Saturday, October 7, 2017

My laziness or is it lack of ambition? by Harlie Williams

She’s fierce, right?  She is my logo for the review site, Harlie’s Books.  I love her and she is me when it comes to reviewing.  Not so much when it comes to writing.
Let me back up a moment.  I wrote a book.  Yes, I really did and the dozen or so people that read it and loved it.  I never made any money on it nor did I achieve any kind of ranking on Amazon.  But I was proud that I did something that a ton of people have never done or will do in their lifetime.  I published a book.  No one can take that away from me.  But what happened after that book was published is something that I want to talk about.
I thought more people would read it.  I toured with it and got really good feedback but no sales.  In fact, some people in the publishing world were downright cruel to me.  “Stick to reviewing.  You don’t know how to write a book.”  That was the nicest thing that I can put here.  Plus, it didn’t help that most of my blogger “so-called” friends didn't support me.  I had one blogger that did and actually liked the book.  I still support her to this day.  The others?  What can I say?  Not so much.  Of course, two of them are best-selling authors now.  I supported them in the beginning but I got absolutely NOTHING in return.  Hell, I didn’t even get an acknowledgment but that’s another blog, for another time.
The crit group I was in is/was awesome!  I can not say enough about them.  Helpful, encouraging and kind.  So why did I stop submitting things to them?  Honestly, life got in the way.  Moving, loneliness, anxiety from the move, money issues, and then still having to learn how to live with diabetes.  Plus, we realized that I needed to work outside the home and finding a job in a small town is NOT easy.  So, I decided to substitute teach in our school district.  I work almost every day of the school year now.  When I get home, I still have the house, husband, and kid.  I realize that other people have bigger problems that I have and they STILL write.  It’s a passion for them.  Not so much for me, I’m guessing.  I can’t make myself sit down and type the words.  If I have any time left in the day, I’m reading.  It’s how I relax.  Writing is NOT relaxing to me.  It’s anxiety to the max for me.
I could be jealous of my old crit partners, Anne Lange and Elle Boon for their huge success but I’m not.  They had the drive to write and the passion to do it.  I do, however, miss talking to them.  I miss my bestie, Krista Ames, too.  Now that she is writing in box sets, I never talk to her anymore.  Life has taken us in two different directions.  I love that she is successful now.  No one deserves it more.
So as I wait for the results of a writing contest that I entered, I have to ask myself this question…what happens if I place?  Eek!  I never thought passed just having the courage to submitting to the contest.  The reality is that if I’m asked to finish the story, I’m not sure if I can or will.  I work almost every day now and while the review site is slow, I’m still dead tired when I come home.  I actually like to spend time with my family and be able to do things on the weekend and not be tied to a deadline.
Does this make me lazy or do I have no ambition to write?  Sure, I write reviews but I’m not paid for those.  Oh, wait…I never got paid for that book I wrote either.
I don’t need advice.  Just wanted to share my thoughts.
I will let you know if I place or not.  Honestly, I can’t wait for the feedback.  Placing would be a bonus.
I didn't place but I got 82/100.  The feedback was awesome so I can take that with me.  I didn't get anything below a 3 (which is average).


Tim Smith said...

Harlie, I feel your pain and empathize. I'm not going to give you unwanted clichéd advice because I don't like getting it, either. I would say, however, that since you obviously love to write what you write, keep doing it. Trust me, someone will notice.

Hang in there!

Harlie Williams said...

@Tim Smith

Thanks, Tim! I actually have some feedback from authors that said my score is actually better than they EVER did. A "B" isn't too shabby! Maybe one day, I'll finish something again.


Tina Donahue said...

Congrats on the good feedback from the contest, Harlie.

This isn't advice, but an observation: The trouble with writing (from a newbie's or an outsider's point of view) is that they believe you wake up one day burning with an idea to write a book, you write it, put it on Amazon for sale, and make a gazillion bucks. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Would these same individuals believe that a concert pianist woke up one day, thought 'damn, I think I want to play the piano at Carnegie Hall', went to a piano, started plunking around, and within six months or less was on that esteemed stage? Hell no. The same goes for a professional dancer, gymnast, singer, actor, etc.

It takes years to hone skills, plus dogged determination to see them through.

Overnight successes are a myth. Look deep into that person's background and you'll see years of honing skills and persistence. Even if someone makes it on their first book, which is rarer than a purple whale, they have no idea what they did and find it difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate the magic in book 2.

If you want to write, you will, because you'll have to. It will be as necessary as breathing and eating. We've all sweated blood while facing that blank page. And we've all had many, many failures on the road to success. That's what writing is about.