This morning I’m in a contemplative mood, just enjoying my Sunday. My room feels like an inviting place to be, and is absolutely lovely. I have a delicious smelling candle burning (that my son bought for me). Ocean wave sounds in my ears. I just bought $60 of books I hope I’ll read. I enjoyed meditation this morning, yoga last night, and inspiration from Lisa Olivera who is speaking to my soul about letting go of the grind and just being.
More and more, I’m contemplating what it would be like to take a break from social media, a necessary platform in my author life, but a hindrance to my need for rest. Lisa Olivera is taking her annual break from Instagram, her platform of choice, and her action is inspiring me to do what I always want to do—take a step back from purusing other people’s lives and focus more on my own. What I want. The quiet. Writing without the distraction. Writing for self instead of others.
I also keep coming back to this place of quitting fiction writing altogether. I’m tired of feeling trapped in the comparison game because I’m not good enough, spicy enough, daring enough. Of course, that could just be all my fears and insecurities about the book I’m currently writing. I love this character so much, I want to do her justice. And right now in rough draft form, I’ve created stick figures in a 2-D world, and that’s not a fair assessment because IT’S A ROUGH DRAFT. That said, I have to keep pulling myself back from ruminating on all that’s required to make this story shine—and it’s a lot.
I also had big plans to release three books this next year, or at least two of them (I’m writing the second book in the series now, and the first one just needs a final polish, plus all the editing, cover, etc….all anxiety-inducing stuff). And I want to keep with that schedule. But I also want to find a place of center and calm, escaping the bullet train of urgency I’ve boarded in favor of a stroll through the refreshing forest of my slowed down life.
Here’s the truth of it all. I am passionate about writing. But once I started publishing, I replaced the need for creativity with a need to escape the daily grind of 9-5 work. My life goal became to make enough money from my books to quit my day job altogether and write for a living.
This next year will be my 10 year anniversary as a published author, and while I’ve learned so much about writing and publishing, I am also nowhere close to being able to quit my day job.
Here’s the other truth. I am one week into a job I love, one that speaks to my skills and things I love to do (writing, editing, websites, newsletters) with people I love to be around (hardworking women in the office plus a quirky tech guy who I believe is surprised I know my way around a website, and senior citizens who are using their retired years to give back to their community). And while I recognize I’m in the honeymoon phase of a new job, I am also hopeful that this could be it—the job I could retire from.
As for writing, I don’t want to see it as a rescue plan for a life I don’t want. I want writing to be a companion to a life I love.
And the part of me that has hoped to make more, more, more money from my books, to top the charts, to become the next Colleen Hoover or Sarah J Maas or LJ Shen…now just wants to be the next Crissi Langwell, who writes a book and releases it, and doesn’t need to do weird TikTok videos or stay current on Instagram to keep my book in people’s minds.
This past month I took a step back from social media, especially TikTok, and I saw a dip in sales because of it. And while my ego complained a little, I also realized how much I actually didn’t care. Those three figures a month I usually receive each month whittled down to two. But I still have a roof over my head. I still feel loved by the people around me. And this past month, I’ve felt more peace than I have in a long time because I gave myself space to write with less distraction. And it reminded me of when I was writing my first book, when I had so much hope for that book’s future without all the experience of “failure” or ridicule or pressure behind me.
And I miss that.
I’m not quitting fiction writing. But I am extending my step back from social media as I focus more on being slow, healing from the grind, and finishing this damn book as I fight through insecurity. Because this character I love deserves a good story, and I know I have it in me to write it.
What I’m reading:
Sarah Addison Allen
The Devil Wears Black
Books on my TBR list:
It Starts With Us
The Deepest Peace: Contemplations from a Season of Stillness
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
My recent 5 star reads:
My Name is Lucy Barton
The Christmas Bookshop
*Note: Some affiliate links apply