Last week, I attended the 20booksto50K conference in Las Vegas.
For me, the conference was a chance to enjoy sunshine, the companionship of other indie writers, and perhaps more importantly, to figure out why I met none of my production goals this year.
In January, I left my day job (yes, again) so that I could write full-time. But as spring turned to summer, I hadn’t written the three books in my cozy mystery series that I planned to, and my attempt to write a fourth book in my Celebration House series was also failing. Ugh.
So, I hopped on a plane (a challenge, as I hate to fly) and headed south. Over the next three days, I heard some of the most successful indie authors share their ups and downs of writing. Because there are going to be downs. There are going to be set backs. A writer’s career isn’t a straight arrow pointed up and to the right, as I learned. It’s more of an up, down, up, down pattern. For ALL of us, not just me.
Kevin J. Anderson, one of the most successful science-fiction writers, talked about the challenges he encountered in his career, including when one of the big publishers closed, and he had to find a day job. He’s teaching creative writing at a college near him. Mark Dawson, a seven-figure indie author, discussed his experiences with a traditional publisher, and the motivation it provided for him to pursue indie publishing instead. One of my favorite moments was when Michael Anderle, arguably one of the most successful science fiction/fantasy author today, shared a poem written by a young man about how fellow creatives threw him a rope to pull himself up from the dredges of depression. Powerful stuff.
I’m home now and happy to say, writing again. I’m drafting my next cozy mystery, Death Goes Spelunking, and revising the first version of a contemporary romance, The Courtship of Merle Walker. I think for me, the answer is to set short, succinct goals, like writing an hour every day. And remembering there will be ups and downs on this path. The important thing is to continue taking the next step. And the next.
Thanks for reading!