I've been lucky to have writer friends going through similar experiences at the same time I have. Seeking that first book publication ... launching a first novel ... juggling the writing of a second book with promoting the first ... We rode those roller coasters together. And many of us have also hit a point, a few books into our careers, where we ask ourselves what's still working for us and what isn't. Where we refocus on the writing, and reconnect with whatever spark led us to pick up a pen or tap a keyboard in the first place.
Most people don't start
writing because of riches and fame, which are rare in this field and
more easily had by pursuing a different career. We start writing because
we have something to say. And sharing that writing can be wonderful; it
is the natural next step. But along with that comes pressure and worry
about what people will think--will they approve, will they condemn, will
they ignore, will they pay? What will sell? What will please that one
reviewer who pointed out that one flaw? What will please the reader who
thought the ending was too sad? What will please the parent who thought
the language was too rough? What will please that bookstore buyer who
wants more zombies?
I'm not saying that thinking about the
audience is wrong, or that we should never take feedback. I'm saying
that when we find ourselves lost in projecting and predicting the
reactions of others, when their voices (as we imagine them) drown out
our inner voice, it might be time to reset the compass. And ask: Where
was it I originally wanted to go? What do I need to say?