One day as I scrolled through my Facebook page reading the usual micro-diary of people’s thoughts, dreams, and frustrations, I had this impeding reaction of wonder. Years I’ve spent on this social media giant, networking with rookies and seasoned authors, as well as, giving my heart and soul by promoting my books, I asked myself, “Is this all worth it?”
Now authors, before you scream the obvious answer, let me say I love what I do. I love to create new worlds and develop unique characters; but more importantly, I love the freedom to think creatively. So, of course, this part is well worth it. I wouldn’t change my gift for anything. However, and maybe it’s just me because my patience can get thin, the Internet…well, it’s becoming a quicksand for creativity and common sense. And I must admit; I’ve contributed my share of the bullshit, too.
Every day I would follow the norms of what an author (whom wear many hats) do: marketed their work while doing amateur public relations. It was fun at first, creating new ideas to get my books to vast audiences. But then what was supposed to have been simple promoting had turned into a laborious task. The excitement had come to an imminent crossroad.
A few weeks ago, probably around Ash Wednesday, frustration had taken its toll. I just released my latest novel, The Journey of Ruthie Belle with favorable reviews, and had hired one of the best literary managers in the business to help me widened the book’s promotions. Then, after one promotion after another, interviews, and a receptive response from readers, the zeal to the dream had wavered and I wanted out.
If you know me personally, or through mutual contact as a colleague, you should know I consider my latest book as my fourth child. It had taken me ten years to write the book, along with the constant revising and rewriting of the manuscript; the promotions, updating book covers, creating media kits, my Pink Noire startup, and extending my brand to create a platform for other authors by founding the Urban E-book Fair. But as the late, great Blues singer, B.B. King singed, The Thrill is Gone.
Yes, I know, what happened? Did I lose interest in this writing career? Or, did I stop believing in the possibilities? Or, even a better question, were my dreams a just delusion of grandeur? I mean after all, I can be my biggest cheerleader, where all things are possible and failure is not an option; or, just be part of the pack and do what they do, and get eaten by wolves.
The short answer: The thrill just needed a break.
While any parts of the entertainment business aren’t for the weak-of-heart, especially in the literary field, I can say I don’t intimidate easy; I just don’t care for the fuckery that comes with it. And what I mean when I say “fuckery”? This: Success can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you’re riding a wave of accomplishments and relishing in your hard-fought labors, but those same accomplishments, for some, bring unsavory egos. I used to scratch my head, trying to figure some of these people out, but not anymore. I’m done. I can’t live my dream while worrying about theirs – and it’s not selfishness, it’s called focus.
The thing is, my passion is not lost nor a delusion. I know I can write a damn good story. The problem is, I’ve been exerting my efforts in the wrong direction. Promoting should be fun instead of an exhaustive measure. Networking should be way to develop new contacts and opportunities, but not looking over your shoulder to see whether they’re carrying a knife (you know, the backstabber that smiles in your face). Promoting supposed to be effortless, a calling card of hard work to your artistry.
In no way, I’m placing my mental fatigue on social media or a person. When I scrolled my timeline on that day, my intuition had awakened me. My efforts were being placed in one basket instead of a world that rarely or don’t use the Internet at all. Believe or not, there are people that still prefer old-fashioned, communication – eye contact with a handshake (or for some, a hug). And for me, I need to feel that energy.
If you’re an artist (author) and you’ve experienced this kind of fatigue, please share your story in the comment section. Developing a brand, coupled with a God-given gift and a great product, is overwhelming. I’ve been in this business for six years, and I understand, now, there’s nothing wrong with taking a hiatus or trimming your circle of colleagues. This is your dream, and you should navigate it to any direction your heart takes you. It’s not called giving up; it’s called once again…focus.