Chasing the Words

Chasing Money

Graphic from Real Simple Daily Thought

I’ve been having an internal struggle with the writing…like a lot lately. I’ve been feeling like I’m not good enough. I’ve been wondering why I’m doing this, why I continue to torture myself over lack of sales. Does anyone read my stuff? Does anyone CARE about my words?

There are days when I’m ready to throw in the towel. Where I want to throw up my hands and say, “That is IT. I’m DONE.”

But then, something always brings me back. Keeps me going. I took a hiatus from writing late last year to re-evaluate some things. To stop and think about what I was doing and why and if it was worth continuing. I decided to read some craft books and see what I could glean from them. I came back in January with a new perspective and decided I WAS going to rewrite that urban fantasy into something that was better than ever.

And then winter dragged on and my enthusiasm waned. The rewrite started to feel like a slog. I stopped working on that and wrote two short stories, which I entered in a contest. The thing about contests though? It’s SUCH a long wait for results. I don’t expect to win. But it would be nice to place in the top ten of my selected category. I also entered my 2014 published books in another contest. What they heck, right? The thing is my books don’t do well in contests. Maybe because I write weird stuff. Maybe those readers just don’t get me. I refuse to believe it’s because my books suck.

I think I’ve been having a sort of genre identity crisis. I’ve had people tell me to write XX because it sells and that’s where the money is. I’ve had people tell me to ONLY indie publish, because that’s where the money is. I’ve had people tell me to go HYBRID, because that’s where the money is.

And then I signed up for Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways course. It’s intense. It’s 29 weeks of lessons and teaching you how to write with your right and left brains. Sometimes I think my head is going to explode with all the hard thinking I’m doing. But it’s all good. I love it. It’s worth every penny. And here’s what I learned:

You are not what you write. But if you’re going to love what you write, no matter where you end up writing it, then what you write has to be you. –Holly Lisle, How to Think Sideways

OMG! It was a total light bulb moment for me. I am not defined by genre. I’m letting that pigeonhole me into something that makes me narrow-minded and undecided about my writing. It’s making me flail in the dark without a flashlight. I now have a flashlight. I now know what writing means TO ME.

I am not defined as “romance writer” or “paranormal writer” or “fantasy writer”. I am defined as “WRITER”.

That’s all. Just a writer. A writer of words who manages to string them together in sentences and paragraphs and scenes and chapters.

I should write what I LOVE to write, not what I SHOULD be writing because that’s where the money is. Chasing the dollar isn’t going to get me what I want. Chasing the words will.

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.