about writing not being a job? Yeah... I've heard that one too. Especially back when I quit my job to write full time. People were jealous that I "didn't have to work anymore."

Heh.

Hoo.

Huh.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

What I don't think most people realize is that being a self-employed author is not one full time job. It's about 4 or 5 full time jobs, most of which don't pay. Some of those jobs are fun. Aside from writing, I very much enjoy creating covers. I don't mind editing and yes, the dreaded description can be a pain, but overall, making a book, from cover to cover, is fun.

What comes next, for me, is not.

You see, to become a successful business, you need to think like a businessperson. I am not, nor will I ever be, someone who enjoys this. It may be ultra pretentious to admit, but I am an artist. I enjoy creating and being creative. For the last 4 years, I've had to try and balance my creativity with strategic planning, marketing, budgeting, and generally found that my dislike of such had grown.

What I did next was something some people saw as a step backwards. I got a job. A job that does not use my artistic side. A job that I enjoy immensely despite not having anything to do with my "artistic passion." I got a job so that my "artistic passion" no longer had to be a job. Because when it did, it sucked. And I hated it.

Yes, I started to hate writing.

So I cut out the parts I don't like. I sat down and had an honest heart to heart with myself and found I'm a person, not a business.

If this means I never reach commercial success, all the better. I'm happy to have the extra income from my books, but I'm even happier when all I have to do is declare it on my taxes. I know there are folks who define success by how much money one makes or how high up the charts one climbs. For them, that's great. I wish them the best of luck (and the understanding that luck plays a huge part in what they are attempting), but I don't expect the same.

But I do still plan to help the community, specifically the smaller folks who are deserving and for whom luck hasn't yet touched. Which is why I'll continue to host Bookworms Discover as long as I've got authors to share. But again, I'm not a business, so Bookworms Discover will continue to be a grassroots, diy venture with a $0 budget.

So what happens now? Well, I'd like to reiterate that I have NOT given up writing. I am taking a small break from publishing because I am not a machine. I WILL publish more books in the future, but I will treat them like any other artistic endeavor and focus on the parts I enjoy most.

In the meantime, I will continue to draw and share my scribbles on social media and here on this blog. In fact, what I have planned is to begin a short series where I post one of my doodles along with a small bit of flash fiction (very short stories, usually under 1000 words) inspired by what I drew. I've already got my first image, a beautiful siren from the deep sea, so be on the lookout for that.

And to those who have asked if I'm planning to do anything commercial with my drawing, well... Please see above.



Comments

  1. Anything you do will be great with me. You should live your passion and if it changes or wants go with it. I love that you have the conviction of your beliefs. This is YOUR LIFE not anyone else's. Live your Joy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nothing wrong with giving yourself time-off.

    ReplyDelete

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