Recently I met with another local author and had one of those Zen moments where I had to decide exactly why I write. This author was very well put together, had her spiel (aka, pitch) memorized and gave every outward appearance of success. She looked, in a word, classy.
Flash to me … in my jeans and nondescript shirt, sporting a pair of Nike’s that are starting to get a hole in the toe. In my defense, this was a social function I’d taken my son to and a friend of mine decided I needed to make this acquaintance right then and there, so it wasn’t like I knew I was going to be meeting anyone in a professional capacity.
That being said … this other author had a much better handle on the business of writing than I think I’ve ever had, which is what brought about the Zen moment.
Driving home from the function, feeling not a little discouraged, I began to wonder exactly what set me apart from her and was not surprised when I came to the conclusion that she just plain knows how to market herself better than I do. She’s confident in herself and her writing.
I’m confident that I can get through anything the world throws at me but when it comes to my writing I know that I am constantly improving, so the confidence isn’t quite there. Sedition was fun to write but Saboteur was a more solid book because I had learned a lot about style and craft between the two books. (Even though fans seem to like Sedition more, which I find curious.)
Enter the Zen moment …
I made the decision a long time ago that I write because I have to write, because if I don’t write my brain will explode, because there are a zillion stories floating through my mind that need to come out.
I write because I love it.
It’s the process that I find fulfillment in, not the sales.
This doesn’t mean I don’t hope to sell a whole gob of books one day and secure a much brighter future for myself and my son, it just means that I will continue to do the minimum amount of marketing. Things like this blog and light conversations with interested readers, and memberships with organizations that don’t require too much money (Hello, single parent here) are all things that I can do without cutting too much into the writing time.
At some point I imagine I’m going to have to change this decision but for right now this is what fits for me.