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 via grit, humor, and stubborn tenacity. Her writing reflects her life beginning in Texas, Missouri, 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 far BEYOND.
JODI’S LATEST INTERNATIONALLY AWARDED HISTORICAL FICTION NOVEL ~
I write historical fiction centered around the early to mid-twentieth century. My latest novel, THE GOLD ROSE, involves the Japanese invasion of China and the ensuing civil war that ushered in modern-day communism. No matter what the circumstances, eras, conflicts, or main plots entail… my goal is always to create characters everyone relates to. I believe that’s the kind of connective reading in which the reader and writer actually share a point in time. 😊 Happy reading, y’all!
JODI’S LATEST INTERNATIONALLY AWARDED HISTORICAL FICTION NOVEL ~