Please welcome our guest, Peggy Jaeger, back to the Roses!
Recently, a topic came up with some fellow writers that I feel needs to be addressed. What happens when writers who love to write...don't love it so much anymore?
I can hear you shrugging and scratching your heads. Let me 'splain it to you, Lucy.
The old saying Writers write is accurate...to a point. Writers write for different reasons, all of them individualistic and all of them valid for that writer. But sometimes the words won't come, the ideas don't flow, and the creativity wanes. Sometimes, the writer is just tired of writing. When that happens, and I tell you this from personal experience, guilt and depression set in. Because if writers are supposed to write, and then they don't/won't/can't, a storm of emotions piles on top of an already artistic ( read: moody) mind. And I don't mean moody as a pejorative, but more as a descriptor. Writers feel things more than other people do - it's in our make up. It's what makes up good writers - being able to isolate and get to the emotional levels of actions and words, our own and our character's.
So, when a writer doesn't write, there has to be an underlying cause. Now, speaking just from my own experience with writing depression, the main reason I was in such a state was because of getting published. How dumb does that sound? I finally have a publisher want something of mine, and the next thing you know I'm depressed about it. But when I stepped away from the writing, I soon realized that wasn't what was causing me not to write, it was the whole package that comes with publication: marketing, sales tracking, social media, appearances and book signings. I wanted to write - I just wasn't so hot about all the after-work that goes into it. When I finally came to conclusion I am not a marketing person, I was able to find the joy again in simply writing.
I don't think my experience is a unique one among writers. We are, after all, artists. Artists, are by definition, moody. We feel too much, expect too much ( of ourselves and others), want too much and can really tap into the emotions of those around and within us. So when something sets us off, we experience a range of feelings. Sometimes those feeling manifest themselves in depression or an inability to express ourselves in our work, which in this case, is the written word.
So, back to me. When I realized it wasn't the writing that wasn't giving me my joy but the outside stuff associated with it, I was able to compartmentalize those outside factors - and by that I mean forget about them!! - and go back to doing what gives me the most joy in my life: writing and creating.
Maybe that adage should be changed from a declarative writers write to an exclamatory writers WANT to write! By taking the absolute declaration out of the phrase, maybe, as writers, we'll be able to cut ourselves a little slack.
The Voices of Angels
The last thing Carly Lennox is looking for as she sets out on her new book tour is love. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine show based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.
Mike Woodard is an ambitious man-and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else, and as he tells her, he’s a patient guy. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. No. Carly is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him- may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.
“I...” Carly began, then stopped.
“Oh, hell. I’m not good with words in situations like this.”
His laugh came quick, charmed by her nerves. “Pretty pathetic declaration for a writer.”
Carly stuck out her bottom lip in a very alluring pout. He was tempted to stop and take her mouth with his again.
“Don’t mock me. When it’s on paper I can get it right. Real life has no re-writes, no editing.”
“Granted.” The sunlight played with the alternating auburn and fire-red highlights in her hair as they began to walk again. He was convinced no color had ever been so alive.
Carly squared her shoulders. “I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about me. Concerning men.”
When he didn’t comment, she continued. “It’s only, well...I haven’t been involved with anyone since my husband died. I’ve been busy with my daughter and my writing. I haven’t met anyone I’ve been interested in, I guess.”
Carly turned to look at him. Irritation crossed in her narrowed eyes. “You’re pretty sure of yourself.”
“No,” he replied. “I’m more sure of you, though.” “Excuse me?” Mike laughed again. He stopped and cupped her cheeks. “You’re even more beautiful when you’re angry. Your left eyebrow arches ever so slightly and your eyes turn the most incredible forest green.” He kissed her and felt her pulse trip again under his fingers.
So true, Patty! I don't know of many writers who enjoy the business side, but it is a business. I imagine it's the same for someone who owns a bakery or restaurant, or any other creative pursuit. They just want to bake, cook, etc. If only we could! Loved your excerpt. Good luck with the book!
Thanks, Leah. Enjoy your day. Peggy
Right there with you...
Yep...me too. Guess as we learned yesterday here too, we must write because we want to. Period! Thanks for another affirmation.
So true! Perhaps one day we will all be able to create without having to market - that's the kind of world i want!
I so identify. Doing everything you are "supposed" to do to launch a book successfully is exhausting. And I like marketing. But I didn't start on this journey saying I wanted to market a book--I said I wanted to write a book.
I try to take regular breaks and not put so much pressure on myself. I haven't released my first book yet but I have to believe if the writing is good, it will get read and I can build on that for the next release.
Hi Peggy, I've had several bouts of writer depression since the start of my publication journey. My solution: release expectations and write.
It's so nice to have you here at the Roses today. The best way to handle writer's depression is to write that next book, whether the words are there or not. When I started on this path 5 years ago, I kept 3 books going at once, so I could take my choice of which book I'd write that day, depending on my mood--contemporary, historical, or romantic suspense. I also spent 4 hours a day on marketing, building my brand which is my name. Thank goodness I was retired because I got mighty tired, let me tell you. Now, I give promo an hour of my day, in fifteen minutes bursts.
My editor at Random House is doing her first read through of my 17th book as we speak. She emailed me last night that she loved the beginning and just knew she was going to fall in love with Reece, my wounded hero. I'm writing the final book of the series and revamping the first 3 books I wrote for TWRP to self-publish. Once your mind gets in the habit of creatively producing, it will automatically. That's not to say you won't become mentally tired. You will. When I email my manuscript in, usually a couple days past my deadline, my husband has to lead me to bed where I literally collapse into a mindless mountain of mush. He takes off my glasses and covers me. I literally can't form a complete sentence. I take a week off. Okay, three days...LOL...and the soul's need to create niggles at my mind.
Good luck with your release and the next and the next...
I think we have two choices as writers. Simply write and not worry about sales because no one is going to read our books, no mater how good they are, if we don't promote them, or... We suck it up and promote our books in the hopes of getting noticed. With bigger pubs, they do some promo for you. If you're self-published or with a small press, you're completely on your own. The key is to find promo you can afford and don't actually hate and just do that. It's a learning process, figuring out what is a waste of time and money and what gets results. So far I've mostly learned what is a waste of time in terms of sales and notability, so I don't do those things anymore unless I actually like doing them. My first book was published 6 years ago, and I'm currently working on my 18th book. With each experience (small press then self-pub then large press) I've learned something more about the business. It's a slow process, and in the meantime, I try to simply enjoy writing. Best of luck with your latest, Peggy, and in finding a balance.
Wow, it's obvious everyone feels the same about the marketing side. I remember the good ol' days--when I worked, very long ago, for Simon and Schuster, they had a dept. of five guys who did the author's marketing. All the writers had to do was...write. And, ok, maybe go on little book tours and occasionally read and sign books. Maybe this is why I love history--things were better for authors back then.
You ladies are all wonderful!!! i knew I couldn't be the only one who got night terrors about all this marketing stuff. Joanne's advice is the one that I repeat to myself often - just keep writing and get those next books out. Doing that with assure your name stays out there in the reading world.
WHat's that saying?...misery loves company! LolOh well, if we wanted to be sales people we would have gone into marketing instead of fiction writing.
It's been a pleasure for me to be here today. Be well and find your joy, PJ
We're glad you visited with us, Peggy. I agree with what you've all said...to keep writing. But I have my pragmatic hat on, too...and a tune the IRS expects us to sing...we are a business-no deductions if we're a hobby. Okay, that was crass...here's something better, more in the realm of the tree falls in the forest...who will hear it? If we publish our books and no one knows our fine stories are out there, that's a pity. Wish it were as simple as 'just write.' It ain't!
Boy, Peggy, you hit the nail on the head. In my case, I've written three books that have been published. But everytime I finished one, send it to my editor and start another, a little annoying voice in my head tants "Can you write another others will want to read?" Really annoying! LOL So I bravely say "Of course I can." and hope it's true. LOL Thanks so much for sharing! Enjoyed your post a lot.
Tena and Rolynn - your points are valid and perfect! To claim WRITER on the tax form, you need to show your assets ( or in most cases, your losses!!) But the IRS only gives you 5 years to be a loser ( taxwise, of course!) So you need to market your name and your brand to make sure you get in some of those dollars.
Tena - I feel the same way everytime I type "CHAPTER ONE". Is anyone gonna want to read this? I know I will, so that's what keeps me going!
I've been fortunate that I haven't experienced this, Peggy, but I'm very glad you found your solution! Great post for anyone who has gone through this. ❤️
Jeannie - consider yourself blessed!!!!! And keep writing - your work is wonderful!!!!
Considering how many of us feel the same way, Peggy, you really hit on a hot topic. My problem right now is not making the time to write. I had so many things to do for family, self, Hubs, vacation, etc. that I put my WIP aside. It's so hard to get back to it. I want to write...but I don't. Strange.
Best wishes on your book.
Peggy, did you happen to sneak a hidden camera into my life? LOL Man, I wish I had a dollar for every time I've muttered, damn it, I just want to write! Go you for finding your balance and pressing on.
Well said, Peggy, and I love Leah's analogy. It is like the baker who loves to bake, but doesn't enjoy running the business side of things. I always 'want' to write, but i don't always have time and the words don't always flow. As far as the marketing side of it, I actually enjoy it, to a degree. Your excerpt is fantastic...sounds like a great read!
Post a Comment