Things I learned in 2013
|December 30, 2013||Posted by Cambria under Uncategorized|
I’ve come to realize that sometimes people view me as more of a… machine (for lack of a better word) than a person. I’ve been writing fast, I’ve been publishing a lot. And yes, I’ve had some success.
I do my best to remain professional, to show everyone that my books are worth the time. I also try to show people that I care about them as well; I don’t just care about the sale.
This year I learned those things somehow and in some ways made me less human to some people. It made me realize that perhaps showing more of my “human” side – the person behind the books would be well received.
So this is me being human. This is me talking about my year and what I learned.
2013 was a full year for me. In summer of 2012 my family and I moved to PA to join my husband who had already been living there for about five months on his own. For five months he literally slept in his office, on an air mattress that he would blow up every night and put beside his desk. He ate in the staff kitchenette and showered in his office bathroom (it was private). I stayed behind while the kids finished school and we desperately tried to sell or rent our house. Finally when school let out the distance, the living conditions for my husband was enough and we packed up and moved there, renting a house and taking on TWO house payments. In the midst of that move I got word my publisher was closing. I decided to go Indie instead of finding another publisher.
In the fall our home in NC finally rented out. The entire year had been a struggle and the end of 2012 was no different. When 2013 began I was hoping that life would settle into a new routine and calm down again. But there was always this feeling in my stomach, this longing in the back of my mind. I thought I wanted to leave NC. I thought that the North was my home (I grew up in the North). I thought about my house in NC a lot. I pictured the rooms, I missed my friends and the open spaces. I missed the grocery stores and the smiling faces of the people in the south. I even missed the weather.
The school system in PA was different (a lot colder and clinical), the weather was cold and the sun barely came out that winter. I didn’t have any friends and I didn’t bother to make any because I knew we’d move away in a few years and I would miss them like I was missing my NC friends. I hated going into Allentown because it was congested and confusing. I got lost every time I went somewhere and the curving winding roads literally made me car sick for months after we moved there.
But I pushed all that away. I focused on the beauty of the nature, the fact my family was together and the free time I had to write (I was writing Recalled).
Then they shut the base down my husband was stationed at. We got word around Christmas that we had to move again. 6 months after moving from NC to PA they told us to pack it up again.
There was one job opening that was near the home we still owned. I prayed. I begged my husband to make it happen. (he’s at the mercy of the USMC). I shed some tears. I was frustrated. I was angry.
Then in March 2013 we moved back to NC to the house we owned for over four years.
This year I learned that I am not a Northerner. I am a southerner. North Carolina is my home. It snuck up on me when I wasn’t looking and it climbed inside my heart and staked its claim.
I may not have ever realized that if we hadn’t moved to PA.
After getting settled and finishing up the Heven and Hell series – my first published series saw total completion this year. I wrote CHARMED. I fell deeply in love with that book. Charming haunted me. He stayed with me all the time. He was sarcastic, sometimes mean and he was a big jerk.
Damn, I loved him.
I was like a walking zombie the entire month I was writing that book. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I poured everything I had into that book and Regina designed me the most gorgeous cover.
I anticipated it to be my best release yet. People anticipated it. I had the book, I had the cover, I had the tour, the advertising, I had everything in place.
I published it.
It did terrible.
It was a huge personal blow to me. No matter what I did the sales didn’t come. It has nothing less than a 4 star review. I had a ton of ARC reviews (honest) and they were all good.
Amazon accused me of buying reviews.
I don’t buy reviews. I earn them.
40 some reviews were deleted online and later reinstated. People were blocked from posting reviews because they were told I was buying them. The printer sent me the wrong kind of proof copy (glossy and not matte). The ads I paid so much money for didn’t work.
Charmed was being pirated one day after being published.
I was left literally heartbroken, in tears and very disheartened. How could something I loved so very much be seemingly un-noticed?
Right before Charmed released, I went to a writer convention where some people (I will NOT name names) looked at me and disregarded me because I wasn’t a big enough name. I was ignored for photos. I was ignored for awards. My name was announced wrong. I wasn’t the only one during that time who felt over looked, left out and basically shoved aside.
I smiled through it all.
After Charmed bombed I licked my wounds for a while.
Then my stubbornness kicked in. I got angry. I learned that being stubborn is a virtue and not something to be ashamed of.
I started writing books I had ideas for, books that I was scared to write because up until that point I had only written paranormal. I wanted a fresh start. I wanted to prove to myself that I could DO this.
I released Torch in august – one month after Charmed came out. It hit #1 in the Love and Romance category in like one or two days.
I kept writing. I kept working. People gave me a hard time for writing so fast. For publishing so much. People made snarky comments about me. People criticized my books. People drug my name through the mud on social media sites. People one starred my books just to drop the rating. Someone even emailed me and told me I acted like I was better than everyone else and I needed to stop posting pictures of swag and such because some people needed to buy milk and not swag items. People said I was a sellout for writing New Adult.
Sure those things hurt me. But then I realized…
I didn’t give a damn.
I don’t write for the haters. There are way more supporters than haters. I write for them. I write for me. I write because passion for my characters pumps through my body.
I learned I am a lot stronger than I thought I ever was. I learned not everyone has to like me. I learned that not every book is going to be a smashing success. I learned that nothing happens overnight.
I learned to believe in myself, that sometimes leaping into the darkness – leaping into the unknown is scary… but it’s better to jump than to always wonder what was out there in that darkness.
I learned its okay to be scared but not to let that fear cripple you.
I’ve said before, I have anxiety. This is something that I’ve always dealt with. I chew my nails down until they hurt. I chew my lip until it’s raw. I get shaky, I worry. Sometimes I lose sleep. Sometimes I can’t eat. Sometimes the slightest sounds make me want to slap my hands over my ears and yell for everyone to just be quiet. I used to beat myself up for being this way. I used to wish I was more like the people I knew who seemed to never be bothered by anything. But then I realized I was fighting myself. My true self. My anxiety is enrooted in me. It’s not going to go away. But I can control the way I react to it. I can control the impact it has on my life, my dreams and my aspirations. I decided that it’s okay to not like to go out in crowds of people. I can go to walmart on a Monday morning at 9 am and deal with less crowds. It’s okay that I bite my nails. Yeah its gross and my hands look like claws but beating myself up over it only makes my anxiety worse. I decided that I don’t have to eat 3 balanced meals every day. I don’t have to be the picture of healthy eating all the time. If I want 3 coffees I will damn well have 3 coffees. Why suck all the enjoyment out of my life trying to do the things I think “people should do”? Bottom line is, I decided that if I don’t get something positive out of whatever it is I’m doing (a relationship, an act, etc) then I’m not doing it anymore. I also went on Prozac this year. Did you see that coming??? Lol. I used to think it would be wrong to admit I needed a pill to help me cope. But why suffer with anxiety if something is there that can truly make it easier? I’ve learned that having faith that life will work its way out one way or another is OK. Having faith in myself that I CAN be an author. I can be successful and I don’t have to listen to that naughty voice in my head worrying all the time.
What does all this mean???
I guess the big picture is this year that I learned to accept myself. I learned to accept me for who I am.
When you accept yourself things become easier. More things become possible and more doors open. You see roads you never thought to travel. Those roads don’t seem so long. The dreams at the end seem more achievable.
Do I struggle sometimes? Of course I do. I get my feelings hurt. I get tired. I worry that every single book I publish is going to be a disaster and everyone will hate it.
My dog was recently attacked by a pitbull, the dog came into my garage – into my home and literally started attacking us. It drug my 12 year old retriever down the driveway intent on killing her.
I screamed until I was hoarse.
And I fought. Thankfully a neighbor came to help me before the dog turned on me. (my dog survived- the attacking dog did not)
That kind of fear shifted a lot of things in my life. The attack was recent (right before Christmas). My dog still has staples in her head. I’m still working out all the effects that morning had on me, but I can tell you that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Beliefs you thought you had, the way you look at certain things can be irrevocably altered in just moments.
I’ve dealt with burnout this year. I’ve dealt with exhaustion.
I learned that I’m stronger than all of those hardships.
I also learned that within chaos, within hardship – great blessings bloom.
This year I have known greater career success than ever before. TEXT hit the amazon top 100 – a milestone I never really even dreamed of. My Take It Off series is being well received. My family is healthy and together.
I learned that hardship doesn’t have to bring you down. You can use the hard stuff as a steppingstone to reach the really good stuff.
I’m not sure yet what 2014 has in store for me. But I plan to write. I hope you plan to read. Ha ha. I plan to keep reaching for the stars. I have no doubt I will fight with my muse and worry over every book I write, but I won’t let it stop me. I’m going to be fearless (even when I have to fake it). I’m going to have faith.
And those are some of the things I learned in 2013.