I must admit that it did look quite bleak for a while. My worst nightmare nearly came true. I almost became another statistic, another indie-author oh so close to packing it in and chalking it up to tough luck and a good try made. I had read somewhere very early into my writing “career” that close to 98% of indie-authors or self-published authors would be extinct after two years. I am happy to report that I have pulled myself out of the very bitter and deep pit of despair and self-loathing, and have righted the ship, more or less. All I can say is it sure is good to be back doing what I love to do.
Early 2012: two novels under my belt and five years since I had begun writing. I was still hanging around despite relative obscurity. Then, rather than continuing along in my six book series and staying the course, I decided, in my infinite wisdom (ineptness), to “take a break” from my book series and write a completely different, stand-alone novel that had been one of my very first ideas. Initially, things seemed to be moving along very well with this new novel, and I was pleased with my progress to that point. Then, catastrophe. Unbeknownst to me, my notes for that particular book were incomplete, specifically the ending, and try as I might to locate anything remotely close to the end of my story turned up zeroes.
Welcome, doubt. Doubt can be one of the worst things an author can feel, and it hit me hard. I began to question whether or not I could finish my new novel and whether I could write anything other than the fantasy adventure genre I had previously written. Undaunted and stubbornly determined to finish what I’d started, I refused to give up and continued on with this new book. Looking back now, that was the biggest mistake I could’ve made. It’s very ironic how one of my biggest strengths, my stubbornness and determination, was actually working against me. Rather than applying this determination to my previous book series and simply complete the entire thing before moving on to something different, I refused to give in to the obvious block that now faced me. In hindsight, I should have given up on the new book, filed it away for another day, and gotten back to where I’d left off.
But I couldn’t accept giving up. To me, it felt like quitting, and I’m not a quitter. However, as I experienced, quitting something that is keeping you pinned down in a deep rut is sometimes your best option. It can be your only option if you don’t want to severely stunt your progress. But because of my inexperience as a writer, I stubbornly refused to throw in the towel, and what should have taken 3-4 months had taken nearly TWO YEARS! Two years of nothing. Two years of an incomplete manuscript and a confidence severely damaged. It was for me, as a fledgling author, the worst two year stretch of my life.
The nice thing about living, however, is that we can always choose our next move no matter what the score is. I could’ve chosen to wallow in self-pity and depression or to snap out of it already, pick myself up, dust myself and my ego off, and get to work. And I’m happy to say that that is exactly what I chose (the latter.) So, here I am writing in my blog once more, though I had grandiosely proclaimed months ago that doing such a thing was a “waste of time.” Man, was I really that dense?
It’s always hard to think that you can still grow up, even in your very, very early forties, but it is also comforting to realize it as well. Here’s to more periods of growth, less periods of stubborn denial, and an abundance of words typed and stories created. It sure is nice to be back.