Saturday, April 9, 2011

Writing, Selling Your Writing, and Living

Just in case you ended up here, hoping to find answers to the dilemma of how to raise a family, work full time, write when you can, and then somehow have time to find an audience for what you have written - let me assure you from the get-go, that while I share the frustration, I don't have the cure.

I love to write, and after finally self-publishing my first novel with CreateSpace, I was delighted to feel like a real writer.  People started buying my book and I spent time on-line and pounding the pavement to the area bookstores and libraries to make sure that the audience continued to grow.  I kept writing and also tried to post on a few social sites like facebook and twitter and redgage as well as making a few entries each month on my two blogs at blogspot
Playtime with my teenagers takes top priority as the time they actually want to spend with Mom gets smaller.
 Then life, as it has a habit of doing, became more complicated.  My teenagers needed more attention, even as they struggled to prove that they needed less.  Then I was offered a chance to substitute full time, for the rest of the school year, in a middle school classroom for severely handicapped students, instead of the two or three days a week I had been working.  Four days later, the Tsunami hit and two days later, in a freak windstorm two large trees in my yard, crashed down on the road and all over the neighbors yard.

My adopted son's birth father showed back up in his life and his birth sister went missing and their Mother bought a ticket to come visit.  The sister was found 6 days later, the Mom is wonderful and even the Dad was a good thing, but it was still, stress that kept me away from book and blog and marketing.
getting a chance to refresh by "Stopping to smell the flowers" does help
 As spring arrived, the storms and stress keep rolling in.  I feel sick, and even though it is simply a head cold and laryngitis, it is one more thing.  Then I look at the children I work with.  Beautiful, energetic souls, but so very exhausting, and I look at the parents who are always there for them, and the hits on their life that the economy has brought.  I feel guilty for complaining of dirty dishes, when I have food; of exhaustion, when I have a paycheck; of  my teenagers, when they are healthy, strong and alive.  Yet, guilt aside, I look at the book I wrote but ignore, the sequel that has gone unworked on for weeks now, and the untouched blogs and I feel the pain of leaving a vital part of myself unfulfilled.  Then I do get to the keyboard, and I'm just too tired to write or edit.  I click on fancast and pull up a TV episode and let my brain rest.  No, I don't have the answer.
When trees fall in the yard, we mourn them, but then get to work instead of buying more wood for our only source of heat.

The fallen redwood crown had one last message for us.

morning fog in the neighborhood mimics the state of my exhausted mind

Storms and non-stop rain left the drive a swamp until my son brought some gravel.

a tiny grape hyacinth says spring is here

Another answer I do not have is how to make a self published book, however well written, as error free as it should be. I read some books, by other self-published authors and I love the story, but I get bogged down in the mistakes at times, and I know I have the same thing in my book.  You can tell the best story, but without time and money for editing, you will not find the type of mistake which lies in your blind spot.

Joanna Penn wrote Pentecost, and I loved the thriller pacing of the story, and her characters were compelling, but I found that over and over again, I was distracted by the fact that she did not set the comment apart from who it was being addressed to in using direct address.  One small mistake, but obviously her blind spot, and it confused the issues for the audience, when, "No, it's not Morgan" did not mean it wasn't Morgan, it meant something else wasn't what it appeared to be and someone was talking to Morgan.

After publishing my own, Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog, I had someone point out times when scanning the typed pages into my computer had done things like turn "Came" into "Carne," which I had spent days fixing but I had not found them all.  Worse, I had some characters leave the group, and without coming back together, still participate in the conversation at the climax of the novel.  I also had written the book over a long enough span of time that I had spelling inconsistencies with "Bell or Belle Island" and "Turtles Bow" Vs. "Turle's Bay" referring to the same place.

I wish there were a Wiki site where you could work on your novel and well meaning friends could come make suggestions and edit before you said yes and hit the "Publish" button.
The 90 foot spruce tore out of the ground and brought down the top third of the redwood growing close by.

neighbors helping clear the road

son tackling the task of turning tree into firewood

A nearby area that soothes my stress and lets the tangled thoughts unwind.

Crane on a barge come to hoist tsunami sunken ships from the Crescent City boat basin.
Crescent City Harbor with sunken fishing fleet

The animals return but the boats cannot yet.

After the Tsunami wiped out the commercial Boats and harbor, Crescent City began pulling together to clean up, yet again.  There have been fun times as well as tears, and there will be more of both.  It gives me hope that this too will pass, and my books will once again beckon to me.

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