Recently, I’ve been feeling pretty shitty. I’m sure part of it is the Anghenfil, that damned anxiety dragon that likes to point out all my failures. But part of it is the reality of the situation. I’m two years in, I’ve published 7 full-length books, and they’re not really selling like I thought they would. And I keep asking myself, “What have I done wrong here?”
I feel, too, like I’m screaming into the vacuum. I have a mailing list and street team and 2,000 followers on Twitter and 1,000 followers on Facebook, but there’s only about 15 people who actually speak up. And those people are the ones I feel I’m overtasking with review requests and beta requests and whathaveyou.
For everyone else, I feel like I have to swallow fire and cartwheel to get people to even just download my book. Read them? Forget it. Review? Fantasy land.
Meanwhile, there’s other authors who………well, let’s just say they make it look easy.
Because I hate being an asshole who isn’t happy for others’ success, I had a great idea to take the 4th of July weekend “off” so-to-speak, and not work so I could recharge my happy batteries. I was waiting on final QA comments back from Spells and Sorcery, I’d gotten some form of a draft of Union with some kickass beta readers. Other than a few middling freelance jobs, I thought, “hey, let’s spend the weekend reading.”
But all I found when I started reading was comparing my success to the authors on my kindle. And I just got more depressed and more angry.
Asking the Important Questions
So I did what I normally do when I’m having a bad day. I go inside my mind palace and I sit Suni down and I ask her, “Yo, boo. What can I do to make you happy?” And she was pretty clear about what she wanted.
Write something I don’t have to work on.
It’s amazing to me how I can feel 100% different about writing from one day to the next. Some days, I feel exhausted by the idea of it, others, it’s like an ice cream sundae, a marvelous treat. Beyond that, when I sit down to write, I’m no longer worried about what’s selling (or not selling), who’s getting more reviews than I am, or whatnot. The only thing I’m seeing is what’s on the page.
I posted on Twitter that it’s hard for me to give to others when my cup is empty. What I mean by that is I can’t be the person I want to be when I’m weighed down by my own misery. I want to be happy for other people. I want to cheer and to celebrate success of every other hardworking author out there–because we do, in fact, all work hard. But I also need to take care of #1. And it’s not fair of me to ask myself to be Mary Sunshine when I’m feeling like Wednesday Addams.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that if you remain positive, the universe will provide. So filling back up my cup is essential, not only for my mental health, but for my success in my career.