Sunday, October 16, 2011

#ROW80 Self-Publishing Slow Down For Me

This is going to be a difficult post. Because it's not something I want to admit to myself. One of my very, very good friends is writer Melissa Foster. She's amazing; as a business woman, writer, mentor, and friend. And lately...I've missed something very important she's been trying to tell me.

Elizabeth, there is no deadline. 
I never wrote when my children were younger.

You see, I got caught up in the instantaneous nature of self-publishing. Now. Now. NOW. NOW! Sales are now. Tweets are now. Reviews are now. Everything that happens is just about available in real time and you can easily drive yourself sick with erroneously thinking, "I must stay 100% on top of all of this!" I have a family that just moved 900 miles. I have a stepson taking on his first year of middle school. I have a husband who is starting a brand new role at work. I have a two-year-old who begs for Mommy time.

I don't have a publisher breathing down my neck. I don't have a a financial mandate to write, but taking on too much, too fast is draining my family's resources. I don't have infinite energy to take on writing full time, running my family's household successfully, and not drop dead in the process.

I am taking a step back.

But first, let me confess something in case others need to recognize this in themselves...I was spending from 8 AM until 4 PM online almost constantly to watch for new email, tweets, and Facebook updates--anything I could respond to immediately to self-delude myself I was being "productive." I told my daughter too many times in the last three weeks that "Mommy is busy, I can't hold you right now." That last one makes me feel VERY guilty. I am going to blink and she is going to be saying "Mom, see ya for Fall Break." [sorry to get all Cat Stevens on you] And most of all, I haven't felt enough fulfillment throwing myself into writing full-time because I've neglected so many other areas of my life to be a social media stalker. And that is ending. I was never meant to be a full-time writer and this isn't the first time I've had to dial myself back.

I am not quitting. :) I'm not a quitter, not by a long shot, and I LOVE writing. Non-fiction, fiction, marketing copy, you name it I type it, baby. I have a few more marketing obligations for the month of October and beginning of November. But no more ON 5 days a week and weekends. Being sick this past week showed me 3 days of no social media isn't going to make or break my sales. At all.

I have a very exciting project with Melissa called the Women's Literary Cafe and I feel a very strong calling to focus my technological skills there. Yes, I also have a second book to write. But it's not coming out in February anymore. It might come out in March. It might come out in April. And I don't fear Amazon suddenly shutting down the opening for self-published authors. Worst comes to worst, I will query a small press, or seek representation, or slap a handy-dandy e-store on my web site and sell my books and my friends' books directly (It's nice to have a hubby with a Master's in IT).

I don't know exactly where this leaves my ROW80 goals. I was on the right track with them, but I need to rethink them a little. I enjoy my camaraderie with other authors, and will still be participating. But it might not just be writing goals I talk about. :) And I'm going to slow down, before I "sizzle and fizzle" myself out. (Little inside joke for anyone who's read Cancelled ;) )

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: PAST DUE A nurse, crippled by debt, takes a part-time job in medical investigation only to find the man she's dating is a fraud!  (status: outlining)


  1. It sounds like cutting back on things is the right decision, there are only so many things we can do. Best of luck for the week.

  2. That's the great thing about ROW80. You make your decisions about what' best for you, and everyone will be supportive. Do what's best for you Elizabeth Ann. It sounds like your decision making is well thought out. Enjoy your children. ~clink~

  3. Sounds like you have put too much on yourself. It is good that you recognized how it was affecting your life in a less than positive way. Sometimes we have to go back and reevaluate our goals. Remembering what is the most important is a good step. Hope you find a balance that works for you, even if it means considerably less time online and writing. Your kids are certainly something you should focus on. I hope you are able to enjoy more time with yours :)

  4. Elizabeth, kudos to you for being able to look at things objectively and see what's really important. I don't have kids, but I do have a cat who has been spending all morning meowing at me and begging to be held, and whenever he does that, it reminds me that writing is not everything and there are other things that are more important, and sometimes that can be hard.

    And now he's asleep with his less cuddly brother, so I've got the freedom to get to that stuff now.

    And that's always why I fail at things like Twitter and other social media; I've got too much else going on that I deem far more important and I just feel overwhelmed with the idea that I have to be glued to something 24/7 or else I'll miss something.

    I heartily approve of the slow down! And I hope you'll find what I have, that when you take your time and appreciate all the things around you and not stress yourself out with having to be on top of Every Little Thing, you wind up getting a lot more accomplished than you'd ever expect and you're much happier for it!

    Good luck!

  5. life is more important than writing - heresy maybe but you only have the one chance at getting right as you say the children grow up very quickly and your health is important to all members of family as well as to yourself - writing when you have time will prob. be more productive over the long term. all the best and its no failure its courage

  6. I have a mix of both writing and non writing goals which helps a lot and keeps me from over focusing on writing to the detriment of, well, the rest of my life. Whatever you decide, the ROW80-ers will be here cheering you on! Good luck on whatever goals you do decide to focus on!

  7. You can't run a marathon if you can't breathe. It's a good thing to slow down when you need to. Good luck!

  8. THANK YOU!! Seriously, thank you for this post. You are so spot-on, and I think this should speak to all of us, especially those with young children like myself. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of not just writing (squeaking out time for that is fairly manageable) but the social networking and promoting part of being an author. It is like you said, where you're glued to the computer, checking each site over and over to see if there's anything new you shpould know about. I, too, have decided to relax a little--especially from all of the online stuff. If I don't enjoy things now and stop puttng so much unwarranted pressure on myself, then later, once my children are teenagers and don't need me anymore, and I have scads of time to write and network, I'll be wishing I could go back to this moment I'm in right now. I'm not going to let that happen...I'm going to enjoy my family now, squeeze in the other stuff where I can and not rush it!