Being a Published Author Killed My Will to Write
Trying to align my want and my deadlines crushed the joy I once had
This weekend I sent my publisher an email telling them that I would be unable to fulfill my contract for my fourth book. I’m about two-thirds done with the manuscript, but I cannot find the motivation to finish it.
I’m my Biggest Obstacle. I’m Aware.
I mean, there are a lot of factors involved, and I am painfully aware that they all revolve around me in one way or another.
I am not prolific enough to maintain my audience. Given that I have easily a 2–3 year gap between books, yeah, I get it. It’s hard to keep people interested in my stories, if I’m not giving them anything to read. And if I write outside this alt world I built, my primary audience isn’t interested. Even though everything I write falls into the paranormal thriller genre. Not Zoe and crew? Crickets.
I feel like what sells well isn’t something I can manage with my books. Every time I try, my writing stalls. My characters don’t want it, and if I’m honest, I don’t either. And while I realize my first audience is myself, I would’ve loved it if more people outside of my circle of friends liked it, too.
It’s frustrating, because I can write. All of my work has won awards. All my judge feedback is positive. But the ROI for ads, giveaways and social media posts is non-existent. I cannot even give my books away in exchange for a review.
And if you’re a published author, you know two things: 1) Reviews are life (in so much that more reviews will help get better exposure options like Bookbub’s and Amazon’s newsletters), and 2) Getting people to leave reviews, even when they promise they will, is worse than pulling teeth in the Middle Ages.
My health is… a thing. Many things, really. It’s really hard to focus on anything when you are in chronic pain from fibromyalgia. Or my thyroid is being obnoxious (alternately, my body occasionally likes to think the Swiss cheese remains of that little butterfly body part is a foreign object and must be killed right now). Or how degenerative disc disease has forced me to use a cane and refuses to let me stand for longer than 20 minutes.
Getting diagnosed with ADHD and starting a medication regime has helped, but it’s only been a year, and my brain is not interested in hyperfixating on this novel. Or any other real writing, given how little I post here on Medium or Vocal.
And we’re not even going to touch on the disaster that is my current mental health. It’s just another example of my excitement over something that no one else cares about, and I am not in the headspace where the downward spiral of my career is anything but a downer.
So I’m Done. For Now.
Am I done telling stories? No, but right now, I’m done writing them down to be shared with other people. Maybe I’ll have a comeback, but man, don’t hold your breath.
Another place that will have my focus for now is my burgeoning series, “Your Mom PSA”, which I write Monday through Friday through my associated substack newsletter. If you want positive motivational emails in your inbox, you should sign up at my website today!
Check out these posts I've written for this newsletter.
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