I took a break this summer from writing.
Late 2015 through 2016 has been a self-publishing whirlwind for me and I’m afraid I may have burnt myself out a bit. The more I wrote, the more I found I needed to write. There was so much to do. And the more I wrote, the more I saw a need to advertise my ‘business’. Podcasts, online courses, facebook adverts galore!!! I had to get people to see my loquaciousness, to appreciate my unique form of word twisting.
I know…pretty arrogant, right? I drank the cool-aid. Toward mid-summer, I found myself spending all of my time promoting myself and my stories and no time actually writing.
But the sad truth is, I never wanted to be a writer. I am and always will be a story teller. My stock and trade, the thing that feeds my soul is watching the eyes of my audience light up at a particularly exciting scene or character reveal. I know this to be true for me. It’s such a strong compulsion that I find myself watching friends reactions when we watch a program where I already know the coming plot twists. I love talking about certain shows with my Mom and others that are sympathetic, just to get that cathartic, co-operative fix.
I get none of that with writing.
Now don’t get me wrong, world building and character dialoguing can be exciting, and creating a plot with turns and knots and a nifty reveal or three can be fun. Seeing an artist’s rendering of my characters and world is really super cool. But the delayed gratification I have knowing (hoping) that someone out there is gasping or chuckling at the right moment leaves me wanting.
I have some great story ideas. Some are full-length novel worthy, some novellas, some epic. Maybe three dozen at last unofficial count. (yes I write them down) But unless I can make some peace with this solitary kind of tale-spinning, they are probably all going to die rotting on the vine.
I know, I know…I can hear all three of you (counting my Mom) that read this blog …
“But what about the characters? What about the worlds? Would you be a party to the wholesale slaughter of so many dimensions and realities? Would you allow these unique ideas, viewpoints, relationships and ecosystems to just be destroyed?!”
To quote a very famous Jedi Master,
There was a great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were silenced.
The end result is, after my sabbatical, I’ve come to realize that my worlds can just die on the vine.
The people I meet in my head can go quietly into that night…
I’m, quite literally, the only one who I have to answer to when deciding what to bring to reality. What to breathe life into.
That’s kind of daunting, and also sort of humbling. Even if no one, not one other person reads or sees these stories and characters, I get the responsibility to midwife these worlds into being. I think the only difference between me now and me last year is I thought that writers loved doing this shit.
Now I know better. It’s lonely work, and there are little to no rewards. Make peace with that if you’re considering doing this. (I’m speaking metaphorically here because no writers or authors actually read this blog.)
Audio books, trilogies, novellas…Soon there’ll be movie rights negotiations and George R.R. Martin sleeping on my couch! If you want to keep up with the latest writerly news in the world of Russ Viola, there’s a widget at the bottom of this page that says: Let’s keep in touch. Put your email address in the box next to it and Join Team Mojo. You’ll get exclusive free content you can’t get anywhere else. I promise to be worthy of your trust and keep you informed of my shenanigans.
I have a new release out…
Check it out on Amazon. You can find it in the usual places.
Found Objects is out now. It’s also available as my very first audio book, Found Objects!!
The Secret Life of Statues is book one of the Tools of Creation Saga. Check my books for links on where to buy the ebook or physical copy, and I guess you’re supposed to ‘LIKE’ me on my Facebook Author Page. Check out my tumblr and twitter feeds if that’s your thing.