Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Novel's Journey: Soul Searching

It's been another week, and I've not written anything.  I've started a new promotions project, which is in the form of 10 tabs open and untouched on my browser.  I've puttered around FB, but not done much of substance.  The only thing I've done with any motivation is promote the fundraiser for the American Red Cross, "Coyote Fires."

I thought I was going to come back from my vacation rejuvenated and ready to write and market with new gusto.  Instead, I find I'm even more apathetic.  Maybe it's my own version of midlife crisis (without the hot sports car, alas--we ended up buying a "new" used minivan on vacation when ours broke down.  Funny story; I'll tell you Monday.)  Maybe I'm just being confronted with the fact that I'm just not as good as I think I am. Maybe I'm fighting God's will for me.

I don't know.  But I do know that looking at my books' Amazon sales and ranks depresses me; that I don't make enough in royalties for a car payment; that even with a good cause and a fun story, I have only a handful of readers interested in my fundraiser; that even when I seem to make an impression on someone with my writing, I'm easily pushed off and forgotten. 

Yet at the same time, I'm so grateful for the blessings I've had.  I do have fans--many of whom are very loyal and have become dear friends as well.  Plus, my writing has brought me into a world of such wonderful people, from the members of the Catholic Writers Guild and Broad Universe to the writers I've met through the Writers Chat Room, Yahoo groups, and Facebook.  And just recently, two--yes--two!--of my books became finalists in the eFestival of Words Best eBook contest--and I didn't even have to nominate myself.  I have publishers who are glad to take my works and love that I'm easy to edit and work hard at marketing, and are quick to tell me so.

And yet...

I sit down before a work in progress and think, "Is it worth it?"  I look at my marketing to-do list and wonder why I'm bothering.  I start a new project and leave it open on the browser until it crashes, taking my half-started effort with it (like happened as I wrote this blog.  Will pull hair later.)

It's not a matter of my "Muse leaving" me; anyone who reads this blog knows how I feel about that excuse.  It's more about needing to figure out why I write: what I want out of my stories, what will bring me satisfaction.  Whether I need to change my direction or just my attitude.

I'm not sure what that's going to mean as far as my writing.  I mean, have I committed literary suicide just sharing this much?  Will some of you think I'm being a whiner and an ingrate?  (Trust me, I feel that way!)  Should I share my soul-searching on this blog, or is that self-indulgent?

I'd be glad to know your thoughts.  In the meantime, I'm not giving up.  I'll still blog and promote my works.  I owe my publishers that for the faith they've had in me.  As for the rest... 

Give me some time.  I'll recapture that joy--and I'll be writing again.


Palace of Twelve Pillars said...

I have been in a slump too and my blog is depressing me for a number of reasons that I won't go into here. All I know is that I have the stories in me and when he's ready God will bring them out. So I thank him everyday for the gifts He has given me and stare at the computer screen, waiting, with a little writing on the side. I know deep in my soul though that when God is ready it will happen.

Anonymous said...

Over the years, I have been where you are and nothing anyone else said helped me find my way out. I got platitudes and trite sayings when I shared my discouragement. So...none of that from me. It makes me mad. All I will say is: if you are taking time to find your way, you'll find it. Godspeed in your search. (You are my first recommendation when talk of zombies comes up. Which happens more than I would have thought, truthfully.)

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

I think the most double-edged piece of writing advice I've ever read is the oft-repeated "write every day." It leaves those of us who don't/can't feeling out of sorts when we are simply recharging. Every author has a process and daily writing just isn't everyone's process. By the way, today doesn't count as a non- writing day - you wrote this blog.

Every day, you do things that enrich your writing whether or not you put pen to page or fingers to keyboard. You write because God gave you that gift - simple as that. And each expression of that gift - helping other writers, writing a blog, telling your kids a story - contributes to that gift. Just because you can't yet see the big picture doesn't mean there's something wrong with the small one.

Hang in there, Karina. And I give you credit for being brave enough to reach out and admit that the road is sometimes bumpy and confusing.

Becca Butcher said...

I haven't written anything since the middle of June. Until my in-person group met tonight and the writing prompts we threw at each other actually got some words on my page. Sometimes the words just don't flow. Trying to force it will not help. You have a wonderful talent. Maybe you simply need to find a new way of using it. I can't believe God would give you such an awesome gift and not lead you down the right path for it.

Nissa Annakindt said...

Karina, I've read a lot of what you have written and thought you were a really good writer.

And then I read 'Live and Let Fly'. I thought that book kind of marked a transition in your writing--- it was much more compelling than your previous books. You have made the transition from 'authors I really like' to 'endlessly re-readable authors whose books I obsess over'.

I think it would be very sad if you didn't continue with writing. You have a gift, and you are using it for God's glory, unlike so many authors. I'm praying for you. (Because if I prayed for Vern the Dragon and Neeta Lyffe, God would think I'm weird.)