Yes, it's that time of year again. Stuffed full of turkey and cheap chocolates, tipping the scales several pounds heavier by the time it's all over and skin breaking out into a spotty mess because the only veg we've consumed not covered in either goose fat or a honey glaze is an evil looking brussel sprout. We all (don't deny it) make promises to be better in the coming year. Eat less, eat better, move more, drink less (more?) wine, be kinder, get in touch with one's inner yin (or is it yan?), save the planet or at least a puppy. Of course, all this falls by the wayside by 2 January because who wants to waste that last bottle of wine? And we may as well finish the chocolates as they were a gift, after all...
Been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
Only this time it's different. Really, it is.
This past year has been a tumultuous one, and that's putting it mildly. I threw in the day job in March. I felt ground-down by years of working in HR. Believe me, HR is not about being fluffy and "helping people". With the mortgage gone, there was space in my and Mr R's lives for things to change and for me change that meant trying to flex my writing muscle. And I love it. Or most of it. I love creating a cast of characters and getting to know them as well as I know myself. I'm proud to have written and indie published two full size novels which have garnered some good reviews (the less friendly ones just show that I didn't just ask my friends, neighbour and neighbour's cat to leave reviews). A bad review or two validates the good ones. That's my view and I'm sticking to it. I've made some wonderful friends, both online and in person. These are mainly MM authors, with whom I can share my frustrations, vent or just ask questions of. We all tap into each other's knowledge and experience although at the moment I seem to be doing more of the tapping as I'm still feeling my way, and making mistakes. It's been full-on, and I'm tired, so a break over Christmas is much needed in order to recharge my batteries so that I can make the changes I need to as we go into 2016.
I'm not going to call the changes I am going to make New Year Resolutions, because you call any planned change that at this time of year and it's doomed to failure. It's more of a realignment. So, in no particular order:
- Stop the energy and time wasting comparisons with other authors . So many of us do it, I read it in the closed FB and other groups. It's depressing, all it does it make one (me) question ones (my) abilities as a writer. I know can write and tell a damn good story (I'm no going for false modesty) because I've had enough positive feedback to convince me of that. But there are times when I question my abilities and I know I'm not alone in thinking that. I will be telling myself, with conviction, that I write A E Ryecart and I will do my best to keep that in the forefront of my mind. I am not Authors X, Y or Z and wishing I wrote more like them is pointless. Because I'm not them.
- Desist from telling myself I have to write faster, get the books out quicker. It's part of the comparison thing. I panic when I see Popular Author A has another book out - a month or less after the last one, which received a gazillion 5 star reviews. How can they do it? Why can't I? What's their secret? Panic, panic, panic...
- Plan better. This will be hard because I'm not one of those people who plan everything to the Nth degree. I'm big picture, my eye for detail is not always as it should be (this trait got me into trouble more than once in the thrill-a-minute world of HR). This means releasing the books at the right time, not just because they're done and I need to get them out now, now, now, to keep up with Popular Author A.
- Learn how to format, there are tools for doing it so that should be straight forward - except that I have not one techie bone in my body, so these have the whiff of famous last words about them. It'll save me a ton of money - nuff said.
- Be more relaxed about my writing. It's easy for it to take over, and most of the time I'm happy for it to because I love it, most of the time. This means not feeling edgy if I spend time reading for the sheer pleasure, or doing or thinking about stuff that isn't in some way writing connected. In other words, sometimes just walking away from the keyboard and notebook and not feeling bad about it.
There are loads more I could include but I think you see how I'm thinking. I'm off to drink good coffee and eat yummy cake with a friend, now. We'll gossip and have a laugh. See, there is more to life than just writing. Allegedly.
A E Ryecart
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