When I first chose this question, I had the idea that the answer would revolve around all the people I’d known in high school or college. All those friends who ended up being circle-friends, ie, the friends you only have because you run in the same circles, chase the same goals, see each other daily. Those people who feel separated from your life as a whole despite being so much a part of your life.
And then, when that section of your life is over, when you graduate, move on, move away, change jobs and the circles change and change again, you find that you never really had those friends in the way you thought you had. They’d never really been there. They’d just be…there, in that physical location.
But then I got to thinking…
It’s been a few years since I last published anything. In that time, my presence on social media has become spotty. My writing has gotten out of sync with my life. I have attempted to put more and more on my plate as if more will somehow be better, when in actuality, more is just making life harder and me less efficient.
I know that the people who focus on one thing at a time are the people who succeed the most, the fastest, the easiest. And yet, despite knowing this, I struggle with it. Maybe it’s in the stars, that I’m to be forever jumping between projects, constantly getting interrupted. Maybe I’m just making poor decision after poor decision, getting further and further behind, feeling lost when I sign back into technology, to sites, to processes that I thought I’d known by heart.
So, in answer to the question, I guess the real answer, the answer that actually reflects the true crux of something meaningful, is me. I’ve lost touch with what I like, why I write, why I work so hard. I’ve lost touch with why I did this in the first place.
I swung over to my other pen name, the one where I’m trying to be traditional, to be validated, to be “taken seriously” as if that’s going to make me happy. I want so bad to have a hard-backed fantasy novel in someone’s hands in the bookstore. I want it picked up and turned over, hmmed about. I want to write fantasy mysteries and adventures that are considered good writing and not oh-you-write-smut, amused-looks with raised eyebrows and condescending sneers.
And it’s crazy, because I already know I write well. My writing doesn’t change whether I’m writing under Lawrence or a different last name. It’s my writing, same styles, same me, same words that flow from my fingers.
In fact, if anything, my writing used to get worse when I would write under a traditional name because people are so much more judgemental. I’ve ceased to let that bother me, thankfully, as I decided to fall back into submissions and critique circles and rejections, but the gate-keeping does still bother me. Most magazines are randomly started by some dude or dudette who has the money to start one. Are these always people who’ve been in the industry for forever and now are sharing their expertise? No, they are often beginners who want to be noticed in the industry because editing is one way to be noticed. They’re no different than you or me (with the exception of the money aspect or the kickstarter campaign ability).
Which leads me back around again, because I know the odds are low for every single sold story.
Except, over here, with you, the odds are high. They’re good. Or, at least, they’re as good as the effort I put into them because the stories, once I write them, are available for human consumption.
And I KNOW there are people who enjoy them.
So the stack of work that I see sitting in front of me…the stack of work I’ve felt piling on since Loose ID went under and kicked two books back at me, since Createspace decided to close up shop, since I began to stress with each book instead of enjoying the process…it feels insurmountable.
It’s the elephant. And the bites I take are minuscule indeed. And it feels as if the elephant is growing. Like it ate a pill and now it bloats every few months and I can’t eat fast enough.
I think, and I’m sure many of you are probably feeling the same way, that quarantine has made me mopey. That this sense of feeling lost and behind and unable to catch up is not one I’m dealing with alone. Just know, that I am trying. I’m working hard to put in effort each day to get one job knocked off my list, a few hundred or thousand more words written.
I hope that all of you who might feel some kinship with me during this time are finding ways to take care of yourselves as well. All my best!