Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Writer's Struggles

Writing is my passion and my career, and I love, love, LOVE it. But as every artist will tell you, the creative process holds it's fair share of agony. For me, the writing part is easy. I even hold a certain fondness for the editing process. But putting myself out there via the world wide web? Not so much. In fact, the thought of promoting myself keeps me up into the wee hours of the morning. mind racing with anxiety.

So I've decided to come clean about my struggles.

I love public speaking and plan on doing a few video blogs in the near future. If you put me in front of 10,000 people to give an impromptu speech on tighty-whities versus boxers, I'll wing it and probably enjoy myself. If you ask me to sit in front of 3 people and tell them why they should buy my book, I might have a panic attack. Seems ridiculous, doesn't it?

My writing is personal. I believe that's true for every writer. We write from our soul, regardless of the genre. This fuels some writers to a place where promoting themselves is a no-brainer. They believe in their work so much, that spreading the word is effortless. A labor of love, but a fun one. I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. I joke about world domination and tiaras as a way to poke fun at the ego. I have a strong personality, which sometimes translates as being arrogant. I believe in my writing, but I never know if readers will too. I can't tell you how you're going to react to my book, which is, in essence, an extension of me. Self-doubt is an insidious, ever-present energy in my life. Far more so than arrogance.

I recognize that promotion might never be a strength of mine. Publishing isn't a solitary journey. Each author has a team who works their butts off to make a book the best it can be (a fact I'm eternally grateful for). Does that make promotion easier knowing I have so many amazing people on this journey with me? No. It freaks me out. What if I let them down? What if I let readers down? What if, what if, what if?

Damn that self-doubt.

One of these days, I'll figure out how to tweet effectively. I'll learn how to blog better. I'll engage readers and create a strong web presence. Maybe I'll even find someone who can give me a tutorial for dummies. But for now I'll stress. I'll worry and wonder. And I'll write every day, hoping it will be enough to make up for my fear of putting my books out there. I'll face it all head on, hoping it will work out beautifully. At the end of the day, I'm still a writer. My fear of promotion gives me the neurotic edge I need to fit in with the writing crowd. ;)

As a writer, what's your #1 struggle?


Theresa @ Fade Into Fantasy said...

I'm not a writer, but I am a blogger. Even blogging can make a person nervous.. what if they don't follow, what if I get a nasty comment, what if I hurt an author's feelings with my review... but I've learned that I have to do what is right for me. If that means that I piss a few people off in the process, so be it. As long as I'm being true to myself, it's all good. Besides, we can't please everyone all of the time, and I have the Sassy Street Siren sisters to back me up. *wink*

Jess Macallan said...

Theresa, I agree completely! I'd rather be authentic and sleep well at night, instead of exhausting myself trying to cater to everyone. And the Sassy Street Siren sisters is a kick a** group to have on your side. :D


Hi Jess,
Wow your post really touched me, I haven't read any of your books yet, but the post you wrote was written beautifully. I have only just recently joined the blogging world, a world I didn't even know existed. One night as I was searching for a book, I came across someone's blog, I was hooked and it took me places I didn't think were even out there. I have written reviews and have sent them to the author, I was too shy to put them on my blog,my Sassy Sister Theresa said as long as I'm being true to myself it's ok. Like you I can stand in front of 10,000 people and sell or talk about books but worry all the time if what Im writing about on my blog is any good, or do I make sense or does anyone really care about what I have to say. I now have a group of ladies that make be believe yes, so now I'm going full steam ahead with my blog and will post my reviews public. Thank you for writing that post. I hope some time soon I will be able to read a book of yours.
Sassy Street Siren
Naughty Nattie :)

Lisa (Lisa's World of Books) said...

I wish that I could say that I was a write but I am not. I am a blogger but that is different. I know that I am hurt when someone leaves my blog or says something not nice on it. I really want to do my thing thought. Like Theresa I have my Sassy Street Siren sisters to help keep me going!

I am impressed with your ability to public speak. That is the one thing that scares me. I get all gooey inside


Jess Macallan said...

Nattie, you are too sweet, thank you! Theresa is right--post your reviews and believe in your words. As a reader, you have the right to your reading experience (and the right to post your thoughts as well). Authors appreciate the reviews, good, bad or ugly. :)

Lisa, blogging counts in my humble opinion, and it's not any easier than creating fiction. It's tough to post your opinion for the world to see. Bloggers are brave souls, that's for sure.

Sassy Street Sirens are awesome. Thank you ladies!!!

Rachel Firasek said...

Wow, they are showing you proper love. lol. I'll make you a deal...we'll switch. You can come be me in person, and I'll be you on the net. I hate public speaking and meeting peeps. But, hidden behind the screen, I shine. Rock on girlie and enjoy the stardom. It's coming. :)

lindalou said...

I'm definitely not a writer... but I love to read ... and I hope I get better at blogging... I really enjoyed reading your blog posts! AND I have to support my Sassy Siren Sisters by joining them in ~~~~WAVING~~~~ a BIG HI to you! Howdy Do!!!!!

IandSsmom said...

I'm clueless with twitter! I'm not a writer but I find it interesting to see the strengths and weaknesses and all that goes into the process! I find it fascinating prehaps because I don't do it myself it seems very mystical!!

Jess Macallan said...

Sassy Street Sirens, thanks so much for you comments and cyber support!

Rachel, you've got an awesome group in your corner. Anytime you want to swap online for in-person I'm game. ;)

*yadkny* said...

Kudos for putting yourself out there Jess! It takes major bravery to put your writing out there especially with the unknown of if readers will like it. I'm not an author although I do believe that everyone is in someway a writer (even if it is just posting on a blog or doing reviews), but the hardest part for me too wouldn't be the writing... it's the letting go of it to the masses that's the scariest. When you figure out how to get rid of the self-doubt... let me know:)

~ Babs ~ said...

Hi Jess I am a writer taking a break for a few months, but I still blog everyday and it is nerve wracking at times, but I love doing it. At first I was trying to make everyone else happy but me. I would write what I thought they would want to hear. Now I have changed and writing what I want and if they follow me they do if not oh well. I am happy being me. I loved your post Jess.
Another Sassy Siren Sister dropping by and we do have each others back it is nice.

Heather Powers said...

So true. i'm a writer and blogger. I feel so nervous sometimes when my work is out there for the world to see. it's a piece of your soul laid bare.

Heather aka Earth
sassy street siren

Rachel Firasek said...

Jess, do you feel properly stalked? My Sassy Siren's kick butt. I seriously love these gals! Hmmm....who will we stalk next week? :) Any suggestions.

Katrina W said...

I am not a writer, just a blogger and that makes me nervous enough !!I enjoyed your post !! Thanks for sharing.. I post review on my blog and twitter and facebook hoping that authors like the reviews I put out ! I belive in honesty, I dont post negative comments that are demeening just honest opinions ! I belive in being true to authors, never icing something I dont enjoy, Do what you enjoy and love and always be true to yourself !! do what you love and Im sure your determination will shine through !!! I love to blog, and read !! and have great people behind me !! wink wink Sassy street sirens !!!!

kat - Sassy Street siren :O) from down under !!