A Song of Guilt & Pressure

I wrote about 1,000 words of my new book today. Not a stellar amount, but not bad. The total word count is up to around 96,000 now, and I have a good amount of chapters left to write. It’ll surely be my longest book yet. It’s taken me several months of writing on and off, due to several factors such as being busy at work, being busy with other projects, and just general lack of inspiration. But I like how it’s turned out so far, and I think it’ll be a cool story. I hope.

As an indie author, it’s drilled into our heads that the best way to be successful is to write write write. And that hopefully all that writing is for a series, too. The latter is something I’m definitely failing in, considering I’m now writing my fourth standalone book. At least this one takes place in the same world as Balam! That’s a start, right? But the general consensus is: you need to be writing and releasing books frequently. That’s what retains readers, that’s what draws more in. The more books you have (cough in a series, ideally), the more read-through, the more Kindle Unlimited pages being read, the more copies you can sell, etc. etc. etc.

There are lots of indie authors who release multiple hundreds-of-pages books every year, and I genuinely don’t know how they do it. For some, that’s nearly 1,000 pages of content written, edited, and published every year. Even the authors who manage to pump out one 600-pager a year astound me. It takes a lot of time to plan, write, edit, and launch a book like that. How are you that productive? How are any of you productive enough to do it multiple times per year?

The point I’m getting at is that this is not my process. I simply don’t have the time or energy or inspiration to pump out that many words to hit deadlines like that. I can only write when I’m feeling really inspired and motivated; I’m not the type of person who can make themselves write 500 words a day no matter what. I have to be feeling it. Sometimes I’m feeling 500 words, sometimes I’m feeling 3,000. Sometimes I’m feeling 0.

This repeated sentiment in the indie writing community of needing to continually release content in order to be relevant and even a minor success has created a lot of guilt and pressure in my own process for the past several months. In the end it’s all self-imposed, sure, but it’s hard not to feel that way when so many people are saying “This is the way to be successful!” and you just…can’t do it.

I’ve been writing this current book for about six months now. According to some, I probably should’ve released two books in that time. At my current pace, I’m hoping to get this thing released in the fall, but even that I’m not 100% sure of. I’ve created this “fall” deadline in my head since that will be a year since my last book, and so every day where I don’t write or even just don’t write as much as I hoped fills me with guilt. Each of those days is a failure.

I keep trying to tell myself that there is no hard and fast rule, that all of us authors should just write at our own pace, release things when we’re ready. I tell myself that, hey, I actually did release two books last year (though one was considerably shorter than the other), so maybe I deserve some time to relax and just play games or read books. But then I think that I need a 2019 release, and the artificial pressure is back.

I’m trying to alleviate that guilt and pressure. Failing a lot of the time, but trying. And I guess that’s important.

I don’t know what the point of this post was. I guess just to get some of that pressure off my chest, and maybe see if any other authors feel the same way.

But anyway, I’m writing the next book, slowly but surely. I think it’s cool so far, and I’m looking forward to having everyone read Kali and Puk’s story. I’ll maybe have it out sometime in 2019, if I can manage.

We’ll see how it goes.