With so much changing in my day to day life – adjusting to life with chronic illness, new house, new routines (my teen has decided to give high school a go! We haven’t had this level of structure in our lives for seven years) – it’s been the perfect time to stop and assess where I’m going with my career.
Caveat: I don’t think it’s a decision you make once. I think it’s a thing you should revisit from time to time, and I think that you make the best choices for yourself at the time, and that those choices are flexible and can change depending on what’s happening both in the publishing industry, and in your own life. But I believe those choices should always be made with this question in mind: What works best for me?
It turns out that I’ve been doing a lot of things that are not the best for me. One of those has been falling into the trap of Comparisonitis, which only shows me how ‘not enough’ that I am. A dear friend sent me this link yesterday, and it was timely, because I have been slowly pulling away from comparing myself to others, and focusing on what is that I can do. And what I can’t. I’ve got my own ladder to climb, so I need to stop paying any attention to other peoples ladders.
For instance, when I get realistic, I can’t spend hours every day writing (I’m ill, I homeschool, I have a house to run, and lots of pick ups and drop offs and the like). I can’t put a book out a month (I would burn out SO fast). I can’t write to market (I tried with my Ebony series, but that didn’t go so well). I can’t be on social media tonnes (epic levels of procrastination happen when I do!).
But I can write books that I love and am passionate about, they might not fit the genres bang on, but are full of interesting and wonderful things, characters you will love or hate, worlds that you can get lost in. Books that will be released when I’m confident they are ready, never before. Books that are so me that no matter the genre, I’m sure that if you’ve enjoyed one of my books, you’d enjoy any of them (even if you have a genre preference, and don’t we all?).
And, when I am on social media? I can be my authentic self, and strive to make connections. I can be real, and raw, and open, and honest, and you will know that whatever I’m saying or doing is an extension of who I am, even if that might seem to change over time, it’s all still me.
And the whole point of this post? It’s to declare – to you, and more importantly, to me – that finally I’m embracing who I am, and letting go of all the noise in the publishing world that says that you have to do A, B, and C in order to succeed. I will be doing my best to no longer buy into the crush and rush and madness, but instead make decisions based on who I am, and what I can do.
This is my career, and I’m going to do it my way.