Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Well, it's been a hectic couple of months with many stops, starts, and sputters. I'll spare you the gory details and get right to lessons learned.

One, life is tricky, messy and unpredictable. (Yeah, you'd think I'd know that already, but I seem to keep needing reminders.)

Two, sometimes because of number one above, you just have to hit the reset button and start over.

Three, starting over can be a good thing.

The whole Maine move is on hold right now (job description & funding changed, they offered the possibility of another one in a few months - but too late for me due to lease renewal dates.)

Soooooooo, that gave me a little more time to think about things and where I *hope* to be headed over the next year. (Notice I said "hope" - not plan. I'm done with planning for now. I'll just hope, try to do what I can, and see what shakes out, because really, we don't have nearly as much control over things as we'd like.)

Thus, saddled with my "what now?" funk, I had a little more time on my hands last weekend and attended an intense online workshop with Cobblestone Press on creating cover art. At the end of it, they chose to contract three new cover artists - and one of them was me. That was unexpected and exciting. :)

At some point during that weekend, I had mentioned to someone how once, after reading a story I'd written, a friend of mine made the comment that I should stick to painting. Ouch. Then, after seeing 5 new reader reviews of Managing Maggie on Fictionwise (the scale being great, good, ok, and poor) - one said great, one good, two just ok, and one said it was poor. Ouch again. Even if you take out the cheerleader and the hater, you're still left with just one "good" and two "meh, it was ok. Take it or leave it."

It made stop and think about what I was doing, what needed work, and whether I'm really cut out for this. I have to admit I felt like throwing in the towel. But after a few hours of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to use it to my advantage. It made me even more determined to prove them wrong, just like I did with that "stick to artwork, babe" friend of mine. (Just for the record, I was published before she was, so *there* pfft.) ;)

It also made me realize I was shortchanging the readers who kindly took a chance on me when I didn't give it everything I had. So now, I'm back to the drawing board. Lots of work ahead of me. I just hope I'm up to the task.

Any insights into your own life/writing lately that you'd like to share? Anything in particular you do to pick yourself up and start over?


  1. I just want you to look at the reviews for Jayne Ann Krentz's FIRED UP. It might change by the time you get there, but though she has a total of 4 stars from 34 reviews, the 3 reviews showing are 3, 2 & 3 stars. In other words, 2 "Meh" and 1 "not good." And she's one of my favorite writers. So there.

    I'm going Indie! I plan to put a book on Kindle. It will probably take a month or so before it's up. How's that for a Start Over?

  2. And congrats on being chosen as a cover artist for Cobblestone. Yay!!!!!!!

  3. Thanks, Edie. After reading JAK's reviews (and I love her too) I remembered that I didn't like Katie Macalister's "Steamed" anywhere near as much as I liked her other books (and I loves me some Katie Mac). I guess everyone can miss the mark once in a while, huh? ;)

    Congrats on your new venture! I'll be looking forward to it, so let me know when it goes up.

    Charles Gramlich is also going to try that. I hope you both have great success.

    I tried Smashwords at the beginning of May, and in one month I had 800+ downloads. Of course, I was offering it as a free read, but I was still surprised by the volume. Makes me wish I had charged for it now. :)

  4. Kate, put your Smashwords book up again, and this time put is for either 99 cents or $1.99. Zoe Winters will be on Magical Musings on Tuesday, talking about her journey as an indie author. She's my role model.

  5. It's never easy to find that everyone doesn't love your work to the highest degree. I've always remembered the less than stellar reviews and comments far more than the great ones. But it doesn't kill you.

  6. Kate, I hear you. Today I taught a piano lesson, and I realized I haven't felt that confident in an entire year. Which upsets me. I don't know. I'm confused.

  7. Edie, I just took your suggestion. We'll see how it goes. I think I missed my window of opportunity with that one, though. Maybe next time. :) I'm really looking forward to reading Zoe's blog tomorrow.

    Charles, you're right. As usual. :)

    Natasha, you've made some pretty drastic changes in the past year - it's not too surprising that you may have been feeling a little insecure.

  8. I'm sorry to hear that the move has to be postponed. But it sounds like you are putting together a good plan to get organized and productive.

    As for me, I've been practicing sonnets. I guess the best compliment I can give myself is that they haven't come out too pretentious.

  9. Thanks, Lana - good to see you around these here parts. :)

  10. Me, I wander on over to that nice Kate Sterling's blog and read what she's got to say. If there's nothing new, I still find plenty in the archives to give me hope on a cold dark night...


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