When you have complete control over your book’s presence in the market, it’s easy to get caught up with monitoring that presence day and night, every day, by the hour or by the minute, but when you get caught up in the minutes, you forget just how many of them are there…and how many of them you might not have left. An indie writer controls her book creatively and economically…to a point, but while we may control what’ in the minutes, we don’t control the minutes themselves.
Every hour is a suitcase that’s the same size and shape, and you can only fit so much into it. You can play with the numbers, but that doesn’t change what they mean or the math itself, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that math is math and writing is not math. Math is not writing, your sales are not your stories but your wordcount is, but only if the number of words is equal to the quality of those words, and math doesn’t measure quality because it’s quality-assured, three will always be three of something and is guaranteed to never be four. But one hour will always be one hour, and it can either be one hour of hitting ‘Refresh’ on your browser as you glare at the Amazon sales numbers and watch them stagnate or climb not fast enough, or a rare joy of watching them climb faster than you expected, but that one hour spent hitting ‘Refresh’ will never be one hour of writing no matter how you justify it, and isn’t that why you got into this gig to begin with?
The numbers will always be what they are and never what they’re not, which is the reason why you got into writing, or the story you want to tell, or the people in your head who talk too much. The money will always be nice, or not as nice as it could be, or not there one month but suddenly very present the very next, or more than you ever made with a publisher, or less than that success story who made it look easy but the money will never be the story, and the numbers will never be your words.
The writing hasn’t changed.