To Quit or Not to Quit?
That has indeed been the question for the past couple of weeks… I’ve stated in many interviews over the years that I don’t suffer from Writer’s Block in the traditional sense of that problem. Ideas seem to be endless for me, and I diligently outline the stories and file them away for future use. However, that said, I have had a different kind of creative crisis, one that’s had a wide-reaching affect on my psyche, even if hasn’t affected anyone else. (As it shouldn’t of course!) In recent months I’ve watched my work pretty much be ignored, or in a few instances fall prey to the mentality that no one deserves to have too much praise, so let’s get those nice book ratings down… all in all, it’s a bit pointless and petty, but still – too much of this crap can discourage anyone.
Luckily, ten years in this business has allowed me to know some pretty exceptional and talented people. So, when this crisis of doubt reached critical level–some of those people reached out to me with wisdom, caring, and good advice that was more than welcome. Tina Donahue, a talented and truly wonderful lady, took the time to share not only her experience, but her real concern. My amazing editor, Penny Barber, who it seems won’t let me quit because she see some talent here, even on the dark days and despite the fact that I use too many words! Kayelle Allen, who I’ve known a long time and respect immensely. Nicole Morgan, friend and writer, with a kind heart and a kick-ass attitude. You’ve each reminded me of the many reasons we all do this, and that sometimes, even in the worst moments, things are not always irrevocably lost.
I’ve talked a lot over the past year about my general disdain over the way “authors” often behave, and the generally deplorable kinds of crap books many people are pushing since the flood gates were thrown open last year by EL James’ success with a set of those deplorable books. At the end of the day, people will read what they choose to read–and the advice I was given to dumb down my books, or sex them up–that’s just shit advice from publishers who want to rake in more money. Between the new breed of authors who have no clue about proper decorum and professionalism, and the lowering of the reading audience’s expectations, it’s been a frustrating period.
So, after much struggle and soul-searching, decisions needed to be made. Tentative as they are right now, those decisions have been made. I have no intention of “dumbing down” my writing, sorry, some of you will have to pull out a dictionary occasionally, assuming you still own one–if not, there are lots online for immediate reference. I’m also not going to “sex up” books that don’t work that way. I fully expect this to make me even less popular than I am now, but maybe those who do read my books will find they’ve improved some for the grounding in my creative soul now.
The first order of business is to abandon, at least for now, the old works that I was trying to clear away–and growing increasingly UNproductive and UNhappy each day as I tried to complete them. Today I began work on the first wholly new story I’ve done this year. I’ve already surpassed the word count goal I set for myself, and the story is not remotely like others in my catalogue, so I’m going to enjoy it even if it doesn’t set the reading public on fire should it ever be released. Small steps, but I’m going to try my best to find what works for me again.
There’s also someone very special who’s taught me more in a few months about faith, hope, and vision than anyone I’ve ever known. He is a kind, generous, and strong man who speaks from his heart and Lights the darkness in many ways. I’m grateful every day for his friendship and love.
So, here we are–a small voice in a sea of many, but at least I’m not drowning anymore. Thank you to the friends who have never lost faith, especially when I had none of my own to keep me moving forward. God bless you all, and may He touch your hearts with happiness and your lives with the success you want and deserve.