Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to talk about taking her professional life back for herself.
The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, will be released on January 24, 2015.
Confined to a bed in a dark, silent room for five days, I found myself taking stock of my life. It happened between battles with a stomach bug, fever and four cats that wanted to give comfort in suffocatingly close proximity.
In these soul-searching hours I realized that my life has been hijacked for several years. At some point I started investing more time in the training and teaching of new writers. It was a great feeling to have something worthwhile to share. Mentor—has a nice ring to it, right?
I also got out of the narrow definition of “writer” and into the business, promotion and lecturing end of things. Blogging satisfied the need to communicate in ways one-way fiction doesn’t. The immediacy of social media brought new friends to my cyber doorstep.
But there’s a downside. I became too easily available. Not for hardworking writers seriously pursuing craft and career. They were respectful. No, it was coming from people who liked the idea of being a writer more than actually doing the work.
Not that they don’t write. They probably write more than I do. And re-write. And embellish. And come up with additional subplots. I have to take their word for it because I’ve never actually read any version of the never-ending masterpiece.
Some people are natural born storytellers with a bit of a performer in the mix. They should be on stage, not stuck in a room staring at a computer screen. What they want is an audience. So, they grab attention by asking for advice or bouncing ideas off me. They appear to listen but I’m just a sounding board for the echo of their own voice.
Then there are those who are at the brink of publication—and stall at the precipice. The next step is too much to handle. What if they fail? What if they don’t get massive sales? What if—God forbid—their work is ignored?
There’s only so much hand-holding I can do. Yes, writers make mistakes. I know very few, myself included, who’ve had an easy time in their first attempts at publishing. Mistakes do not make or break a career. What I want to do is toss them over the cliff and show them it’s only three feet high. They are not Humpty Dumpties. They will survive a few cracks.
And, finally, I’m burned to a crisp from being a role model whose experiences are ignored. New authors ask me how to get big sales then argue they can do it with less effort. Wealth and fame will follow once their brilliant work is discovered. The fantasy is so much more pleasant than reality but the bank account stays empty.
So, in my dark room I decided to take my life back. Dialysis demands I be frugal with my time and energy. My new book, A Snitch In Time, is coming out in 4 days. I didn’t run it through a critique group. None of my friends know much about the plot. I never felt the need for a second opinion. I’ll either fly or fail on my own power.
I’ve finally seen the light.