Friday, June 3, 2016

Judging success?



Neglecting to market my books and myself has always been my weakness. While I love the process of writing (creating new characters, worlds, and plots) the arduous task of promoting my work can seem dauntless at times. After writing consistently for 25+ years, I recently made the conscious, and I must say extremely difficult decision, to take a break from it all. I have gone thirteen months without publishing an original book and as of right now, two months have passed without me writing an original paragraph. It’s a horrific truth to admit!

That’s not to say there haven’t been some exciting moments in the past weeks. My last two major promotional campaigns brought four of my books to the Amazon #1 spot in their genres, and several hit #1 in their sub-genres. I write dystopian, sci-fi, paranormal, action thrillers, and literary fiction… so I am quite pleased with the results. I have a wide-ranging audience and have received enough 5-star reviews to believe that I possess some talent beyond the mediocre. For this, I am proud and thankful.

But how does one judge success? What were my original goals when I set out in my early teens to be a writer? At what point do I proclaim I have achieved “IT!”? My entire twenties, thirties, and half of my 40’s, were spent plugging away at my keyboard 30 – 50 hours a week; week after week after week. I lost friends, missed out on good times, neglected my family, all to achieve what I believe is my purpose in life. To write stories that effect change in a reader’s perspective on the world.

Contrary to the way this post comes across, it is not my farewell message to the world of imagination. This post is not a resignation letter that I have exhausted my creativity and said all I need to say. Rather, it is an airing of dirty laundry of sorts. The guilt of not writing has weighed heavily and for a few months I feared I had lost focus on my purpose as a human being. Life, especially as enriched as mine has become in recent months, can change your perspective of what’s really important; happiness vs. purpose vs. self-fulfillment?

When I finished my last book, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, I took my own advice I had written and concentrated on doing what makes me most happy; mainly gardening, fishing, landscaping, and hiking. After time, I realized that what my happiness boils down to is the process and ability to take these life experiences and create something from nothing… to write about them in fiction form. And as soon as I publish this post I will be starting a new novel.