It’s not my fault, but I still feel guilty

John Bauer 1915

So a couple hours after I posted about seeing my book up for pre-order on Amazon, Harlequin announced that it was closing the line. No more Love Inspired Historical.

I try to tell myself that those two events are not connected, but I still feel a bit guilty.

My subconscious: SEE? What did I tell you? It’s a hoax!

Me: No, not really. They still intend to publish my book in January. They’re going to stop publishing these books in June.

Ego: So, what you’re saying is… once my book is out, there’s no point in publishing more? They can’t top it?

Me: No. The line probably isn’t as successful as they’d hoped.

My subconscious: Which is All My Fault!

This doesn’t mean that I’ll stop writing. It does mean I’ll stop sending inspirational historical stories to Harlequin. I’m not sure what will happen to Geoff and Lia’s story, but I will find it a home somewhere. I usually vacillate between loving and hating a WIP. This is the first story I’ve written that I loved from start to finish. That either means I’m delusional or it’s actually a good story. (Well, those aren’t mutually exclusive. Could be it’s a good story and I’m delusional.)

I’m not about to say “The End” in regards to my writing. The story goes on.

The first time I saw my book on Amazon

It’s a surreal experience. A book that started with me scribbling down an idea on a yellow legal pad is listed on Amazon. This is just something I made up. But there it is.

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A strange feeling, but I rather like it.

Me: There. Now do you believe I’m a real author?

My Subconscious: Could be an elaborate hoax. You never know.

Why doesn’t it feel real?

Gertrude Kay Alice in wonderland caucusHarlequin includes a Dear Reader letter with its books, a letter from the author specifically for that book’s readers.

It’s a nice touch, I think. At the end of a story, you get to hear from the person who wrote it. Makes you feel as if you’ve shared the experience with them.

The Dear Reader letter is always interesting to read, as it often provides insight into the author’s inspiration for wanting to write that particular story. – SYTYCW.

For some reason, I’d forgotten to take the Dear Reader letter into account. Even though I’ve read them in all the Harlequin Love Inspired books that I have, it hadn’t clicked that I would need to provide one. Dear Reader letters are written by real writers.

My subconscious is stubborn. It doesn’t believe I’m a real writer.

Me: But — but– they sent me a contract, they sent me an advance, they gave the book a publication date. What more proof do you need?
Subconscious: I don’t believe it. You’re not a real writer.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to convince my subconscious that this really is going to happen. A book that I wrote is going to be published.

I’ve put together a Dear Reader letter for His Forgotten Fiancée. One more stop on the road to publication. I don’t think my subconscious is going to believe until I hold an actual book in my hands. Maybe not even then. I have a very stubborn subconscious.

Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone’s disbelief.

-August Wilson

The difference between an amateur and a professional writer

“…that was the moment I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”

-Agatha Christie, An Autobiography

I must be a professional writer. I don’t feel like writing today. I don’t feel that what I’m writing is particularly good. I still like the story, but I’m not so thrilled with the way the writer puts words on the page.

I’m going to keep going anyway.

Patricia Anderson describes four stages of writing for publication:

  1. Writing for the joy of it
  2. Cultivating discipline and the will to revise
  3. Understanding—and accepting—market dictates and the business of publishing
  4. Writing as a job

Today, it is a job.

That’s okay. I’m going to keep going anyway.

 

Focus on this moment

A small flower refracted in rain droplets

Your patient will, of course, have picked up the notion that he must submit with patience to [God]’s will. What [God] means by this is primarily that he should accept with patience the tribulation which has actually been dealt out to him—the present anxiety and suspense. It is about this that he is to say “Thy will be done”, and for the daily task of bearing this that the daily bread will be provided. It is your business to see that the patient never thinks of the present fear as his appointed cross but only of the things he is afraid of.

Let him regard them as his crosses: let him forget that, since they are incompatible, they cannot all happen to him, and let him try to practice fortitude and patience to them all in advance. For real resignation, at the same moment, to a dozen different and hypothetical fates is almost impossible, and [God] does not greatly assist those who are trying to attain it: resignation to present and actual suffering, even where that suffering consists of fear, is far easier and is usually helped by direct action.

-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I’m trying something new. On Fridays, I’m going to fast. An information fast, that is. I’m going to shut off the Internet and write.

I tried it last Friday. I was fairly twitchy at first. Kept reflexively moving the mouse over to the email icon or opening a web browser to look at the News or Twitter. If I had to pay myself a quarter every time I did that, I’d — well, I’d be able to buy myself more than a cup  of coffee. The experience was very educational.

We spend too much time looking at “what’s going on” in the world. It starts out as a reasonable thing to do. The world changes every second, there’s always something happening, and it’s basic human instinct to want to prepare for what’s coming.

The problem is, there is always something happening, something to worry about, something to stress or plan or prepare for. I am going to try taking one day out of the week and put the daily news on pause.

And write.