Monday, August 22, 2011

When the business of writing intrudes on art

I was way the heck out in Amish country, and I couldn't relax.

I was in a tiny cabin with no phone, no kids and no WiFi and yet, I couldn't stop fidgeting. I was supposed to be working on my latest fiction project. But the words wouldn't come. Instead, my mind was racing. I wanted to check my book sales. I wanted to see if an anticipated review had been posted. I wanted to check just one more thing off my list ...

I wanted, I realized with a sinking heart, to be a businessperson more than a writer.

My emphasis on marketing had worked too well. The business side of self-publishing was now intruding on the creative side. I had a story inside me I couldn't get out because I was too busy selling a different one.

Before I published my book, I would sit down and write just to write. I never thought about selling or strategizing. I wrote because I loved to write - not because I was selling anything. So what was wrong with me now?

The scales had tipped too far to one side, I realized. I needed balance. And it took me awhile - some quiet time, some thinking, and a few hard-won pages - to get things back to normal.

But I'll be more watchful from now on. Because when business overtakes art, it shows.

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