As I said in my first post, I’m a published author. One might think that would make it easy for me to keep writing.

For a long time, it did. I could write the first draft of a full-length novel in six weeks or less, and I often had more than one writing project going at a time because writing excited me so much that the ideas never seemed to dry up.

Until they dried up.

For a few years, I loved getting published, but then realized my sales weren’t great. Since my publishers expected me to sell books, and I at least hoped to even if I didn’t completely expect it, the poor sales caused me to lose some of my motivation for writing. I got hung up on trying to write things that would sell, instead of things I wanted to write.

In fall 2014, something happened that triggered memories of some traumatic things that had happened to me when I was younger. And the thing that happened was, itself, traumatic. That started causing me to have flashbacks and panic attacks whenever I tried to write a certain type of scene in my adult romances. Between that and the sales issue, I gave up writing anything under that pen name.

But not having that pen name caused me to put too much pressure on myself to write the young adult fiction I did under my other pen name. That pressure caused me to start writing poorly, which led to books being rejected that might have been accepted had I paid more attention to quality rather than whether it would bring me money.

2018 is the first time in nine years that I’ve had nothing under contract with any publishers. And it’s kind of freeing not to have to stress about whether my books will sell, whether I’m marketing correctly, and so on. Of course I’m still marketing and promoting the books that are already on the market, but that doesn’t feel like as much pressure as writing new things and trying to get people to buy them.

Meanwhile, I’m writing for fun again, which is how I started. I’ve completed a novel and several short stories, and even though I catch myself sometimes tensing up over whether I can write something good again, for the most part I’m enjoying myself.

Someday, I hope to have more things published. But for now, I’ve given myself permission to write because I want to, rather than because I feel like I have to, and I think that’s making a huge difference in what I write.

16 thoughts on “Not Writing

  1. Kemkem says:

    Good for you for starting to write for fun again. I always pictured myself as the next Jeffrey Archer or Sidney Sheldon or even Jackie Collins :-). I wrote a novel of fiction a few years ago and decided to put it on Amazon with no knowledge of anything about marketing. It fell flat but l was glad l did it. Every so often, I get a sale and l’m stoked at the teensy weensy profit. Good luck :-).

    1. riverflowhealing says:

      I’ve had one or two things on Amazon, but for myself it’s better to work with a publisher. They pay me, and I don’t have to do all of the marketing alone. But sometimes even having that additional marketing hasn’t helped…

  2. Beth Lauzier says:

    I’m so glad you’re writing again. This is something I struggled with, writing to sell or write for fun. It took me awhile but I’ve found my place in the writing world. I hope you keep it up and just have fun doing it.

    1. riverflowhealing says:

      Thank you!

  3. I feel your pain. I know what it is to be published and not have many sales and to try and write something out of your comfort zone. I am passionate about YA fantasy but a couple of years ago I took on a Middle grade writing project that was a series of six books. The first couple of books came easy but then around the fifth book they started to get hard. It took me months longer to finish the last two books than it should have and my YA writing has suffered too. I finally finished the sixth book this past week and as soon as its polished and sent to the publisher I look forward to getting back to my passion, YA Fantasy.

    1. riverflowhealing says:

      YA urban fantasy is one of my preferred things to write too. My publisher told me last year they aren’t accepting fantasy from me anymore because it doesn’t sell well, so they’ll only take contemporary from me. (That might be true for other authors as well, I don’t know for sure.) The stuff I used to write wasn’t out of my comfort zone at that time, but it is now.

  4. Paul Taubman says:

    Glad you are back to writing as something you want to do. Trying to force something – anything – takes the joy out the process. And then it becomes drudgery!

    1. riverflowhealing says:

      Exactly!

  5. Jean says:

    I had/have the same pressure issues. I’m trying to relax and write for the fun but it’s hard when you are aiming to create a steady income from the writing. Glad you are back at it.

    1. riverflowhealing says:

      Thank you.

  6. SHANE says:

    this is a great description of the cycles of creativity and not getting trapped in what feels like bog of eternal stench

    1. riverflowhealing says:

      Thanks, and thank you for referencing my favorite movie!

  7. SO glad you are writing again and feeling free!
    I am a fledging romance author, which means I used to write fan fiction & now have one novella I wrote on Amazon. But I can’t write love scenes. So I am almost sure I will writing sweet, traditional romances if I continue. And I have a traumatic history, too. So I totally get where you’re coming from and wish you the best in your writing in the future. <3

    1. riverflowhealing says:

      Thank you, and best of luck to you as well!

  8. Elisa says:

    Writing for fun can be freeing and you ever know where your next awesome book idea will come from.
    For now, enjoy the journey.

  9. Martha says:

    Glad you are back writing because you want to! I’m sure the words will flow much easier and you will be selling wonderful books once again!

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