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Back on Track?

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So am I back on track now? Time will tell.

Saturday, I sat down and wrote 2120 words. That’s the most I’d written on Keeper of His Soul in a really long time. This book has been the bane of my existence lately. Not because I don’t love the story; I really do. But for some reason, I’ve been afraid of it. I’ve been experiencing really bad “page fright”.

Here’s what I think is going on. I wanted this book to be a novel since it’s a sequel to Soul of a Vampire, which IS a novel. So then when the story moves a little too fast, I panic because it won’t be long enough. But what I need to do is let each story be what it will be. Some are meant to be novels, some are meant to be shorter. When I first talked to Susan Bischoff about this story, she even said she thought it would make a better novella than a novel. But I wanted it to be longer. When I try to force a story to be longer, though, I end up with words I don’t really need. I tend to write lean. I write short and to the point. I like things to move fast. That’s the way I like to read, too. So that’s why I do better with novellas most of the time.

Right now, this book is at about 35,000 words. It’s getting close to the last scene of the story. So it’s going to be a long novella or a very short novel. (There’s a lot of controversy about what’s considered a novel. I say 50,000 words. I’ve been to conferences where they say 40,000.) At this point, I’m going to stop worrying about it. I just need it to be long enough to warrant making a paperback. At about 35,000 is where I kind of draw that line. I know some people will do shorter paperbacks. I’ll just see how it goes. At least I worked on it a lot Saturday and again at lunch today. I’m kind of back on the horse.

I hope all of you are doing well and are enjoying this holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s is like one big fun time for me. Maybe it’s all the Christmas movies. And the food. Yeah, the food.🙂

Discouragement

I’ve been struggling for a long time with writing (actually lack of), and I’ve tried some of the things that have been suggested. I’ve tried to get enthusiastic about it again. I actually sat down and wrote a little bit on my WIP (it’s been in “P” for a long time now!), the other day, but I didn’t get much done. Every little bit is important, though, right?

Anyway, I’m beginning to realize that the main problem with me is lack of sales. See, here’s the thing. Everyone says to just write for myself. To forget about the publishing part and just write. But here’s why that doesn’t work for me. I’m a businesswoman. My writing is a business. Yes, it’s something I love, but it’s also how I would like to make a living. And that’s not happening anymore. It WAS happening back when I only had a few books out. Now that I have more, and much better ones at that, I can’t sell worth a flip. I’ve had a lot of other authors tell me this same thing the last few years.

So why can’t I just write for fun for awhile? Because I don’t have time. If I can’t make it with writing, then I need to find something else to spend my time doing that I CAN make it with. Editing is a little more profitable, so I’m not giving that up. I love editing. The problem is with editing is I’m not getting enough jobs. If I didn’t have my main client, I would probably give that up, too. One of my other clients decided to stop writing with one of her pen names, so that cut her work in half.

I’ve been trying to follow the Dave Ramsey plan to get out of debt then start saving money. He always says if you aren’t making enough at the job you’re doing, then you need to find something else. This isn’t really feasible for my full time job because I’ve been here 35 years and am just a few years away from retiring. But I need a good part time job that brings in a steady income. I have readers who beg me not to stop writing. But all of these readers aren’t out pimping my books (although I have a few that are so good about that).

Another option I have is to focus almost entirely on my other pen name. I’m actually selling a little more on Amazon with that pen name. And I have some ideas in genres that sell well. Genres I can’t really write under the Lauralynn name since Lauralynn books are too dark.

I’m almost tempted to try NaNoWriMo again. Almost. I said I would never do that again. My husband never wants me to do that again. And, honestly, I just don’t think I have that much time. But I remember the excitement of the two times I did it (and finished it!). I want that excitement back so badly!

So maybe I should just forget this little pity party and just DO IT. Anyone willing to kick me in the behind and tell me to stop whining?🙂

I’ve had a tooth that’s been bothering me for several months. Not really bad, but it had been hurting if I bit down too hard on food. I’d been meaning to take care of that thing, but I put it off because I’m terrified of dentists.

I’m supposed to go to Key West next week with a friend, and her company is paying for all of it (except some of my food). I’ve been really excited about this trip. Then, at the beginning of this week, I started getting a pretty bad toothache. Soon, the whole left side of my jaw was hurting. And the bad tooth hurts like crazy when I just press on it a little with my tongue. Of course this HAD to happen right before my vacation.

So then I start to get worried that it will get infected while I’m gone, and I’ll be even more miserable. My friend tried to get me to call her dentist (she raves about this guy), but I knew they couldn’t take a new patient that quickly. She finally talked me into calling today, and I thought maybe they could at least tell me what I could do for the pain besides ibuprofen. The lady on the phone said “Can you come at 10:00 this morning?” This was at about 9:30. I was stunned.

When I got there, all the staff was SO nice. And when the dentist walked in…well, I could just picture him on a book cover. Gorgeous! And I could tell he works out a lot. He was also so nice and comforting. I was really glad I went.

So the bad news is, I’m going to have to go back as soon as I get back from my vacation and get either a root canal and crown or the tooth pulled. The tooth has a pretty bad crack in it. He said he wouldn’t know if he could save the tooth until he got in there. There really wasn’t a lot he could do today, but he gave me a prescription for pain medication if the ibuprofen stops working as well and a prescription for antibiotics. He said I already had a bit of an infection and that I would probably start feeling less pain when the antibiotics kicked in. So at least now I know I won’t get really sick while I’m on vacation.

So…what kind of day have YOU had???

signature-penI don’t like to write posts that are too long, but I have a feeling this one might be. Some of this is, I think, partial repeats from past posts, so forgive me if you’ve heard some of this before.

The Past – When I first started writing and publishing, the ebook business was fairly new. You could actually make a LIVING doing this. (I know some authors who still are, but that seems to be the exception, not the rule.) Back in late 2010, I was making enough money that I could have quit my day job. And most of this was from ONE .99 novella. A book I was only making .35 per sale on at Amazon and .40 at B & N. So you can imagine how many books I sold to make that much money. I was on cloud nine. This novella (Guardian Vampire) almost made it to the top 100 on Amazon. Not in a category, but the top 100 overall. It has an average of 3 stars. It was some of my earliest work, and it’s certainly not my best. But it sold like hotcakes. This was right in the middle of the big vampire craze, and I loved vampires, so that helped a lot. And I was FEARLESS! What I mean is, I wrote because it was fun, I wrote because I wanted to write, and I had no doubt I could make decent money. I wrote and put it out there. I wasn’t afraid of anything. I could sit down at the computer, and the words just flowed. In 2011, another of my .99 books (Haunted Lake) took off. Those were good years.

The Present – By 2012, everyone who even had an inkling they wanted to be an author was publishing ebooks. The market was flooded with books. And although I was really happy that authors had this opportunity, it really hurt a lot of us. Suddenly, there was SO much competition, especially in the paranormal romance genre. I struggled for the next couple of years, but I tried to keep writing as much as I could. My later books are so much better than my older ones, but they just don’t sell well. Then I started getting page fright. I lost the enjoyment of writing, and it became a chore. Every time I thought about sitting down to write, my stomach would clench up, and I suddenly found something else I needed to do instead. I would put off writing as long as I could. Back in August, when hubby was in the hospital, then out of work, I used all that stress as the excuse. The last part of August, I started writing on my WIP again, and I was averaging about 1,000 a day. Then hubby ended up in the emergency room again, although he was in the hospital only one night and day. But it messed with my head again. Now I’m FEARFUL. I’m scared to death to write. It took all I had to even sit down and write this post. I hate this!

I desperately want to find that fearless woman I used to be. I want to pull her out of that deep well I’ve drowned her in. I just don’t know how. I’ve thought about suspending everything on this pen name after publishing this next book and concentrating on my other name since it’s doing a little better. But I’m not sure I would be happy not writing any paranormal stuff. I feel like I’m at a crossroads and don’t know what to do. I know there are so many authors who hate or are tired of their day jobs and long to write for a living. I’m definitely one of them.

I know this post is kind of a downer, but I had to get that out.

I almost didn’t check in this time, but after the post on the ROW80 site that Eden Mabee wrote, I felt like I need to get back to this. This is a community. We are here to help each other. So I’m late, but I’m here.

Since my husband’s hospital stay and the subsequent financial situation, I’ve been nearly paralyzed with fear of the near future. Would he have another incident? Would he be able to go back to work before we started having to choose which bills to pay and which to let go? Would things ever get back to normal? Or would there be a new normal for us? I just couldn’t write during this time. I just didn’t want to. I had no motivation.

So…he went back to work last night. He called me this morning (he wasn’t home yet when I left for work) and said they had a busy night, but everything went fine. He has a fairly physical job, so I was a little concerned. I’m hoping things will be okay, at least for a long time. We have to live with the fact that he’ll always have heart problems. It’s hereditary; it has nothing to do with his habits. I’ll just pray that God will continue to take care of us.

I had just started the Dave Ramsey plan when all this happened. The first baby step is to get $1000 in an emergency fund as soon as possible. I had just saved $130 when hubby went into the hospital. Oddly enough, I didn’t have to touch the $130. We had some unexpected help from a couple of people. Plus, some people made food for us, so we didn’t have to buy many groceries. The strange thing is, we were able to actually make a budget that balanced out. Even with less money coming in, it somehow worked. I’m convinced God’s hand was in this. So I’m going to really work on staying on the budget and doing the baby steps. After we accumulate the $1000 emergency fund, the next step is to start attacking our debt. There will be less eating out, no unnecessary expenditures, and things WILL get sold on eBay.

The good news is that I’ve been writing again. My WIP is called Keeper of His Soul, a sequel to Soul of a Vampire. I’m a little concerned that it’s going to end up a novella instead of a novel, but I’m going to stop trying to force a book to be longer than it wants to be. So we’ll see what happens. It’s going in a totally different direction than I originally had planned. So that’s getting interesting.

I know I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve had a lot going on.

Hubby was in the hospital last month. I thought I was going to lose him. He went into AFib, and his defibrillator went off four times before he was able to call an ambulance to come get him. He was at work and was able to drive to his mom’s (just down the road) to call the ambulance. He should have called from work.

Hubby is much better. He’s not been able to work, mostly because his doctor can’t see him until Aug. 10. He feels much better and is anxious to return to his normal routine. Out of boredom, he’s cleaned just about every inch of the house.

I had a good cry this morning because I don’t know how I’m going to pay the bills with only my paycheck. But I trust that God will take care of us, so I put on my big girl panties and went on to work at a job I’m beginning to hate. Because you know what? There are people a lot worse off than we are. I should be thankful for what we have.

So, no more whining. I’ve let this whole thing be a big excuse for not writing. Many authors write better when they’re upset or depressed. It’s like writing lets them get everything out. I’m the opposite. I write better when I’m on top of the world happy. Yeah, I’m weird. So I actually got some writing in tonight. This story is going in odd directions I wasn’t expecting. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. LOL

Hopefully, I won’t be so absent from now on. I have a lot of blogs to catch up on, and I know some of my FB friends think I’ve gone into exile. I just haven’t felt very social. I’ll try to do better!🙂

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This whole round has pretty much been a bust when it comes to writing. I’ve done a LOT of editing for clients, though.

Here’s what I need to do. Yes, I still think I need to put my clients first because that’s what they’re paying me for. However, I shouldn’t put my writing at the very bottom of everything. I think I’m maybe doing it on purpose because it’s been so long since I’ve written anything that I’m afraid. I don’t know for sure what I’m afraid of, but I FEEL afraid when I think of my WIP. I need to get over that and get back to work.

So, having said all that, I want to be ready to get things done next round!