The only thing I had any control over--my book--came together well and ahead of schedule. The rest--not so much. A couple of soaking rains in October finally doused the remnants of the fire. The burned hillsides are scarred and now subject to landslides, but not in our valley. When I look out my windows, all I see are the usual lush, green mountains, but I now appreciate how precious and fragile they really are.
The election is another matter. Perhaps I am overly sensitive, but I know I'm not alone. The ugliness and horror of the process scarred my psyche, and I'm not sure how long it will take to heal. I have always considered it the duty of every citizen to remain well-informed, but I'm throwing that away. I plan to avoid as much "news" as possible for as long as it takes me to recover. I'm worn down by outrage, mine and others'. I'm convinced that by feeding our outrage, we harm mainly ourselves. The objects of our outrage never know and wouldn't care if they did.
A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that the first line of my next book had popped into my head when I was wide awake at 3:00 a.m. (not an unusual occurrence for me.) One of my neighbors recommended a book she's found useful in dealing with insomnia--Dan Harris's 10% Happier. I wasn't familiar with him, but he's a weekend anchor on Good Morning America and a reporter on Dateline.
I HIGHLY recommend this very readable book. It's the story of how he found balance and happiness in his life through meditation and looking at life through a different lens. I don't have his personality, stresses, or interest in regular meditation, but one particular conclusion he reached really resonated with me, especially in regard to my writing.
When Harris was struggling with the question of zen vs. ambition, his mentor advised him the best way to maintain his sense of inner balance was to do his very best at any task but not to become attached to the results because he had no control over them. Interestingly, he used writing a book as an example. You write the best book you can then put it out into the universe. You do what you can to draw it to people's attention, but ultimately you have no control over whether or not it becomes a best-seller.
I did more to launch Boiling Point than I had done for any previous book, but the results were the same--minimal sales. I have analyzed my experiences and determined that while people really enjoy my books, no one I don't know personally or am related to is willing to pay money to buy them. Strangers will happily read them and post glowing reviews when they are free, but they will not take the minimal risk to buy from an unknown author. And I don't have the will or budget to try to overcome that. That's where detachment from the results comes in. If I can keep from comparing my results to other authors (another point in the book) and develop detachment from the results, I may be able to keep writing, knowing I'm doing my best to create a product that brings happiness to readers, even if not as many as I'd like.