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Monday, July 9, 2012

The Indie in Me

My first inclination when I saw that this month's theme was "independence" was to talk about characters. I love independent girls - writing about them, reading about them, everything about them.

But then I thought about independence in writing. And my own "independence" day a few years ago. I'd just written four books in twelve months, including my last two YA books, which were written in three months each in order to meet a deadline for a simultaneous release. And when all the manuscripts were sent to my editors, and THE END was in sight, I just stopped writing. I couldn't even wrap my head around writing another book at that point. And the book my YA editor wanted me to write was not the same book that I wanted to write - I didn't want to write any book at that point!

So I did something I never thought I'd do. I took a pass on writing the book my publisher and editor wanted. And took a little hiatus. No deadlines, no daily word counts, no obsessing about where the next idea would come from. And it felt great, almost freeing. And when I started writing again I was actually excited. It was an idea I wanted to play with. And I've been writing it for over two years. Over two freaking years!! This from a writer who has finished books in mere months.

It made me realize that sometimes independence doesn't come from liberating yourself from someone or something else, but from your own expectations of what you're supposed to do. I was supposed to keep publishing a book or two a year. I was supposed to write what I'd written before. Only what I was supposed to do wasn't what I wanted to do. And real independence is having the courage to make choices and decisions that only you can make.

6 comments:

  1. Good for you! And scary, too. Saying no in this business requires a belief in yourself and your work and often it's easier to say yes, yes, yes. I agree. Sometimes, it's okay to say no, too.

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  2. Expectations can be tricky to deal with. Over and over, I find that the way to happiness often lies in shedding or adjusting them.

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  3. Joy, not so sure it was a belief in myself or just an attempt to gain some sanity after writing myself into the ground that year. Now I can't even imagine "not writing" but at the time I was so over the whole thing! And now I'm scared shitless that I forgot how to write!

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    1. No way--you never forget. Your skills didn't go anywhere--you're just coming back to those skills with a fresh perspective...

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  4. You are a badass of the very best kind!

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  5. Several years ago I let my agent talk me out of writing a story I wanted to write. I've always regretted it. When I finish my current project, I'm going back to it.

    Good for you!!!

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