Trying to align my want and my deadlines crushed the joy I once had
This weekend I sent my publisher an email telling them that I would be unable to fulfill my contract for my fourth book. I’m about two-thirds done with the manuscript, but I cannot find the motivation to finish it.
I’m my Biggest Obstacle. I’m Aware.
I mean, there are a lot of factors involved, and I am painfully aware that they all revolve around me in one way or another.
I am not prolific enough to maintain my audience. Given that I have easily a 2–3 year gap between books, yeah, I get it. It’s hard to keep people interested in my stories, if I’m not giving them anything to read. And if I write outside this alt world I built, my primary audience isn’t interested. Even though everything I write falls into the paranormal thriller genre. Not Zoe and crew? Crickets.
I feel like what sells well isn’t something I can manage with my books. Every time I try, my writing stalls. My characters don’t want it, and if I’m honest, I don’t either. And while I realize my first audience is myself, I would’ve loved it if more people outside of my circle of friends liked it, too.
It’s frustrating, because I can write. All of my work has won awards. All my judge feedback is positive. But the ROI for ads, giveaways and social media posts is non-existent. I cannot even give my books away in exchange for a review.
And if you’re a published author, you know two things: 1) Reviews are life (in so much that more reviews will help get better exposure options like Bookbub’s and Amazon’s newsletters), and 2) Getting people to leave reviews, even when they promise they will, is worse than pulling teeth in the Middle Ages.
My health is… a thing. Many things, really. It’s really hard to focus on anything when you are in chronic pain from fibromyalgia. Or my thyroid is being obnoxious (alternately, my body occasionally likes to think the Swiss cheese remains of that little butterfly body part is a foreign object and must be killed right now). Or how degenerative disc disease has forced me to use a cane and refuses to let me stand for longer than 20 minutes.
Getting diagnosed with ADHD and starting a medication regime has helped, but it’s only been a year, and my brain is not interested in hyperfixating on this novel. Or any other real writing, given how little I post here on Medium or Vocal.
And we’re not even going to touch on the disaster that is my current mental health. It’s just another example of my excitement over something that no one else cares about, and I am not in the headspace where the downward spiral of my career is anything but a downer.
So I’m Done. For Now.
Am I done telling stories? No, but right now, I’m done writing them down to be shared with other people. Maybe I’ll have a comeback, but man, don’t hold your breath.
Instead, I will focus on my art and my burgeoning series, “Your Mom PSA”, which I also post here.
Daily Mom Hug | Can I Sit For a Minute?
Sometimes we just need someone to sit with us…medium.com
If you’re interested in reading my books, you can find them at your favorite online retailer or through my Amazon Author Page.
CL Roberts-Huth (born 1975) was born in Seoul, South Korea. Forty years later, she is a three-time mother, twice…www.amazon.com
There are three books out, and they’re even available as a money-saving boxed set. You can also get them in German, Spanish, Portugeuse and Italian. Oh, and audiobooks. Thanks in advance.
Thanks for reading, if you made it this far. If you did, and you’d like a free copy of my audiobook box set, leave me a message. You must have access to Audible to receive the books.
Wow! First, I’m very sorry but second, for what it might be worth, SAME damn thing happened to me! And it’s the ramifications have stayed with me ever since. I had been burning the candle at both ends for too many years and by the time the mid-2000s arrived, I’m still not sure why, but I’d had it and wanted out. My 16th or 17th book was due out soon, following on the heals of what had been my biggest book of poetry to date — over 200 pages. This new publisher was very nice and generous and I had near-complete control over the manuscript. The contract had been signed a year before, decent advance, standard royalties. And even though I’d not worked with that publisher before, I owned close to a dozen of the books they’d published and felt the production quality was in good hands. But when I finally received the final draft to basically sign off on and despite it having its ISBN, LOC, etc, and it having been put in its final design — ready for the press — I freaking just lost it. I became beyond apathetic, didn’t give a crap and despite publishers already inquiring about my next two books, I called this publisher and said I wasn’t going through with it, was yanking out, tearing up the contract, returning the advance with apologies and they were far more reasonable than many others I imagine would have been, but WTH? This could have been my best book. I’d settled into a bit of a thematic rut and the material in this book not only went in a totally different direction, but probably was comprised of my most “mature” and mainstream material to date. That was so long ago, most people have forgotten that and me too, but I had to answer questions about that for years as well as continue saying No for a long time. I partially regret it, but mostly don’t. Turned out it gave me enough time to lie on the beach of an island where I lived before I then had to move far away and devote myself for caring for my aging parents, one of whom got two different forms of cancer before dying nine years ago, right after my own health started going to hell. I hadn’t written any of the stuff I’d spent my entire life writing but I’ve always had many interests and I started researching and writing various articles, book reviews, commentary, essays, analyses, etc., which has become pretty successful if you take compensation out of the picture as I literally make nothing. But it’s been satisfying and when I was younger I don’t think I could have pictured any of this, so to reference a lyric, what a long strange trip it’s been. I hope this works out for you. Don’t force yourself or bend to pressure to do crap, unless and until you might wish to do whatever of your own initiative. You’re incredibly talented in many ways. You’ll be fine and thanks for sharing. Not everyone is brave enough to be that forthcoming. Best, Scott
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Thank you for this. I appreciate it so much.
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