Doing something a bit differently in this post. Inspired by a comment on a yahoo group for Indie authors, I penned a response that was reminiscent of those times when the writing flows so well, it’s almost like the universe wants me to write what’s being written. The comment addresses how frustrating it can be when you observe a trend that passes you by. As authors, we are all keenly aware of our uniquely personal pacing of production–how long it takes me to write a book is not how long it takes someone else. I could be a speed freak compared to them…or they could whiz by me so fast they go to plaid on my radar (points for you if you get that reference).
But it’s not just writers who experience this. Any creative person–hell, anybody with a good idea, or even just someone who finds last week sale on widgets the day after it ends, have all felt the keen pressure of something having passed us by.
So here’s the thing for writers.
When Amanda Hocking was doing her thing, there were just as many of us thinking we should have gotten on the Erotic Romance gravy train sooner because Ellora’s Cave and the epublishers were selling like hotcakes. And before that, it was vampires. Before that, it was chick-lit stories about city girls who obsessed about shoes, and some of us couldn’t get our shoe queen stories out there fast enough. There is always *something* that’s new and flashy and will make a mint o’ money for those who are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with the right book(s). You can either always be missing out on someone else’s timeline…or you can recognize that your timeline is your own, and you’re exactly where you need to be.
One day, that will be us, we all hope. But the reality is, that even those “overnight successes” were in the business, just paddling along, for five, ten, fifteen, twenty years until they hit that magical combo of luck, skill, talent, and voice that launched them. You never know when it will be your turn, and you can’t make the lottery hit your numbers. So you keep on paddling along. Write the books that make you want to get up in the morning and write. Put them out there so that reader who *doesn’t* want to get up in the morning can find them and read them and realize they’ve given *her* a reason to get up in the morning and keep going. Own your awesome, and be awesome on your own schedule, because that is what lasts. In the fallow periods after they hype hits, where everyone moans that they’ve been glutted with vampires, or single in the city stories, or will barf if they see one more rom-com with a cartoon cover, if that’s what you love, there will still be awesome in your work, and that awesome will find readers who aren’t yet sick of fangs, Jimmy Choos, or cartoon covers.
And that is what you can take to the bank.
It’s just as true if you paint watercolor landscapes, but bemoan the fact that everybody wants digital photography right now. Or if you were Goth back when we had to steal Grandma’s crochet tablecloths and dye them black in plastic buckets before we sewed our own dresses out of them (why do you think batwings were so in Goth Vogue–less cutting!), and now see the kids going into the pre-packaged mall store that has all the velvet and lace finds in one convenient place (brand new, rather than pre-owned, and already in dress-shape and not incorrectly labeled as curtains!). You will always be a beat behind someone else’s timeline, simply because you can’t hear the music.
In my personal Act Two, I have to remind myself to keep listening for the musical cues that tell me when to take the stage on my own play, rather than hearing the strains cueing a walk-on to someone else’s. Where’s your beat?