Moving forward.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
― Albert Einstein

When I first started writing, things went real good, and my career moved fast. Seriously, fast. As in I wrote my first piece of fiction in 2003, and sold my first novel to Berkley, on proposal, in 2005. I’d never even written a full novel before, and before I was done writing that first one I had three other contracts. I was lucky in that I was writing what was hot, when the genre started to get really noticed by big publishers, and that I seemed to be good at it.

I was also really uneducated about the whole industry. At the time this was happening I didn’t get that it was unusual and that many writers struggled for years before selling. When I did start to get an inkling of how easy I’d had it, I knew there would come a time for me to pay my dues, but I never anticipated it would be in a way that affected my whole life, and not just my writing.

Several months ago I came out of the closet- so to speak- about what’s been going on in my life for the past couple years. I did it on the Genreality group blog because I’m there every Tuesday and the blog is all about life as a professional writer. I’d talked about the health issues full-time writers face many times, usually to do with the body, but in this Healthy Writer post I talked about the heart, spirit and soul of it. Since then I’ve heard from and talked to so many writers who have suffered from/dealt with mental health issues that it’s surprised me there wasn’t more out there about it.

Right now, I’m in the ‘keep on moving forward’ stage of things. My motivation is there, but my concentration still isn’t what it used to be. I still get disappointed in myself because I set goals and then can’t meet them, the thing is, I’m setting my goals according to what I used to be able to do, and not allowing for easing back into things.

Example: I really wanted to have ONE CHOICE release in August when I went to AAD in New Orleans, but I never got it written in time. In fact, I’m still writing it. This is frustrating to me because it’s only a short story, and I know I could used to be able to write that in a weekend. The issue isn’t all finding the time to write. If I’m honest, I can find the time. The problem is when I do find the time, I have a very hard time sitting down and concentrating.

Then, it seems like every time I do get focussed and moving forward on my writing, something happens. Work calls, someone knocks on the door, a friends calls asking for a favor that for whatever reason I feel I can’t say no to. I find myself getting very frustrated, but I just keep telling myself to keep moving forward. I think this is a lesson everyone needs… things are rarely smooth going in life, and the key to success in whatever you choose to do is to keep moving forward.

Am I right? Or am I wrong?

4 comments for “Moving forward.

  1. November 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Read this, and Healthy Writer, and yeah, you got it. I am new to publishing, though not writing, and for the last three years I’ve been struggling with depression as well. Probably longer, but three years ago a true friend said “You’re depressed,” without judgment, and then a second friend said same. Hmm. Cuz yeah, I thought too just stop whining and get over it. I have always been single (like you 90%), over the last five years have cleaned out my “friends’ closet” and gotten real about what I deserve and expect from people I call friends, and despite a full-time job am usually alone. I teach, so my time is always spent with 20yr olds, which is tough, since we’re completely at different places and they’re my students (hello!). I struggle with my own deadlines and not making them — but I’ve always had that. Don’t know why. Sitting down is the hardest thing… maybe harder when you have success like yours. I am also out of shape and dealing with hormonal stuff. Oy–what a cocktail! The good news is that I feel better than I did 3yrs ago, I’m published and nearly finished with #2, and I have rethought my ambitions and goals for writing. Keep moving forward, but put boundaries in place to protect your time and focus. Maybe even on your voicemail or email; for instance, on my work email I have a notice that I won’t return emails after Friday 3 pm until Monday 8 am. I’ve found that people have gotten used to it; I even get people kind of enviously mentioning it to me. I also have a statement on my voicemail that I am not around Friday afternoons to Monday morning, except in emergencies. It feels funny at first, but works. Good luck.

  2. Shawna
    November 22, 2012 at 11:58 am

    It’s all about understanding your capacity and limitations NOW, not base it on what you use to be able to do. And you are so right, most importantly, keep moving forward.

  3. November 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Elyse,

    Thanks so much for sharing yourself with me. It’s tough, and I’m glad to hear you’re still moving forward. It’s really all we can do. *hug*
    I think setting the email notice and such is very smart. I might just do that! :)

  4. November 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks, Shawna for understanding, and sticking with me!

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