Erin Lausten

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The Value of Not Making it Yet…

Posted by erinlausten on March 9, 2012

I have determined that writing is a lot like losing weight. It’s on my mind. I am trying to do both.  I’ve heard some people compare writing a book to giving birth. Having experienced each, it just doesn’t fit for me. Giving birth was a lot more like being on a roller coaster. Pregnancy the part where you are just slowly rising to the top, labor that terrifying moment at the precipice when you realize you can’t get off and then the insane plunge where it really doesn’t matter what you do, you’re going with it.

Now, writing a book on the other hand is different. There is a definite choice there. I can finish, I can quit. It is all up to me, and that choice is there every stinking moment of the day. And life just loves to throw those chocolate cakes in the way. (I will have you know, I walked past a chocolate cake all day yesterday! So proud of myself, but I digress)

 Now the similarities don’t stop there. When we start a diet and exercise plan (the strategy we employ to lose weight), we have stars in our eyes. I can visualize dropping those pounds, the clothes I will be able to wear again, the way my body will feel again. And we jump in gung ho and excited. Except… it takes time–A lot of time. And those chocolate cakes keep doing the Rockettes dance in front of us. (Ok, so I am a little focused on the chocolate cake, can you blame me? It was there, chocolate, and FREE! And I had to say no. So sad. So very, very sad.)

I found the same excitement when I started writing and publishing independently. I could see the books written and a way to actually make a living off of it. Sure I fantasized about big bucks, but more importantly, I saw a way to make a reasonable living doing what I love. That visualization is essential to getting through those tough times when the words won’t come or again, that blasted chocolate cake decides to dance a jig on your desk at work.

But the success doesn’t happen fast. Just like I won’t drop twenty pounds in a week (or even a month), I won’t be selling scads of books right away either. I know. Because I’m not.

The dangerous time is when you realize the fantasy of quick success is exactly that–a fantasy. Like I said, there is nothing wrong with the fantasy. It helps us get through the tough times. But, if it gets hard and doesn’t happen quick like you dreamt and then you quit, maybe you didn’t want it all that bad.

I got through that tough spot just recently. Second guessing myself. Thinking of how to market the snot out of myself just to pull a few sales. And I realized I had a plan for long term success. And that included writing lots more, practicing the craft, writing even more, and watching the business and industry.

 I don’t need to be a success yet. Just like I don’t need to lose ten pounds this week. The only thing the frustration will do is make me want to quit, and then I have nothing.

So I am letting it go. And the best part of not making it yet? I don’t have the stress of figuring out why I made it. I can just focus on the next book (the next pound) and keep on going. Eventually I will look up and things will be much different. But right now, I am working on that next book.

And what is that next book you may be asking? Well, I just finished up a draft of Unforeseen, Book Two of the Viator Legacy Series. That is with my Beta readers and should be ready for publication in May. Now I am elbows deep in finishing up two shorts for the MacHurdyGurdy series for a three story compilation that will also be released in May. And after that… well, I have plans. (evil grin)

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7 Responses to “The Value of Not Making it Yet…”

  1. Awesome post, hon. 🙂 And I can sooooo relate to what you have said in this about writing us I was trying to write a romance novel-something in which I am not naturally gifted-and it isn’t panning out too well. So, I’ve decided to just write it for me, not to publish it. And since then, I’ve found it easier to write. No pressure. And I’ve just let it go, as well, on pressuring myself to write to finish any books. Since then, I have been less stressed and, ironically, have found writer’s block to lift easier, on writing my other poetry book and my fourth book, as well (the second poetry book and the fourth book-not a poetry book-will be books I plan to publish with that I am now just tkaing my time to write. I can understand you taking your time to do so, as well, on yours, and of you just letting it go. 🙂

    • I think we all thrive on some kind of pressure, but it is dependent on who we are. For instance, I do very well with self inflicted (yes inflicted, not imposed) deadlines. But others don’t do well under those at all. Finding that place where you can comfortably write is key. I am so glad the romance is coming easier. It is fun to experiment, and perhaps you have found a new outlet. 🙂

      • Very true. 🙂 I think we do all thrive on some kind of pressure. I also thrive on self-inflicted pressure when writing. It is best for me. I am also glad romance is coming easier to write. It is fun to experiment, I agree. I hope I have found a new outllet. I know a lot of my poems have been about domestic violence or varied topics, but some also have been about romance or have been of romantic or sexual nature about and for someone I’ve cared, sincerely. Writing a romance novel has been very fun and is teahcing me the mistakes in writing and teaching me what to NOT do in writing something. Lol. But, so too, it is giving me a lot of learning in what to do and is just awesome to write of this way (to write a romance novel instead of writing romance type stuff in poem form). It is gettng me used to writing in a different way. And, health providin, I’d like to gain a lot of experience-years’ worth of experience- and after many novels, later, then and only then, publish a romance novel I will have written and finished. But, I want a lot fo experience writing romance novels before I publish any romance books, especially since writing romance novels is so new to me.

  2. Well said, Erin, and very wise. I know the frustration at times can be very hard to deal with, but letting it go is the best thing. And taking the steps one at a time is better for us as authors rather then letting ourselves get way ahead of where we are.

    Your first Viators book is smashing.

  3. Quick success can be a double-edged sword (at the risk of sounding cliche here). I had it. My first novel had a 250,000 first print run and went into five printings. I made a lot of money. But when you have that, it’s a tough act to follow. And because my publisher didn’t let me do the projects I wanted most to do, I inevitably burned out.

    Now, I find the things I once wanted don’t matter at all. I don’t make the kind of money I once did, but I love what I’m doing. That, in the end, is what real success is all about.

    • Spot on Norma.
      Success is a subjective quantity, dependent on personal desires, needs, and experience. I think we tend to assume that a person’s success is the same as the next. That we all aspire to the riches and lifestyle of the celebrities that fill so much of our media space.

      For some, success may be completing a book, selling a copy, selling tons of copies, or writing that next book. For me, success is intangible, it is a journey toward a dream that in reality is never quite what you expected. And that is the adventure that keeps me going.

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