I’ve gotten over the need for others’ approval of my writing years ago by adopting the attitude that if I shared my fanciful tales honestly and interwoven with truth, then public opinion is the effect but not the result of the cause. So I strive for a positive product, yet the reason I write is because I’m compelled to, regardless of the effect.
Of course I don’t equate the free promotion with making a major sacrifice—like giving away all your worldly belongings or laying down your life, but it is a small cost. It is in no way a selfless act because the hope is that by giving away a little (a novel), I’ll gain much (a readership). So sacrifice isn’t the right word choice—a bit strong; however, any time a writer offers a piece of themselves—always the case when writing from the heart—there is the risk involved of laying it on the altar of public opinion, and to lay it there for no compensation… That gives someone who still needs to earn her living pause.
In celebration of the completion of the promo and just under 1,700 book downloads, I took Harper (my Belgian shepherd) for a four mile hike on a nearby “wilderness” trail. It was hot—this is, after all—Austin in August. Rock climbing proved strenuous and sweaty. Maybe females perspire, but when you’re keeping up with a one year-old shepherd on a steep path, you sweat whatever your gender. The metaphor didn’t strike me until I was home, showered and hearing Harper’s pants subside. The hike was a fitting picture of the writing/selling effort. Both are:
• A time investment
• A strenuous labor
• A series of ups and downs
• A sweatoff that you pray doesn’t turn into a meltdown
• Rewarding and beneficial
Climbing requires strength and commitment—whether it’s up a rock ravine in the hill country or building a career. I chose these hills just like I chose writing, and while it’s lovely to say I finished a hike or a book, the real joy is the successive act of putting one foot/word forward without falling off of the trail.
As much as I love hiking, I know I wouldn’t climb out of bed and do it consistently if a pair of soulful brown eyes weren’t imploring me—not to mention the repeated nose-nudges. As much as I love to write, would I really complete and polish the stories if I didn’t hope that somewhere, someday people would read them? So even though the promotion feels a lot like the last half mile of the hike when I’m wondering why I do this to myself, the pound of flesh I lose in both efforts is beyond-worth-it.
Thank you for being my reader. Without you, I wouldn’t keep getting up…