Losing Track

It's been a crazy month for me, what with the release of my novel. The activities have knocked the wind out of me, and I'm just starting to recover. And I realize, I'm losing track of what I'm supposed to do.

Yes, I want to make The Pacific Between a success. Sometimes I'm wondering if I'm not doing enough, or if I'm doing too much? The book won't be read if it's just sitting in a warehouse somewhere. Someone's got to buy it, and they won't buy it unless they hear about it and how "good" it is. So what's an author to do, especially one without the publicity machine or Oprah behind him? We'll have to push, sometimes shove, to get the book noticed, to get the book on store shelves, to get it reviewed, to get magazines and newspapers and (maybe) TV shows to talk about it, to get people to read it so they can recommend it to others, to get into book clubs, to...

It's all so exhausting!

While I don't mind doing all that, and my business and consulting background has prepared me for the marketing, promotional and publicity activities. But I don't enjoy them. Yes, I'd be all jazzed up when I go and sign my books, or talk to a store manager, but afterwards I'd feel so exhausted. Down. Sometimes empty.

What I realized in the past few days is that I want to write. I have stories in my head that need to come out. I have characters constantly speaking to me. But I shut them down, shut them out, because I can't handle all these voices at once. The voice that says, "You've got to call the book store today to set up a signing" is incompatible with the one that says, "You've got to write 1000 words on your WIP today." I'm the kind of creative person who doesn't use his left and right parts of his brain equally well, at the same time. When I'm in a publicity and business mode, my creativity suffers greatly. And when I'm in a creative mode, the last thing I want to do is handle the business.

But both are essential to the health of a writer's life. It's a common struggle, at least for those who want to be published and make a living doing so. How many times have we heard a writer exclaim, "All I want to do is write!" The reality is, we need to do all that other crap: submissions, rejections, marketing, book signings, etc. While some people can switch easily between tasks, others like me would have a hard time doing both at the same time.

What I realized, though, is that I need to set a schedule. I'll be the first to admit that I hate schedules. I don't do routines; I hate them. But I realize I really must set a work schedule, now that I have a new book out, and the second one is in the works. It's very important that I give both attention, but I can't do that at the same time.

I need to write. I need to nurture my creativity and finish writing and revising A Long Way From Here. I also need to continue to spread the word and market The Pacific Between so it doesn't die prematurely or a slow, quiet death.

What I need to do, I believe, is a schedule that clearly separates the two. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and seven days a week. The marketing needs to happen some time during the week, because most people work on week days. So I'm thinking of devoting Wednesdays and Thursdays to the marketing activities. That would leave me Friday through Tuesday to write.

Would that work? Like I said, I don't do routines and I hate schedules. But clearly my current work-week is not working for me. I spend way too much time thinking and doing marketing activities; I'm neglecting my writing, which is really what I love the most. I can't continue to neglect that part of my life, which brings me joy and satisfaction. I need to do something about that.

I also realized that there's only so much I could do for The Pacific Between. I'll keep talking about it whenever I can (without being obnoxious). I'll keep getting book signings and getting the word out. But the rest is really out of my control. People would either start reading it, liking it, and spreading the word about it, or the book would sink. Perhaps, it's time to scale back and relax, and let fate does its magic.

Meanwhile, I have many stories to tell.


Suzanne said…
A lot of times things happen for me when I finally let go of trying to make it work. I may or may not take action after I give up, but the stress itself seems to gum up the works in what I'm doing. Sometimes when I let go and say I've had it, this isn't working for me, things start happening very quickly. At least I feel better!

Can you find some things that would really be fun for you about marketing? Something you could say, "to hell with it I'm going to do this and it may not lead to anything but I'm going to see what happens and at least I'll have a good time".

You're obviously an excellent writer, personable, and a good communicator, but it doesn't sound like you are having fun and you were before.

I look forward to saying that I knew you "when"...
Ray Wong said…
Thanks, Suzanne. I have a long way to go before people can say, "I knew you when..."
Suzanne said…
I knew you when you weren't a published author! (grin)

ProsperitySue from AW.
All good things come to those who wait. I don't know if that's true or not. I'm still waiting. But...the point you made about getting the word out is important. If we wait rather than push ourselves, there would be nothing to wait for. ;)

There is magic in words, Ray. The magic will come.
Ray Wong said…
Magic, please come faster.

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