Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?
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Anne's Randomness

Starting over?

So according to the site I use to maintain my website and blog, I have no posts, no comments, and no traffic. I have often wondered what life would be like if that were true. If I had never followed that thought about writing a fan fiction where Harry got a new chance from the beginning, or if it had stayed the famous ten chapters long.
 
Where would I be today, if I hadn't written the Dangerverse? I was already writing in Trycanta before that, but let's be honest. Those stories were awful. And if they'd received only the welcome they deserved, I might have given up on writing, decided it wasn't for me, and thrown my energy into my chosen career path of teaching.
 
Today, some eight years out of college, I would probably be a very burned-out teacher, going back to the school year with resignation and disgust, having been ground down by impossible expectations and exhausted by trying to get kids to pay attention to something other than their smartphones and tablets. (Who, me? Bitter about current conditions in education? What would make you say that?)
 
Who knows? If I'd been forced out of my own head a bit more, I might even have made more friends, or met that particular someone special. Or maybe I wouldn't have. I don't know, I can't know, but that doesn't stop my brain from taunting me with it. "Well, you've ruined your chances at having a life with all this writing nonsense, and what do you have to show for it? Hmm?"
 
I have, looking honestly at reactions to my writing, a talent for evoking emotion in spoken dialogue. I also have a gift for creating characters who feel real enough that readers react to them as they would other people, with approval when my characters do what they like, or with anger when my characters behave in ways that are distasteful to them.
 
More than that, I have the knowledge that my writing has changed some people's lives, mostly for the better. That I have given some of my readers hope, helped them to believe that perhaps a family could be a good thing rather than a bad one, that not everyone in the world is only out for what they can grab, and that humor can be helpful in coping when life is hard.
 
What I don't have, equally honestly, is a social life, or much of a base of interests beyond my own writing. TV shows and movies overwhelm and embarrass me, most modern fiction leaves me either bored or disgusted, my taste in music is both eclectic and old-fashioned, and I'm so sick of people by the time my workday is over that all I want to do is go home and hide as long as possible.
 
I also have a hard time keeping up with the fast pace of modern social media. A successful self-published writer ought to be out in the thick of things, Tweeting back and forth, reading Facebook posts and replying to them, Pinning this and Snapchatting that, and so on and so forth. And I just can't. I can barely remember to blog and update the Facebook page most days, and I'm barely following a handful of people on Twitter but my feed still overwhelms me. Which is probably one of the many, many reasons I'm not a successful self-published writer.
 
A lot of people have opinions about what I should be doing. They range from "read more blogs and ask to guest-post" to "go to author events and network" to "get an agent and submit to traditional publishers". All of which suggestions have one thing in common. I want to hide under my desk at the very sound of the words.
 
Does that mean I will never be a successful author? That I am doomed to be small-time forever, sweat and bleed over my novels only to find that people prefer the stuff I tossed off in a few careless moments, watch the numbers on the free samples of my work mount higher and higher while paid sales stay at zero, zero, zero? Who knows. Not me, that's for sure.
 
Forgive my frustration. Sometimes I just need to vent. And if the fact that I vent, the fact that I'm a human being with needs and troubles of my own beyond those my characters have in my stories, makes you dislike me and want to go away... well, that's your call.
 
Thanks, as always, for reading (especially if you made it through all of that!). Calmer, less emotional posting should resume on Thursday. Oh, while you're here, what do you think of the idea of a Facebook store? I keep seeing the ads for it and it intrigues me, but I can definitely see some downsides as well...

7 Comments to Starting over? :

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Tricia on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 9:28 AM
What you are doing DOES matter, and I appreciate your efforts! I hope you do continue, with originals (of which I have all!)and fan fiction. You are an amazing writer. One of my favorites. Keep going!
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Anna L on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:40 AM
Hi Anne, first of all lots of hugs for all that electronic hugs are worth. I'm really glad that you started writing, because for the second month of august in the row the only thing that keeps me going through family medical emergencies is your writing-namely dangerverse. Sadly I dont have any deep pearls of wisdom as to how to make you more sucessful. I do believe that you will succeed one day. You are a very interesting person, and whatever time of day you can give us through writing, facebook posts is enough. Someday you will find confirmation of your purpose. In the mean time we can just provide you with encouragements and sometimes baked goods
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NotACat on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:40 AM
What that little voice seems to be forgetting is that without the writing it is entirely possible that you might have been just as overwhelmed, embarrassed, bored, disgusted, eclectic, old-fashioned and sick of people that you would be hiding under your desk anyway, but you would not have friends (not to mention your international audience) who love and adore you to provide you with encouragement to carry on. You did that. You brought people together all those years ago who are still around today, and made an impact on those who have wandered off to find their own fresh pastures. You encouraged other people to start writing. I can't speak for anybody else, but I doubt I would even have bothered trying if not for you. Whether I succeed or not is down to me, but the fact that I have chance to try is down to you. (So, bleh, if you want something to blame yourself for…take pity on anybody who ends up reading my assorted scribbles :-P) Of course you need to vent, and this is your space therefor. Anybody who has a problem with that, well I have a few creative solutions we can try on them, all in the name of science, obviously ^_^
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Julie on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 11:20 AM
Hi, Anne. Thank you for being as real as we are. I for one very much appreciate your work, and I think I may start gifting your books to people I think would enjoy them. I know it's not much, but... anyway, keep your chin up. :)
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Alex Conall on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 1:27 PM
I have opinions not quoted above! If you think there's a chance those opinions won't make you want to hide under the desk, you know where to find me.
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Kip on Thursday, August 28, 2014 8:11 AM
You're absolutely allowed (nay, expected, methinks) to vent when you need to. I like how Julie put it (and you, in essence) "Thank you for being as real as we are" The effort you put into writing is astounding and inspiring and humbling. I think you're pretty gosh darn awesome, and so do all these other people commenting and vigilantly reading your stuff. I hope your sales go up. I hope you figure out how to get things moneywise/salewise moving more (and I wish I had useful thoughts but I'm pretty clueless. Thanks for always letting us know how you are, Anne :) Even when it's less great than it could be, or just more pensive. Be well, Kip.
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lilyginnyrose on Friday, August 29, 2014 3:56 PM
You know, this is your blog. You can fill it however you want, so you don't have to apologize for ranting. We're here for you, to read whatever you write. And if I might say so, you have an image of yourself that's not nearly as positive as you deserve. Who says you aren't social? I see you joking around with Krystal and others on FB, and with the type of things you write, I can't see you doing anything else at home. As for 'the fast-paced modern technologies' you have a blog, a facebook page, a facebook group dedicated to the dangerverse, and a blog that's updated regularly. Me thinks you're doing a lot already. And yes, honestly, I don't know what kind of job you have, but it sounds like it sucks. I don't blame you for being tired after a day of work. I don't see however, how that would be different if you had become a teacher. You would still be tired, as you've said yourself. (not that I wouldn't love having you as a teacher, mind. I'm sure you can teach me better english and story-writing skills than my current one) So that's all I had to say. Thanks for sticking with it, with us, even though we don't always reward you. wieke, P.S. Your music style is awesome. I'm heavily influenced by what songs you've written stories for and what songs get mentioned on the fb page.
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