|Posted by S.M. Carrière on December 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM|
Good morning, Readers!
(Image courtesy of halfwaybetweenthegutter.wordpress.com)
I have a confession. I'm a horrible, horrible human being.
You see, a good friend of mine, who is also a self-published author, announced on Facebook this week that he had just gotten off the phone with some Hollywood producers. His self-published books are being turned into films, apparently.
That good friend of mine is Gerard de Marigny. We met years ago in a LinkedIn group. We're not in as much contact as we once were, but I was always cheering for him from the sidelines.
Other than being self-published and friends, we're not much alike, Gerard and I. He is a devout Christian. I am not. He is married. I am not. He has kids. I do not. He writes political thrillers. I write fantasy. I am a woman. He is a man. He lives in the States. I live in Canada. He was once in a rock band. I can't sing to save my life. He is a successful author...
I am not.
This shouldn't bother me. Writing makes me happy. What does it matter whether I am widely read? But it does matter. The fact that I'm still fighting for some kind of recognition cuts deep. And it's not because I think I'm a better writer than him, because I don't think that. In fact, I am certain that Gerard deserves every inch of this success (seriously, G-man. You go!). I am actually ridiculously proud of him, because I know what hard work self-publishing is. I know how difficult it is. I know how hard it is to get noticed. I've been trying for a long while now.
I'm miserable because I'm envious.
Envy is a disease. It eats away at you, robbing you of joy. I hate that I'm the kind to feel it, and feel it keenly. I'm also an internaliser. I don't hate Gerard for his success, and if ever I did, I give him full permission to slap me upside the head. No. It's not him I'm angry at.
It's me. I hate myself.
I hate myself for not being even a little successful, despite self-publishing at roughly the same time, or much earlier than other, much more successful writers. I hate myself for having no reviews on Amazon, and very few on Goodreads.com. I hate myself because I have so few sales, none at all on Amazon, and I'm pretty sure a sewer rat could do a better job of selling my stuff. I hate myelf because traditional publishers aren't interested in what I have.
I hate myself for hating myself so damned much.
Look, I know most of these things are out of my control. I can't exactly walk up to people and hold them at gunpoint, demanding that they read and review my stuff (though, if I'm honest, the image makes me giggle a little bit... I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high functioning sociopath. Do your research). I can't make people like my books.
The only thing I can control are my thoughts. But my thoughts so frequently and quickly spiral out of control, it's all I can do to squeeze my eyes shut hold on as tightly as I can lest I fall off competely. And to be honest, there are so many variables in these situations, the only thing I can look to for the root of the problem is the only constant:
Me. My writing.
What if the reason I have no reviews is because my stories are dull and unremarkable? What if they're worse drivel than those titles which shall not be named?
I have no reviews because my writing is not remarkable enough for people to bother reviewing it.
I have no sales because I'm a terrible sales person, because my stories don't sound exciting enough to pick up, because they don't excite most people enough to spread the word around.
I have no publishing contract because my novels are unpublishable rubbish.
These are the places my mind goes. I'm not looking for sympathy, by the by. Expressions of it are likely going to make me angry in my current mood. I think I just need to get this off my chest, so bear with me.
Even if I'm being unduly hard on myself, the fact remains that I am ultimately responsible for my own fate. My success, or lack thereof, all hinges on me and my writing. It's all on me.
And I'm failing.
I feel like all this effort and all this expense is getting me nowhere. I'm a hamster on a wheel, fooling myself that one day, if I keep running, I'll make it to that land called success when really I'm going nowhere.
Most days, it doesn't bother me. But sometimes, like when I see the bright successes of others, my complete lack of success it hits me right. in. the. feels.
And it feels like I'm just wasting my time. Sometimes it feels like I should just cut my losses, stop trying, and instead try to get into the government for a mind-numbing but relatively secure job. And I should get married. And buy a house. And pop out kids. And retire. And be moved into a home. And die.
(Image courtesy of funkyjunk.com)
There's just no point.
Except, I suppose, that I keep plodding along regardless. At least I have that.
It's not like I haven't had a tonne of fun, either. I've met some incredible people in my capacity as a writer, some of whom have become friends. Conventions, book launches, meet-ups, and even online forums have exposed me to some wonderful people. I've grown as a person. I've met awesome folk.
Yet sometimes, it all pales compared to the fact only made obvious when I stop to think about it:
I'm tired. I'm broke. I'm hungry. I feel like I'm getting nowhere. I look at people who are getting somewhere, and envy rears its ugly, soul-crushing head, and I spiral into darkness.
All this will pass, and I'll be feeling happy and hopeful again. Until then, I'll grab a hold of any railing I can find and hang on for dear life.
Urgh. Don't mind me. I've been away from training too long and it's starting to affect me.
Categories: Writing and Publishing