Series: Keepin’ it real
The latest rumors portend that you know who may be spitting out a print or digital or audible book EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. The market is totally saturated with everything from fabulous writing to absolute garbage. I lean heavily toward the second category because of the giant stack of novels I have bought and will never finish because they, well… because they are terrible.
We authors find ourselves drifting unnoticed in a sea of strange competition.
Our competition isn’t just the volume of books being prostituted into the marketplace, but also the weaning away of people from books to screens and games.
Very few folks read nowadays. As a whole, we’re dumber, more impatient, and sailing away on a graham-cracker boat that melts as it put-puts forward on waves of boredom that need replenished not hourly, but every second. In short, the thousands-of-years love affair with the written word is ceasing. Going away. Replaced by the digital monsters that hypnotize and bind and destroy one’s creativity and imagination.
I’ve been thinking lately about why I keep writing in spite of all the odds. Despite the “meh attitude” of the world toward authors and the lack of profit from our almost inhuman toil to turn out fantastic copy.
I admit I’ve been grappling with that question in a most personal sort or way.
Give up writing?
Here’s what I came up with…
First and foremost, I write for me. I’m a big fan of my own novels, lol!
Of course, I’m kidding, but not totally.
You see, I have worked my whole life to be THE WRITER I AM NOW… TODAY… THIS VERY MOMENT.
My training started as I was growing up on an Arizona ranch isolated from other kids other than when I was at school.
- I read
- I imagined
- I pretended
- I observed
- I fine-tuned my ability to be alone and to delve deeply into my own mind.
Later, LIFE HAPPENED *boy, did it ever* and I was centerstage… eyes wide, pen in hand, my senses sharper than razor blades.
- I lived
- I absorbed
- I laughed
- I cried
- I learned
- I participated… in LIFE with all its tragedies and joys.
Through it all…
The “Writing Bug” had me by the throat
I wrote epistles for letters back when people did such ancient practices. I wrote essays, I studied journalism, I composed intricate holiday letters. I learned how to INFORM, PERSUADE, REVEAL, and ENTERTAIN. I kept reading. Studying. Attending writing seminars. Taking classes on writing. Reading magazines written for writers. Haunting book stores to study authors and their writing, even studying the covers of their books. Libraries gave me goosebumps, and I visited them often with my children or alone. I took vocabulary books on road trips. I read, and read, and read.
One day, one glorious day – about a decade ago – I began penning my first novel.
I guess you could say I GOT HOOKED because my seventh novel launches early 2022.
I have actually thought it might be my last one, you know, considering those a-book-a-minute statistics, the apathy of today’s almost non-existent readers, and everything else.
My last one.
Almost sounded like a death knell.
I kicked the idea around for a minute.
Then, I laughed so hard you could hear it reverberating through the celestial hallways of Heaven.
Me, quit? *more laughter*
But, why continue? Aren’t the odds of “making a splash” or earning profit or attracting masses of readers ridiculous, even impossible?
“Jodi,” I said to myself, “There has to be more to the story for you to continue. If it isn’t fame or fortune or even well-deserved respect and visibility, what is it? Are you merely trying to capture the sky?”
After some difficult soul-searching, I found MY OWN TRUTH. It’s really quite simple.
I write, and will continue to write, because
- I can,
- I’m great at it,
- I want to,
- and, above all, BECAUSE I LOVE IT. No, I don’t just love it. I luxuriate in it. I bathe in it. I eat, drink, and sleep it. I think of it when I go to bed, when I wake up, and in all that space in between.
Will I ever be well known?
*laughter!* Now, that’s funny!
Will people scramble to turn my novels into movies? No, but they should. I promise… they should.
I have come to terms with the reality that none of us, not even the big publishers, can compete with multi-thousands of offerings a month in print and digital muddying the waters and numbing the mind. No one stands a chance of competing with statistics like that, most especially, we who are FICTION AUTHORS. Nor can we compete with the inane blah-ness of a society that meanders deeper into ever more bizarre forms of entertainment and distraction excluding the written word.
You really think quitting is a choice?
You breathe, right? So, if you are truly and absolutely a writer, YOU HAVE NO CHOICE but to continue using and sharpening your God-given gift of words. You owe it to yourself and everyone else to strive to be the best you can be, then be that.
Don’t be sloppy, untrained, egotistical, morose, or thinking the world owes you something. It doesn’t.
Figure our YOUR WHY, and let that be the end of it.
Write for YOU.
Write for the PURE JOY OF WRITING.
Write for YOUR TRIBE.
P.S. If you are reading this, YOU ARE MY TRIBE, and I appreciate every one of you beyond words *and I have a lot of words!*
Because I believe FUNNY is better than sackcloth and ashes:
Jodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who believes in and writes about the triumph of the human spirit through overcoming adversity. Her writing reflects her life beginning in Texas and Oklahoma, later moving as a youngster to an Arizona cattle ranch next door to the Navajo Nation, and, as a young adult, resuming in her native Texas. Growing up, she climbed petroglyph-etched boulders, bounced two feet in the air in the backend of pickups wrestling through washed-out terracotta roads, and rode horseback on the winds of her imagination through the arroyos and mountains of the Arizona high country. Her lifetime friendship with all nationalities, cowpunchers, and the southern gentry allows Jodi to write comfortably about anything in the Southwest, the South, and BEYOND.
What’s next from Jodi? Another epic historical fiction novel catapulting the reader out of Texas into Mexico, Argentina, and China and into the epicenter of another intriguing human drama. Look for it in 2023.
Other Recent AWARD-WINNING Publications by Jodi Lea Stewart
TRIUMPH, A NOVEL OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT is a 2021 International FIREBIRD First Place Multicultural Fiction Award Winner
If you loved To Kill a Mockingbird, and want a dramatic, different, and sometimes humorous version of New Orleans life, St. Louis, and Texas in the early to mid-century 1900s, all adorned in beguiling plot twists and unforgettable characters, read TRIUMPH, a Novel of the Human Spirit by Jodi Lea Stewart.
Two children are ripped from their separate homes in 1903, one by a secretive Voodoo sect, the other one hidden out of blind fear. Their uncertain fates set in motion a series of events that reverberate decades later. Opening in the Louisiana swamps and moving into New Orleans and St. Louis—this novel weaves together three vivid storylines featuring two friends of different races defying the odds of their heritage and 1950s bigotry.
TRIUMPH was a finalist in three categories in the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards contest, won a Readers’ Favorite with Reviewers, and is also a 2021 Firebird First Place Award Winner in Multicultural Fiction.
BLACKBERRY ROAD is an International CHANTICLEER First Place Multicultural Award Winner
Blackberry Road by Jodi Lea Stewart
Trouble sneaks in one Oklahoma afternoon in 1934 like an oily twister. A beloved neighbor is murdered, and a single piece of evidence sends the sheriff to arrest a black man who Biddy, a sharecropper’s daughter, knows is innocent. Hauntingly terrifying sounds seeping from the woods lead Biddy into even deeper mysteries and despair and finally into the shocking truths of that fateful summer.
“Beyond the humor and entertaining antics of the main character, Biddy Woodson, BLACKBERRY ROAD has depth and meaning as it explores stirring universal themes that we expect in great literature” ~ D.B. Jackson, acclaimed Historical and Western author
BLACKBERRY ROAD is engaging, entertaining, and a book that is sure to linger with you . . . the trip is well worth the time ~ Cyrus Webb, Host of ConversationsLIVE, president of Conversations Radio Network, tv show host, author, and Amazon top reviewer
Enjoy Exotic Locations? Read Jodi’s trilogy set smack dab in the middle of the Navajo Nation, USA. https://progressiverisingphoenix.com/product-category/ya-fiction/
Great post. Agree, the industry as a whole can be brutal, but the life of a writer is rewarding.
Bottom line, writing has to be its own reward, and that’s pretty much the end of it. Thanks for stopping by, Amanda!