I’ve got an admission to make: I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. And I crave praise. Yes, I suspect somewhere in the depths of my psyche there lives a little puppy dog who needs a pat on the head to feel happy.
Since I sold my first novel, I put huge pressure on myself. Mostly, this was done unconciously. I simply expected my novels to do fantastically well. Like, making the bestseller lists. Or winning a RITA. Or something. Take your pick, but make it big. I envied other newbie writers whose first novels were great successes. Oh, how I envied them!
When people told me that I had already achieved so much, I secretly thought they were humouring me. What do they know anyway? In a way I could only see the things I had not achieved.
I wanted to be a great writer, I wanted to be a successful writer, I wanted my novels to be loved by everybody and their auntie, I wanted them to be perfect.
As you know, there were also quite a lot of other things going on in my life at the time, so in the end, writing had become utterly, utterly exhausting. Some time after I had handed in the manuscript of Bewitched, my Muse eventually decided to pack her bags and go on an extended holiday. Then, of course, our cats fell ill and I simply didn’t have enough energy left for writing, with or without the Muse. All the drama and scandals and what-nots of Romancelandia suddenly seemed so very, very unimportant.
This year, as you are probably aware from some of my posts *g*, the Muse (with sunglasses and flamboyant hat) returned from her holiday (waving her umbrella and shouting, “Cooo-eee!”), but as I had to battle dragons, I didn’t have any time for her.
But now that the dratted diss is finished I do have time. In the past few months I had to face some uncomfortable realisations. Like, that somewhere along the way I lost the joy of writing. Due to the fact that I put so much pressure upon myself, writing became just another troublesome task. How ironic is that? My whole life I’d dreamt of becoming a published author, but once I was a publisher author, I botched it, just because I’m an idiotic perfectionist. Duh.
In the end, being published or not, isn’t the most important thing after all. The joy is. The joy and exhilaration of losing oneself in a story and bringing it alive on empty pages. That is what has always been important to me and very much a part of myself. And I want it back.
Over the next few weeks and months, I plan to rediscover the joy of writing. I will wear my Muse’s flamboyant hat (metaphorically speaking, mind you!) and will write whatever I like without giving any thought to whether it fits the marketplace or not. I will be as fanciful as I like, as silly as I like, and as extravagant as I like. I won’t waste time with envying other people for their successes. Life is really too short for that kind of nonsense.
And now please excuse me. I have to log off and wear a flamboyant hat and start a smooch-fest with my Muse.