In this world of writing and promo and getting yourself out there, I've learned a bunch of things. Don't mistake this post for complaining. I'm not. I'm just sharing some of the joys and frustrations I've picked up along the way.
1. Those voices in my head will not shut up.
Doesn't matter if my eyes are watering, if the phone is ringing, or if I have to get other work done. Nope, those voices just won't hush. And when they really want to be known, the shout at the same time. Yeah, there are times when I swear that I can't even hear myself talk.
2. Sales mean nothing. Reviews mean nothing.
Sounds a bit negative. It's really not. I happened to watch a show about Star Wars. Now lots of people have mixed emotions about the whole set of movies. Most love the first set and deal with the second set. Those who love it, LOVE it. Those who hate certain ones, HATE it. Now what's that got to do with sales? Plenty. The Star Wars movies have made a lot of money. So they must be great, right? Not necesarily. The critics lambasted the first one (the one with Anakin as a little boy). Heck, they said it was poorly acted. Now, I've seen all six movies. I have seen good and bad in all six. Does that make them great movies because they made money? Does that make them bad because the critics didn't like all of them? Nope. And this is something that's been a bitter pill for me to swallow, its one person's opinion. What you think is fabulous may not be what someone else thinks is wonderful. And yanno, that's ok. Really.
3. No one is perfect right out of the starting gate.
Sorry, and this applies to my favorite sport of NASCAR. (That includes you, Jimmie Johnson) No one is ever perfect with the very first book, first race, first at bat, any of that. We all have to learn and grow and even if you are one of those fluke-ish people who do hit it big, there's this little matter of the one-hit-wonder. And if you manage to get past two, then there's the matter of becoming stagnant. Yup, just because that first book was a smash (ask Truman Capote about this), doesn't mean everything else you touch will be gold. It's a tough world out there and no one has it easy.
4. When you fall, dust yourself off and start running again.
Sounds pretty simple, but I've had lots of conversations with authors who have those moments where they think that the rest of the world is out to get them or maybe they want to give up. DON"T DO IT!!!! I mean it. I've learned that if you give in and plop over, then you've let the nay-sayers win. I'm not gonna let that happen. I've come close to saying I'm done out loud, but then I decide it isn't worth it to give up. I had a wise friend say to me, she wanted to throw in the towel but if she gave up writing, then what the heck else would she do. I'm so there.
Now don't get me wrong, I review. I know what it feels like to get a book and find out it's nothing like I expected in a great way...I also know what it feels like to read one that's a real lemon, too. But I have to remember, what is my favorite won't be yours. And that's fine. It's how it should be. If we all liked the same things, then the world would be pretty darn bland.
But I've probably bored you. Oh well. It's writing. It's not always pretty and not always up. There are times when I've wanted to cry and lots of times when I want to tell the characters to just hush, but then I have a reader tell me my story really touched them and that makes it all worth it.
What do you think? What have you learned?