Recently I had a long conversation with Madelyn Ford about writing and the way becoming published changes you. When an author signs his/her first contract, it's an unbelievable feeling. It's almost as if you've become validated. All those hours of writing, all of the time you've spent creating characters and stories, has finally paid off. However, once it comes to release day and your book starts circulating, things can and will change.
Allow me to explain.
My first book was a creation I didn't expect to do well. Not that it's a bad book, rather it was at a smaller publisher and I didn't expect high sales. Then, out of the blue, WHAM. It took off. I was stunned, to be honest. I never expected it. What occurred as a consequence was a fear I never expected.
For the first time, I was terrified to write.
Before, it was about "me." I wrote what I wanted to write, what I enjoyed. If the story took a dark turn, it was fine because it was just for me. Now, it's not so simple. Once I would have gladly sat at my PC and pounded away at the keys. More often than not, the time I spend now consists of me staring at the screen, torn between what I want to do and what I "think" I should do. That can be hell.
I've come to the realization that you can't do that. If you allow your readers to dictate what you create, then you're not really creating anything at all. You're a ghost writer of sorts, doing what others expect, and that defeats the entire purpose. When you create a story or stories, you have to be true to your vision. This is your work, coming from your muse. You can't hamper it by expectations or the fear that you won't please everyone. The truth is, you never will. No matter how hard you try.
So write for you. Write what brings you joy. Do what makes you happy. When you do that, the book will reflect your emotions as you wrote it. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's something I believe all authors face.
Until next week, here is your eye-candy. Happy Writing!
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