J. Michael Gonzalez

The Long Silence

It's been a long time since I've last made a post. I never *quite* got into the habit, but that needs to change. I recently handed off my tax paperwork to my accountant, and looking over those papers was a bit of a wake up call. I'm still writing, still looking to make the shift to writing full time, but in writing Secrets of Tevithic, I'm finding a new set of challenges. I suspect that every book is going to be its own set of challenges and rewards. Having self published Half Moon Chronicles, I'm looking to try and get Secrets published via traditional publishing, but that's a long row to hoe. I went to my first writing convention some months ago (another blog post which needs to be written) and it gave me a clearer picture of both publication routes, traditional and self-published.

But here's the challenge: they both require an aggressive and determined media strategy to advertise your catalog and build a following. That right there is pretty much a full time job all by itself, so I'm faced with the additional challenge of juggling my tech consulting business (until my writing can float my finances), my marketing career for my own work, and, of course, my writing. It's frustrating that the thing I most want to be doing with my time barely gets a third of my time (if that), but this is what I signed up for, and one way or another I'll find a way to make it work. But in thinking about this (and looking at my tax paperwork for last year), a few things now seem very clear to me which I sort of intuitively understood but never quite consciously acknowledged. To make this work:

  1. You have to be convinced that your work has value, that your words matter, that your voice is worth listening to. You need to have a nearly unshakable belief that your creation is worth reading, otherwise your doubts will make a very difficult task even more difficult.
  2. If you can convince yourself of the above, you can't give up. You have to keep working, to fight through your doubts, your bad days, the unkind words of others, all of it. It's okay to feel down and maybe take some time to cool off but if you want to be successful (at anything, really) you just can't stop working toward your goal. Most people that reached the pinnacle of their respective careers worked their asses off to get there!
  3. While still stinging from my taxes, I was playing some silly video game and a feeling which has been dogging me for some time finally surfaced: time spent playing that game was time not spent working on either of my current writing projects, was time not spent executing my marketing strategy and building a following, was time spent allowing what momentum I might have had to dissipate--and we're not even talking about the consulting money I wasn't making! Rest is necessary, but once you're rested, any more is just that much less time you have to move toward your goals.
  4. ALWAYS have a plan; it doesn't have to be immutable; circumstances will often force change upon you, but always know what your next step needs to be. It's okay to focus on the little steps--write a blog post, figure out this plot point, write a page before bed, etc. But it's also good to know what your long term plan is, too: finish Secrets, start actively building a following, make a little more money this year than last year, and so forth. It's okay if your plan has delays, or if other things discovered along the way add more steps to your plan, but remember the previous things: believe in your work, don't give up, make conscious decisions about time, and always have a plan.

This last point is probably a blog post all by itself.... A month's worth of posts (more, really!) stacked up as a result of this one, and I'm not even done with this one!

So yeah, a number of things came together to make for a Long Silence, including: HMC2, my first writer's convention and time it took to pick up the pieces and continue; I've found a writing group that I'm going to check out; I went to Arizona and bought a new car (which has been a total nightmare to get registered in the state of California). I am now focused on Secrets of Tevithic (although not exclusively--more about Season of the Serpent later). Oh, and I'm finally launching the marketing strategy that my social media-enabled eldest sister helped me to plan--which should mean weekly posts here. I had intended to say something profound or fun, but I guess I needed to get all that off my chest first, basically to prove that this whole adventure still has a heartbeat, and is still plowing ahead!