"Welcome to the party, Pal"
I was trying to remember that saying- something about how hard it is to make good habits stick you know?- but all I could remember were the words "die hard." Doing a google search brought up a bunch of quotes from the movie DIE HARD and almost every one of them felt somehow appropriate.
The phrase is actually: "Old habits die hard." Which isn't exactly what I was feeling either. It's more like "starting new habits is like having selective Alzheimers." Which might not make a bunch of sense at first or just feel like the reverse of "old habits die hard" but it's different. Saying old habits die hard deals more with quitting something you know is bad for you or implies that there's always some habit in the way of accomplishing your dreams. But sometimes it's just forgetfulness, or life itself that gets in the way and keeps you from taking on new good habits. New habits are these haunting things that we feel like we should remember but can't quite grasp what it was we're supposed to be doing until someone reminds us of it somehow and it creates this internal panic and dread that fills us with guilt and sorrow. "How could I forget that amazing thing?" but the next day we forget again. And again. And again. And now there is a bad habit of forgetting, a new habit of feeling bad about this thing I never do, but should.
This is a long dramatic way to try and explain (justify?) why it's been a year since I last wrote anything on this website, or my author page, or kept the book review goal going. I haven't written anything in almost a year- no short story, or poetry or drafting a new project-nothing. I haven't even read a single book since the last blog post.
I like to blame the pandemic a lot which is honestly a majority of the problem but there';s been a whole lot more to it than just that. First of all life itself took lots of twists and turns. My teenagers started suffering from anxiety and depression which began taking up a lot of my time and energy, we spent 4 months trying to sell our house, we took in 2 exchange students the week before we moved, the move was without me while I was at a conference in AZ, the move didn't go smoothly and we have been trying to unpack while still doing school and work for the past month etc. Life is just time consuming and difficult.
I always wondered how people could say they just couldn't find time for writing because I always made time. I could write on my phone while in the line at the grocery store or sitting in the car in traffic. Writting was always on my mind and always an option for me. But suddenly life didn't allow a single second to think about anything else. or If I did find time I was so consumed and distracted with thoughts about my kids, our house, and all the things that were making us unhappy, that I would write stupid sentences that kept being deleted over and over again. I have about 20 untitled documents that only have one sentence in them even though it may have been the 50th sentence written and deleted.
It was more than just life though. It was my book itself that dragged me down. There were a few encounters with certain people in the publishing industry who had really been hard to work with. They were blunt, offensive, and hard to communicate with. I found myself avoiding any interactions with the marketing team because it caused a lot of anxiety in my life. I decided to put all my energy into book two because everything I had heard suggested that it was the best advertising you could do-publish another book.
I worked with my acquiring editor and did two passes then with the amazing editor I had requested and we did our first pass of edits. During this time someone else was struggling to get along with the marketing team and then the marketing people just up and left. I was relieved by some of the departures feeling more safe to talk and interact with the publishing group again without the fear of being attacked. I continued on my way with edits when I received a message from the owner of the publisher that they were no longer going to honor the contract for book 2. It was so out of the blue I was devastated. My editors didn't even know anything about it. With a marketing team gone that made the most sense to me that they were trying to cut corners with a lot of stuff but it was really hard to not take some of the things he said personally. His reasons were not contractual and I knew I could fight him on it but instead I just cried for days. And days.
Until I found out others had been given the same letter. Lots of authors were cut for uncontractural reasons that would not have held up lawfully. Lots were sad and having a hard time writing again so their depressing attitude was just "welcome to the party" instead of any sort of helpful. So I joined the party and moped about my life and missing the days I loved to write.
"Oh you're in charge? Well I got some news for you Dwayne, from up here it doesn't look like you're in charge of Jack!"
Next I got angry, like the 5 stages of grief type order. I swore I'd never write and that my ancestors would someday find all my manuscripts after I die and get rich and famous without me. How nice of me! I demanded rights to both books and had an entire speech planned for when they tried to fight me. I replayed it in my head all day long and guns were ready. But they didn't fight me. They just handed over the papers to sign.
I tried to tell myself that this was a good thing. I'll self publish and get 100% of the money now. But in all honesty it still stung and terrified the crap out of me. I continued to see writing as this thing I once did but I have to live my life right now.
"For there were no more worlds to conquer." I'd show them! I was never going to write again.
I'd occasionally get a new review or an email from someone liking my book and asking about the second one and it would make me want to write again but feel unable to all over again. I still haven't signed the documents giving me the rights to my book back. I'm so scared that I'm not going to be able to do it. I barely know how to do the amazon author portal page, I absolutely HATE newsletters (writing them and reading them- sorry guys!) which is how all the successful self pub. authors I know get their readers. And that's the after part- what about proofreaders and isbn numbers and cover design and formatters? *hyperventilating again*
"We're going to need a few more FBI guys I guess."
Good news is I have an amazing critique group. They've been so supportive and helpful even when I haven't attended in months. They've all reassured me that they will help me through the process. Yesterday one of them shared an awesome cover design artist and it was everything I had hoped for. Her covers were beautiful and inspiring and just what I needed to kick my butt into gear!
"Now I have a machine gun! Ho,Ho,Ho!"
And so here's the news! The whole reason for this post! I'm so excited to share that I have this artist scheduled for December for book one- revamped and re-released! And April for book two finally meeting the world!!!! I can't wait to get started on learning everything about the self publishing world and having control over my own career! Thanks for sticking with me and supporting me in this crazy journey! I'm excited to find joy in being an author again and sharing my messages and stories with the world!
"Yippee-ki-yay..." (sorry this is a clean post- and I actually don't cuss in real life either