Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Living with mediocre success

For as long as I can remember, I've been writing. I haven't made a million bucks doing this, haven't had my book on a bestseller list and never won an award, but that never kept me from doing what I love: Writing.

And it IS what I love to do. I'm not in this for the money, if there is that. Sure there are people telling you they know how you can make $40,000 a year writing. Or even $1,000+ a month writing. And that's all well and good.
But that's not me. I don't write for the money. I write because it's what I love to do. I'll write til the day I can't write anymore. And probably in the afterlife, I'll STILL be writing!

This kind of talk may seem "bad" to some people, especially those dead set on selling a bazillion copies of their books or who think this kind of talk is poisonous thinking to young talented minds. But it's how I feel.

I don't write because I want to be famous. I don't write because I want to make a ton of money from it. And I certainly DON'T write to one-up someone or get all the attention.

I write for the love of writing. And if that means I won't be famous, I won't sell a thousand copies of every single book, and my name won't be a "household word," that's okay. I am at least grateful that my writing is good enough to get into print.

I can't ask for anything more. And, really, I don't.

All the same, other authors make it seem like it's BAD to be "okay" with mediocre success. It's like if you're books aren't selling very well (and mine aren't exactly flying off the shelves), then you're not anybody important. You're not anybody special. "So you got a book published. Yay for you. I'm not seeing it at Borders and you've only sold 7 copies after getting it published 3 years ago."

Of course, I realize there are ways to change this level of success. There are things I could do, people I could call, articles I could send out into the world, talks and appearances I could make. Etc, etc. But there's NO WAY I'm going to step into something that calls for being chained to a computer or that means hours on the phone, composing emails and hunting down new promo oppurtunities. No, that's not me. I'll do signings, sure. Participate on a panel? Sign me up! But anything that calls for "obsessive PR" work, forget it. That's not me.

And some may say, "Well, you're just lazy. That's WHY you're not a successful author." They can say whatever they want to say or think whatever they want to think. I know the truth, and that's enough to help me sleep at night.

Sure, I can get disheartened over this. Sure I can get upset that I write books nobody wants. But, that's not going to happen. That would only take away why I REALLY do this in the first place: For the love of it. Besides, that kind of attitude right there is the REAL kind of poisonous thinking you need to watch out for. ;)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

One for the road

I promised myself NO MORE BOOKS for now. I've got waaaaay too many book projects going on right now. I'm not taking on any new work.

That was my mindset until last night. When I got an idea for a new one!

This book, however, is not one of those "write it NOW, publish it NOW" books. Actually, it's a book best left getting published several years down the road. It's nonfiction, yes, but a collection of essays, which I've come to feel is a kind of book that should never be rushed. Essays are, in essence, an observance, and this book would do well to allow for plenty of time for plenty of observation to go down.

So, at least I can relax and write this one at leisure, maybe during the times I'm stuck on another book or just as the muse strikes me.

Wow, I guess I really have turned into this one fictional writer who, upon getting stuck on one book in progress, sits down to work on another.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

And they're off!

Yesterday I submitted a poetry manuscript to a publisher. Today, after SEVERAL tackles with this computer constantly rebooting itself and the Internet getting all rebellious, I was FINALLY able to send ANOTHER manuscript, this one a novel, to another publishing company. Whew! So that's some pretty good book business taken care of this week.

I thought that now, at least, I could get back to work on other books. Then I receive an email telling me I had to get my essay revisions back to an editor at a magazine pronto. Like, in 10 days.

Gah! TEN DAYS?? But I still have the flu. *whines*

Ohh. Wait a minute. I'm leaving for Southern California on the 16th.

Soo, make that 9 days.

Gah! Nine days!

At least I won't be spending those nine days checking my email every five minutes to see if one of the publishers got back to me yet. (I know, I know. They're not going to respond THAT fast!)

Still no word yet on the submission of one other novel and two children's books. That's okay. Really. I'm not rushing anyone. Got enough rushing going on over here.