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.