All right. I’ve tried four times now to write this post without it being super long, so let’s try a different approach. 😀
For starters, I changed projects and signed it up for NaNoWriMo. I’m not typically a fast starter, so this might not go well, but I’m doing a rewrite, like a complete, from scratch, rewrite so maybe that will help? I signed up with this project in 2015, but didn’t end up participating because I couldn’t get myself together. I’m 100% ready to start this time, but we’ll see.
For the official record: working name of the project is “The Inescapable.” Version one was written early 2016, and I planned to rewrite it about halfway through, but I finished it anyway, because I was having fun. ^_^
So, I haven’t finished a first draft since Spring 2018, and I know changing projects for the 90th time isn’t going to get me there, but I don’t want to write “Winter.” I love the idea, but I felt like I was torturing myself.
Writing a book isn’t the easiest mental task in the world, but telling stories is fun and amazing, so I don’t think writers should be miserable. You guys, I hate being on the struggle bus, and obviously I’ve been on it for a while, for a lot of reasons, but in a nutshell, it mainly has to do with publishing and trying to write YA.
On the publishing side, I’ve been a basket case since writing WHISPER in Fall 2017. I didn’t want to admit it, but I pushed myself way too hard and subsequently freaked out. I put out four books in two years, and I wasn’t ready for that pace. I know a lot of indie authors are faster, but I wasn’t writing, editing, or recovering fast enough for that. Damn optimism. Lol!
On top of repeatedly burning myself out, I was reading reviews of my work, and I shouldn’t have, but I did, and then I couldn’t take it back. None of them were terrible, like no one dragged me or the book to hell and back or anything, but even the really positive ones were driving me crazy. I started worrying about really stupid stuff like, “what if someone loves WINTER’S SIREN and hates everything else?” And it’s like…who cares? Seriously? I only cared because I wanted to be successful, and I thought anyone hating anything I did made me a failure. UNTIL I put out my poetry book, and read an actual negative review, and I realized…no. It doesn’t make me a failure. Someone literally called me a psychopath. Which is rude. But I didn’t care. People have been calling me crazy my entire life. I only cared that other people could see it, and would therefore think I was crazy and not want to read any of my books.
However, if someone really doesn’t want to read my work because of that, then they’re not the kind of person who is going to like it. And that is fine. I hate contemporary. Period. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. It should. Lots of people love it. But it’s not for me.
And I finally started to see how incredibly neurotic I’ve gotten over everything since I put my first book out. And sure, all this freaking out is hilarious now, but it wasn’t at the time. I was a total basket case. Of course, I couldn’t settle on a project. I was worrying about everything! I had ALL the pressure on myself, and who can write like that?
Then…yeah, there’s the YA. Contrary to how some of my stories may feel, I don’t actually write YA. None of my MCs are under 20. And if your MC isn’t a teenager, your book isn’t YA. This is a long, long story, but basically writing YA makes me miserable. I wrote YA in high school, and I read YA, so when I decided to write YA on purpose at the end of 2012, I really thought it would be okay. Back then, I saw all these YA writers getting agents and book deals, including someone with a YA vampire story in the height of Twilight hysteria, and I thought that writing YA would help me get an agent, as well. I know, it’s terrible, and I’ve tried really hard to not say this out loud. Yeah, it was really fun for about three weeks. Then it wasn’t. And I spent almost three years writing a bunch of crap that I hated and being incredibly miserable.
“Winter” was one of the YA stories I tried to write in that 2.5 year misery stint. It’s one of only two ideas I got during that time frame that were actually YA. Everything else I had to age the characters down, so most of those stories fell apart early. Like I said, I love this idea, and the characters, but every time I write YA I’m miserable. I actually made a promise to myself in 2015 to stop forcing crap and stop writing YA. Clearly, I forgot. And I only remembered because I’ve been skimming through old journals lately.
I’m probably going to look crazy publishing this, but that’s okay. Writers be crazy sometimes, and I did change projects, and I did want to try and explain why, because I want to be able to talk about what I’m working on. Plus, I’ve been holding all this stuff in, so I was bound to explode or collapse or something.
Hopefully all this makes sense, because I’ve had to truncate this a lot, but I’ve been in this exact position before. I also tried to talk myself out of posting this, but nah. Let your crazy flag fly. 😀