TRUTH BOMB: Sometimes (okay, lots of times) I Want To Quit

 

quitterLately I’ve been asking myself this question:

What would happen if I were to quit writing?

I think every writer gets to this point eventually (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). The new shiny has worn off. The over-the-moon-I’m-so-in-love-with-what-I’m-doing feeling goes away. Inspiration dries up to nothing more than a brittle bag of bones that if you shake together real hard might amount to a paragraph or two. And we’re not talking Hemingwayesqe brilliance that makes up for the scant word-count. We’re talking shaky drivel that makes I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGR look like soul-stealing genius.  

And so I ask myself, what would happen if I were to quit?

Life would immediately become simpler. I wouldn’t have to structure my days so intensely. Family time wouldn’t feel so urgent because writing wouldn’t be putting any demands on our schedule. I could cook and clean and play when I want to. I could spend more time with my friends. I could sew again – a luxury I haven’t enjoyed in years.

I wouldn’t have to brace myself for as many disappointments. Sure, life will still throw its curveballs, but anybody who writes – and puts their writing into the world – has stories about unrealized dreams and harsh criticisms and slaughtered expectations. Anybody who writes – and puts their writing into the world – can tell you what it’s like to try and muddle through a stressful dichotomy of feelings as we watch our colleagues experience success: genuine and real joy for their moment in the sun, and genuine heartache and jealousy while we wonder when – and if – our time will come.  

But would I be satisfied if I quit? Would I be able to look at my little office without regret, knowing the sacrifices we’ve already made so I could pursue this dream? Would there be a murky place in the back of my brain filled with the ghosts of books not yet written? And could I hold my head up high without shame when asked why I gave up my dream?

This job is hard. Not physically hard like ranching or farming, but hard in the head. The doubt I feel when I look at a blank screen that it’s my job to fill with meaningful words is damn near crippling. And when I get my priorities fucked up and think about the pay-out in terms of cash instead of the satisfaction of having created art, I honestly want to slam my hand in a car door. Pennies per hour people. That’s what I make, on a good day. Pennies per freaking hour.

But I am blessed. Because I have a husband who supports me in the most loving, sacrificial way. Blessed because I have children who don’t question what I do for work, and who sweetly joke about the fact that they make more for their allowance than I do for my job (true story, and most days I can laugh about that). I am blessed because I have readers who genuinely love the books I have written, and they are good to me. Thanks to social media, they give me encouragement on almost a daily basis. 

I am blessed.

If I were to quit, the world wouldn’t quit spinning. The stars wouldn’t fall from the sky. The earth wouldn’t split in two and nobody would drown a bag of kittens. Life would pretty much go on the same as it has for the past ever and ever.

But I would have quit. And I would carry that fact around with me, like a scar on my soul. Quitting would be easier, for sure. And for awhile, quitting would even feel good. But eventually I know I would always look back at that moment when I finally gave in and said, “I’m done,” and wonder What if? What if I’d pulled on my big girl panties and just fucking kept at it? 

And the answers to those what ifs give me the strength I need to plow ahead.

Myndi

 

Thrifty Tuesday: Setting Up Shop

Sometimes Tuesdays can be just as thrift as Thursdays. Lookit:

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We recently converted our basement into an office for me. Before, my desk was in our bedroom, which was a problematic because I love to nap, and we have the world’s most comfortable bed, and even though I’d try and try and try to ignore its siren song…

it would inevitably win.

So, down to the basement I went, which is great for more than one reason. Obviously, no bed; less chance at napping (although, the ancient sofa we have down here has a siren song of its own. Not as seductive or powerful as our bed’s, but still…). There are toys to occupy the Took for when I need to work and she’s not napping (what is it with littles and their ability to shrug off naptime like a duck shrugs off water?). And there are walls. Blank walls that want, SO BADLY to become a part of my writing process.

The main wall is soon to be painted with chalkboard paint to aid in just that (a place to plot, yes?), but my little desk nook needed something else. Something sort-of pretty. So when I stumbled on these bad-boys, I was elated! Aren’t they just perfect? Thrifty Momma for the win!

Have you been feeling thrifty lately? Any fantastic finds that brightened your life a little? Do you thrift when decorating? Do share!

myndiorange

p.s. Do you see the little bookmark in the pic? It’s made from a page of the rough draft of RECKONING, the third book of the Shrilugh Saga. If you comment here, you’ll have a chance to win that sucker. What are you waiting for?

Nurturing the Author’s Soul

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I can’t speak for every writer out there, but I know that for myself, I have a love-hate relationship with this profession. It’s just how my creative process works. One day I’ll be flying high, confident in my ability to use words to paint pictures. The next I’ll be rolling low, fighting with myself not to trash everything I’ve ever written. Some nights I can stay up until 3am plugging away, lost in a world of my own making. Other nights I fall into fitful sleep convinced that I’m a hack who should do the world a favor and hide under a rock.

It’s not exactly a steady-as-she-goes gig, this writing thing.

I’m not looking for sympathy here, and this isn’t a not-so-subtle cry for you to tell me how fabulous my books are. This is more of a Public Service Announcement.

If other writers are like me (and I suspect many of them are…we’re a goofy sort-of similar bunch), when we find ourselves at those low points, one of the things we do to buoy ourselves up is to pour over the kind words we’ve gotten from those who dig our work. Words like, “I stayed up till 3 am, I couldn’t put it down,” and “When is your next book coming?” have a sort of nutritional value to the writer’s soul. They give us strength, the kind we can’t provide for ourselves.

This is one reason why reviews are so important. Of course they’re fantastic for helping to sell our books – reviews are guideposts to for new readers to follow, and they do – but along with that, a good, honest review has the power to keep an author afloat when they’re flailing in a stormy sea of self doubt. A good, honest review tells the author - Look, you did it once before. You can do it again.

Today, think about an author you love. Indie pub, self-pub, trad-pub, it doesn’t matter. Pick one, and go leave an honest review. It doesn’t have to be a five star review, it just needs to be honest. And while I think that all reviews – even negative ones – serve a a good purpose, make today about positivity. Find an author who deserves a good word, and lift them up a little. There will be plenty of time tomorrow for negative reviews.

Big love,

Myndi

p.s. If you’re feeling super ambitious, copy and paste your review on multiple sites. Amazon is many people’s go-to place to leave reviews, but Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, iTunes and others like them are great places to drop a line or two, also.

p.p.s. The voting is still open for IndieReCon’s 2014 Best Indie Novel Award. If you haven’t voted yet, please go here and cast your vote. Voting ends at 7pm on the 27th. Thanks!

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