Something In The Air

J.A. Konrath is Treading Water. In his 10/22 post he talks about how he is now receiving 50-100 emails per week pertaining to his writing. At the the start of his career his intention was to answer all emails and in a timely manner. Now because of his career, that's becoming a true difficulty. His question: "Can we, as authors, ever reach a point where we can relax a little bit? Or are we salmon who never get to spawn, no matter how far up the river we get?"

Katie MacAlister talks about The Beast in the Machine in a 10/23 post at Romancing the Blog. She mentions the 2000 emails in her in-box (some there since 2005) that she had/has every intention of answering. Again best intentions have been tripped up by her career. Her post is actually quite humorous. Treat yourself if you can.

Ken Levine riffs on Knowing When to Stop. In his 10/24 post he addresses something that plagues most writers and can potentially lead to burn out. When is enough enough? When is it time to leave off and relax? Regroup? Ken notes:"Writing is rewarding but never easy. We resist starting and constantly fight the temptation to stop."

Jordan Summers ponders Success or Failure in her 10/24 post. She talks about today's authors killing themselves to meet today's publishers expectations by writing multiple books a year, and how that can lead to burnout out. She also ponders two roads to success... "Either you have to turn on the speed and produce several manuscripts a year for several years in a row OR you have to write one outstanding book that could launch you into space." She ends by asking readers/writers to chime in with thoughts on which road they'd like to travel and why. Hop over to read the interesting feedback.

Hmm. Skipping around blogosphere, reading these posts, I thought, "Er, are they talking to me?" Or maybe there's just something in the air. In my own 10/19 and 10/23 posts, I talk about feeling overwhelmed, nearing burnout. Now I'm not dealing with the amount of emails as Konrath or MacAlister. Jeez, I'm lucky if I hear from readers twice a month. I've yet to acheive the level of success or the exposure of these two authors. On the one hand, that's a tad disappointing. On the other-ACK-that's what I have to look forward to? Bukoo emails and dealing with the guilt of not having time to answer them? And I thought I was overwhelmed now.

Then there's the issue of feeling frustrated because you're not writing fast enough, so you push too hard, and eventually hit the wall.

Okay. So it's not just me. It's the nature of the business. Of the artist. It's knowing your limits, setting boundries, and attainable goals. Check. Check. Check.

I felt better yesterday, but I feel even better today. (Hey. Ken Levine does some of his best thinking in the shower, too!) I am not neurotic. Okay. I am. But I'm not alone. We're all breathing the same air. In a profession where it can be easy to feel isolated, there's a comfort in that. Repeat after me. "I am not alone." It's vital to realize that. It makes you pull yourself up by the bootstraps, helps you not to wallow. This morning I said to myself, "Get over yourself and just do it. If you think you've got it bad, how'd you like 2000 emails in your in-box?"

Okay. Now you try it. Fill in the blank. "It could be worse. I could_________"


Cynthia said…
Oh what a set-up. I'm not answering that last question. I've seen waaaayy to many soap operas - I know better.

But I have noticed across the blogosphere in the last few days or so the general feeling of burn out. I really do wonder if it's not seasonal? Personally my schedules get thrown off every year about now. I'm used to still having natural light at 8pm then suddenly it's dark at 6pm and we haven't even changed the clocks back yet. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this time of year, but the change from summer to fall always changes my writing schedule.
Scott Oden said…
"It could be worse. I could still be married to that witch and delivering pizzas for a living.

Motivation. It's a wonderful thing ;)
Beth Ciotta said…
"I'm not answering that last question. I've seen waaaayy to many soap operas - I know better."

Hee-hee. Good non-answer, Cynthia. :) You know, you could be right. Part of this wide-sweeping feeling could be seasonal. I don't think it's the whole enchilada, but could wel be a contributing factor. Tha lack of (less) sunlight. *shudder* How DO they deal with those months of darkness in Alaska??
Beth Ciotta said…
Oh, man, Scott. It really COULD be worse. Bet that daunting synop doesn't seem so daunting now. :)
Scott Oden said…
Very true . . . it makes the synopsis look like a walk on a sun-drenched tropical beach :)

Seriously, I'm at 32 pages and I'm NOT DONE! *headsmack* My editor's going to think I took a swan dive off the deep end. But, he *did* say he wanted layers, detail, and what amounts to a medieval Islamic version of Robert Ludlum . . . with a body count. Hey, I aim to please . . .
Mary Stella said…
"It could be worse. I could -- be sitting in a cold turnpike booth taking tolls."
Jordan Summers said…
It could be worse, I could still be slinging bags and delivering drinks on the airplane. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! *ggg*
Bethany said…
It could be worse, I could be selling/buying a home, caring for a 3 y.o. at home while I work, and dealing with some ahem personal issues.

Oh wait. I am.

Ah, hell with it! I can survive... we all do! :-) And it is seasonal. At least for me.
Anna Lucia said…
It could be worse, I could have given up by now.

I am no alone!

And neither are you.

Beth Ciotta said…
32 pages? For a SYNOPSIS? Good Lord, Scott. "It could be worse. It could be MY publisher asking ME for layered, detailed, account of the yet-to-be written story."

As someone who writes her best when flying into the mist... yikes.
Beth Ciotta said…
Mary, um, yes, that would stink.

Jordan, you're shattering my little girl dreams. I used to think it would be so cool to be a flight attendent. That or an astronaut. ;)

Bethany, I bet it's the home selling/buying thing that's really making life hell. Stressful with a capital S. Hang in there!

Anna, yikes! That would've been horrible seeing that you just SOLD! I, for one, am so glad you hung in!
Bob said… shoveling snow to get to some job I really hated.

Colorado is having a blizzard today, so I have some time to blog and blather.
mernitman said…
It could be worse. I could have lost the use of my opposable thumbs.
Beth Ciotta said…
Adore your new avatar, Bob. Is that a shot of you in Hawaii? Gee, an ow you're waist-deep in snow. Well, at least you'renot shoveling it. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
"It could be worse. I could have lost the use of my opposable thumbs."

Now that's just plain scary. ;) Ya know, I saw mernitman and thought, that can't be Billy Mernit. Color me wonderfully shocked. It was/is. Thanks for stopping by! Gee. :)
Constance said…
It could be worse, you could be a poet...

Then your email box makes cricket sounds, you talk to yourself, AND answer. Something like this:

"Is anyone reading poetry these days?
Scott Oden said…
Actually, Beth, the synopsis ended up being 37 annotated pages . . . with footnotes. *Head falls on desk*

Now is when they send the literary ninja after me . . .
FeyRhi said…
It could be worse. i could be living in Nunavut where it is COLD ALL YEAR ROUND!!! How many days till summer??
Beth Ciotta said…
I'll be checking your blog, Scott. Curious to know how the synop is received by your pub. ;)

FeyRhi, I feel for you. It's chilly here in Jersey just now. Where you are it must be flippin' COLD! Ack.

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