January 7, 2015
Insecure Writer's Support Group - Throwing My Hat Into Their Ring
I have decided to join forces with this dynamic group. I've lurked on their Facebook page and through their blog posts for a few years now, but this year I thought I needed to play a more active role in their community.
First, a little about them. Insecure Writer's Support Group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. His awesome co-hosts for today's posting of the IWSG are Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace!
Now to introduce myself:
I'm Kai Strand. I write fiction for kids and teens. I coordinate LIGHTNING QUICK READS, a multi-author short story blog, I'm a mother of four. A wife of one. I hate to touch raw meat, and I'm a Mozart fangirl.
On to the insecurity:
You might wonder why, after seeing the publication of nine books, I'm only now joining a group for insecure writers. It would be a valid question. I assure you that I've gained all sorts of knowledge and confidence in regards to my writing career. However, I've also gained some new concerns and insecurities that other authors are likely to understand. I want to share my experiences and I invite others to share theirs as well. I'd love to hear any suggestions people might have to address my neurotic thoughts, too!
So it turns out, after four years as a published children's author, I'm finding it difficult to stay motivated because of the amount of NON-writing work that goes into a career. I spend a lot of time and energy on keeping my books in front of people, through social media, email, USPS, shaking hands, kissing babies...oh, maybe not that last one, but I feel like a politician sometimes! Slimy and constantly 'selling my agenda.'
When I lighten up on the promotion, books sales drop. It's that simple. With each new title I hope it will be the one that 'resonates' so readers start talking about my books more and I can finally talk more about the weather, or my favorite movies, or boots - gah, how I love boots. However, it gets more difficult to keep that enthusiasm high when resonation hasn't happened. Insecure thoughts, such as, If readers aren't gushing, they must not like my work, sneak into my head. I imagine my husband eyeing the electric bill and thinking, The least she could do is pander her books in the Home Depot parking lot.
Then I consider focusing on something else entirely. I'm sort of an all or nothing type of person. So if I'm going to spend a lot of time writing novels, I'm going to want to provide them the opportunity to be discovered by seeking promotional opportunities. If I decide it is time to stop seeking those opportunities, then I may as well stop investing all my time in writing and go back to corporate America and get paid for all my hard work.
Writing is my career. Since I don't have a boss giving me a performance review, I measure my success on things like, the number of books sold, the number of reviews (hopefully, mostly positive) posted, the size of my royalty checks, my engagement with readers. And I'm wondering if I should fire myself.
For the record, I do recognize my own successes such as, I've SOLD nine manuscripts to publishers and self published two. I'm not all doom and gloom, you are only getting a look at a current gloom. I'm sure I'm not the only author to feel this way. I invite others to commiserate. I'd welcome thoughts on ways to retrain my brain to look for other signs of success. What do you do to re-inspire your career?
If nothing else, thanks for listening. It always helps to 'share' my concerns. If been battling with this one for awhile now and really hope I'll be able to get beyond it.