This post was posted this morning on The Self-Publishing Experiment, but seeing as how I’ve spoken about this project on my blog as well I wanted to share this here.
Previously Posted on SPE:
Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. Tough choices that hurt or might hurt others. It’s one of the suckiest things about being an adult, but it has to be done. It is what it is. It sucks, sometimes you want to cling so tightly to something because it is a part of you, but if you step back you realize that this idea you are holding onto might do better without you… So you have to move on, let it go, and realize that everything is going to be okay… Everything is going to be okay.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to break out in song like some inspirational Disney movie. Just busting out some hard self-truths. When I was little one of my favorite songs was The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. 1978’s wisdom still rings true today.
“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done”
I don’t like to give up, I try not to make it a habit, but there are times when you gotta know when to walk away. I have been working on a project co-writing A Demon’s Heart with Alexandra, we’ve talked about it here occasionally so it would be shady if I didn’t address the changes that are taking place behind the scenes and what has changed for the book.
We started this project as our NaNoWriMo project last November. The main male character was a character I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I have a huge obsession with the last Russian Royal Family, Rasputin is by far one of my all time favorite real-life villains, and I was excited to tell their sides of a story that I have had bits and pieces of floating around in my head for years. But 10 days into November my world fell apart. Quite literally the life I had known for 12 years came crumbling down one Sunday morning. Life shattered and the other half of my heart walked out of my house in handcuffs.
I cried a lot. And no, I’m not going into all the details of what happened then or what is happening now. But I am explaining this so that you will maybe somewhat understand where my head has been for the past six months. Those first few weeks were complete chaos and fear. I had no idea what I was going to do, how my kids and I were going to survive while the rest of our lives were held in limbo. I couldn’t write. I had been working on two projects: Steamworks and A Demon’s Heart, and dabbling in Waking Up In Chains when all of this happened. Every time I opened scrivener to try to work on them afterwards my hands would shake, full on panic attack would set in, I would just look at the screen, cry and hyperventilate.
But I am prideful. I am a people-pleaser. Co-dependent. Whatever you want to call it. So starting in mid-December through February I pushed myself to try to help finish ADH with Alexandra, but behind my computer screen I was a mere robot and in order to get any words out for this story I had to simply cut off my emotions and the end result (from my prospective) is a very forced and unfocused piece of writing on my end (and I am only speaking about the parts I wrote and how I feel about it). It was hard, my head wasn’t in the right place. If this were a solo project I would just shelve it because it’s too raw of a pain for me to look at, but this is a co-writing project, therefore shelving it isn’t an option.
The only option (for me) was to look at what was best for this project and for Alexandra. My decision was to take my name off of it. A lot can be fixed in editing but all in all, me not being attached to this project is what is best because I can not heal if I have to constantly look back at what I was working on when my old life came tumbling down. It just rips the scab off of the wound and starts to bleed again.
My life being in shambles wasn’t the only reason I made my decision. I also feel like I don’t have enough fans to help drive sales, this type of book will benefit being under one author’s name and a name that has more of a following. That’s just smart marketing tactics. Some readers of one author might have too much of an emotional attachment to their “author” and wouldn’t want to dip their toes into something new. We all know that feeling, you have your favorite pair of shoes, they are comfy and broken in, it almost feels wrong to slip your feet into some new, unknown pair. Secondly, because of my robot-state I don’t feel like I contributed much to the story, sure the Alexei parts and Rasputin parts are there but all in all, I don’t feel like my contribution deserves my name on the cover or any part of the profits. And third, the books POV should be considered. And that is everything I took into consideration, but mostly, it was how I feel, in my heart. This project is just too much for me to deal with while I am still mentally healing and sorting out this new life which to be honest comes with a steep learning curve for everyone involved.
Now other changes that will happen I will leave to Alexandra to explain if she wants to, as is fitting, this is her ship to sail and that is her project.
I am sad, sad that my vision of character ideas I’ve had for a long time won’t be mine, but one day when the past doesn’t hurt I suppose I can look back at that and maybe enjoy the fact that there are bits and pieces of me that might have remained (after some heavy editing LOL). So bottom line is: Sometimes you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.
So this is me “folding” for now. Other projects (ones started while my head and heart have gotten a bit clearer) are in the works. I have not given up on writing. But I am smart enough to recognize when something isn’t good for my soul. And right now, in this moment, this project isn’t good for my soul. And in related news, Steamworks is shelved indefinitely. My path isn’t set in stone and can’t be defined by what other people choose to do. I walk my own path and sometimes that path needs to be cleared of the rubble and debris; and other times I have to veer off that path and start blazing a new one.
If there is one thing I hope you take away from this post it is this: Do what is best for you. Find your bliss, follow your heart, but don’t get so bogged down by “what you think you should be doing” that you make choices that aren’t in your best interest. Be brave enough to be kind to yourself. Sometimes that is the hardest lesson for us to learn.