This is where I’m stuck. I know many of you will say it’s not about money. I should just be happy people are reading my books, and maybe that's true. But I am no longer contributing to the welfare of my family. My daughter will graduate from high school this year, and I am doing NOTHING to contribute to the cost of furthering her education.
I'd also like to be clear that loss of income is only part of my current writing block. There's more to it than that, including a certain amount of disappointment in myself, frustration with the industry, disillusionment with my genre, being burned out on marketing, and a lot of rage and helplessness over the state of the world. (I'd hoped that writing Spare the Rod would give me some catharsis on this last point, but it wasn't enough.)
Of course, Covid played its part too. I somehow cranked out the final Heretic Doms Club book in record time (for me) during the first two months of lockdown. I then pulled out a trunked novel (Lost Ship of the Tucker Rebellion, co-written with Cari Z) and whipped it into shape. And then…
I have done absolutely nothing since summer of 2020.
(Well, technically I wrote exactly four scenes of a new novel. But four scenes over the course of a year is nothing to celebrate.)
So what now?
This brings me full circle to the beginning of this post. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to reclaim that success I had, but I do know that if I have any chance of doing so, it means I need to get back to writing. And yet I have zero motivation because I’m not convinced that any amount of work (at my writing pace) will ever make a difference. Hence my search for a writing community, and my purchase of Burnout, both of which led me to consider re-defining my definitions of success and failure.
Here’s what I wrote in my journal this morning:
· Making more money than I spend on frivolous crap like Starbucks (I should just spend less, but that's so much easier said than done.)
· Knowing I’ve reached readers and made at least a few of them think about something in a new way
· Coloring outside the lines at will
· Cranking out cookie-cutter stories just so I can publish fast (I can pretend like this is about my standards, but the truth is, I couldn't write that fast even if I wanted to.)