It’s a horrible feeling to look yourself in the mirror and admit that you can’t do everything. To admit to yourself that sometimes plans, as well intentioned as they may be, are sometimes just plans. Goals are just goals. And sometimes we can’t always do what we had wanted.
It’s a rotten thing to admit to.
It’s a rotten thing to see.
BUT…it’s better to admit to it and to see it than to blind yourself into running into a wall.
Because the thing is this – it’s a lot easier to pick yourself up and dust yourself off if you are willing to accept that you do have limitations, in life and as person, rather than naively ram yourself into walls trying to knock them all down if they try to stand in your way. It’s a good ideal to have, that notion that you won’t give up and won’t let up no matter what but the fact of the matter is that life isn’t about blunt force, it’s about forward movement, and sure, that movement doesn’t always seem to be going at the pace you want but if it’s even inching forward it’s still progress.
Life is about progress.
Even in our setbacks.
But, about my setback – I had decided a few months ago that it’s time to pull the tents down, for the clowns to clean the greasepaint off, and for the circus to close up shop. I am a writer, and always will be but for now, for a very long now, it’s time to stop putting books out. Not because I ran out of material or things to say but because it feels as if I am nearing self-parody. I have seven books out and two last ones on the way and there’s a point where you have to look yourself in the mirror and say – enough is enough. I have put out collections, two fairy tale books, and a novel. With these last two projects my slate is pretty clear. There’s a long lost book I had written ages ago and lost and was going to re-write but it isn’t pressing or necessary. These other books were. I proved to myself that I could do it – I could write, edit, put together, do the art, and release and support my own books (with aid from CreateSpace’s services). I was able to also do it with a LOT of help from friends. I was able to prove to myself that I could do it and I have loved it. I love the process of writing, of editing, of putting the thing together, of doing the art, and of supporting it. I love it and hate it both. Hate it because it isn’t the most fun, and it is stressful to walk the line of ‘artist’ that just wants to create and ‘business person’ that feels the need to sell. But there’s a point where you have to say – enough is enough.
I am at that point.
Which is not to say I won’t support the books I have but that it’s time to focus on other projects in my life. I don’t want to reach a point where it feels as if I am making a fool of myself. And I am being harsh, but I am harsh because I need to be to understand where I am. I don’t want to be someone who publishes out of vanity. And I feel like, with the limited interest in my work that I see, it’s time to re-assess things. Not because I don’t think the works are invalid but because I need to find better ways to get the books out to people. I need to support books I have put out and the two nearing completion, and I need to work on other projects.
None of this is awesome, but it’s necessary.
It’s far more fun, for me, to go through the process of creating a book than it is to support books that are already done.
As for the two books for this year, the ‘last two’. They’re done. I wrote them in two months. One is a book of zombie stories that comprise a novel. I started it in 2000 and slowly added to it and finally realized it was time to finish it. I had sat on it because I didn’t want to be the person that put a zombie book out after the ‘fad’ wore off. Well, that was several years ago and the ‘fad’ is still going so I figured I needed to finish it and get it out. I am currently in the edit of that book. The other book is the third and last of the Meep Sheep books and is a darker story about the passing of the torch from the Queen to her daughters. I wrote that in February and have let it sit a bit before I go back to edit it. I have a lot of work to do on it, to flesh it out, but I like what it is. I was really worried because I knew what I wanted out of it but wasn’t sure how to get there. In getting there the book changed, the story changed, and the ending change…and it’s a better book because of all of those things if you ask me.
The hope and plan for the year had been to get these two books written, edited, and released in Spring in time for two conventions I wanted to do in my area. Alas, the real work is a cruel mistress and I couldn’t afford to do the two shows so I decided to slow myself down and to stop driving myself so hard. I really want to get these books done, out of sheer AHHHHH excitement but also out of the need to move forward to other projects. Art, for one. So this is a setback. A big one. A heartrending one because it means that I have to figure what to do but in the long run it’s necessary and it’s good. I want to make sure these books are ready to go.
And life’s all about setbacks and disappointments and it’s figuring out how to deal with them that begins to define you. You keep moving forward, inch at a time, or you smash your head into things and try to force the world to conform to you instead of learning to move within the world as it is and to slip between the cracks. It is a VERY fuzzy future for me on the artistic front, the writing front, but it’s exciting because whatever happens is going to be a huge surprise.