Have you found yourself drained of inspiration? Has your creativity well run dry? Do you dread going back to your keyboard because you feel like everything you’re currently writing just isn’t that good?
We’re in the same boat my friend. Or should I say a raft without a sail?
I used to write just for myself and then I decided somewhere down the line that I wanted others to read it. So, what’s the first thing you do when you want to share your work? Well, you try and promote it, of course. You set up accounts with websites like Inkitt, Wattpad, or whatever other writing platform strikes your fancy. Then you press that special little button labeled “publish” and your whisked away to a world of reader views, comments, reviews, and more.
It’s quite addictive and exhilarating. Definitely a writer’s high as you see your stats increase…but then…you need more and more to feel that way. And suddenly, your hobby becomes your job. You have to put in more hours to promote your work while also actively participating in the writing community and social media. Let’s be real. If you’re not helping others have their work seen, then it’s hard to convince them to do the same for you.
You soon find yourself doing double time with little time for anything else, like your actual job that pays the bills, or your family, or just sitting down to enjoy a nice cup of tea surrounded by your furbabies. And heaven forbid that you actually take a break, lest you come back to your accounts with missing followers or readers.
Something that takes so much effort to build can come crashing down within a few days. You spend weeks, months, even years building your readership or following for it to all come crumbling down while taking a vacation. And then after seeing and doing all of that, it’s really hard to come back to because what you enjoyed doing has now been sucked dry of any joy you had for it in the first place.
Man, I surprise myself with such cynicism, but I’m sure there’s another indie author out there who can relate and that’s the reason I’m writing this article now. All we see on social media and writing platforms is at face value. We don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears put into our writing. We don’t hear about the struggles of the author behind the keyboard as often as we should. We only hear about the successes.
When your favorite author goes underground and you don’t hear from them in awhile, I guarantee it’s this writing fatigue that has a chokehold on us. It’s so hard to bring ourselves back to the keyboard or to that story we stopped writing after the first 6 chapters. Like, who wants to go back and reread 6 chapters of a book they started almost 2 years ago because they’ve completely forgotten the plot? I don’t blame Stephanie Meyer for taking a decade to finish Edward’s view in Midnight Sun after the first hundred or so pages were leaked…allegedly. Kudos to her. That took some guts.
But unlike Stephanie Meyer, I’m not a world-renowned, bestselling author with a loyal and dedicated fanbase of millions and neither are most indie authors. I also don’t have a huge PR team backing me which would most definitely make the workload of keeping up with blogs, social media, and writing that much easier.
The truth of the matter is, all that PR stuff severely cuts into my writing time, which was the whole reason I started doing this kind of stuff in the first place. Some people might be yelling in the background to find a healthy balance between writing and PR or to learn how to schedule things out. And that’s all fine and dandy but doesn’t that sound like a job to you? Let me just pencil in my writing time between podcast interviews, blog posts, and updating my social media.
Over the past year and some change, I’ve been having deep conversations with myself about why I started writing in the first place. Why did I start this blog? Why did I start my podcast? Why did I create so many social media accounts?? And the truth is, I wanted people to read my stories, but I was soon sucked into the numbers game.
I’m slowly coming back to what I love, but my goal is to leave the numbers game behind and focus more on what I want to do which is create. I want to create more stories because I have more to say, but I want to do it on my own time. Having readers and followers is great, don’t get me wrong, but in order to create a truly inspiring story, one has to keep that inspiration alive and burning. The only one who can do that for me is myself.
So, if you’re an indie author out there struggling with this same feeling, just know that it’s okay. Take time for yourself. Ask yourself these questions. Keep a small group of supportive friends and let everything else fade away. Writing is an art and it takes time. It’ll all work out in the end. Inspiration is funny that way.