Keep-Calm-and-KeepToday I realized that what I really want to do is write: improve Mad Water, the third installment of my Pearseus epic fantasy series, follow my beta-readers’ excellent and extremely helpful advice, think about how I want to finish my story in the last, yet unwritten, book of the series …  Instead, I find myself lost in the minutiae of everyday life, and haven’t written anything in over a week.

I also recognized that I hurried through Mad Water’s end, with an eye at a self-imposed deadline. I have now reminded myself that this is an unacceptable loss of focus: writing is not about promoting my sales, but about doing something I love.  Sales will inevitably follow a labor of love –  a good book will sell, whereas a mediocre one won’t.  I know, it sounds a bit of a cliché and most authors reading this post will probably roll their eyes.

OK, so I do know that there is no assurance that a good book will sell.  And there is no certainty that a mediocre one will not; I have seen fantastic books sit on shelves and some really ordinary ones sell like cupcakes. 55 shades of cupcakes, to be precise. With whipped cream.

So, yes, I still don’t know for sure what drives the sales of a book.  What I do know is that I want to write something worthy of being read, and sometimes I seem to be forgetting that, as I lose myself into a myriad of other things. Between my day-to-day job, my personal life, my book marketing efforts and my actual writing, it appears that the latter has suffered lately.  But there just aren’t enough hours in a day, as I have come to realize!

All this was brought home by a wonderful blog post by Robin Black on the Review Review called 21 things I wish I had known before I started writing.  I will not summarize her 21 points: they are all great, so I just invite you to read them on her original post. I promise that they will make absolute sense and most of you will go ‘ah, she is so right!

I will, however, mention a few sentences that resonate with what I have been feeling lately.  First of all:

The best you can do is the best you can do.

My writing has improved because I keep writing, reading, re-writing, correcting etc.   I am constantly debating rewriting Pearseus, Year 18 – my first book – as my writing improves.  But then I fear that I would like to re-write my second one as well, just to mirror how well I have done on the first … Then, presumably, Mad Water, and The Power of Six, and… OK, you see where this is going.  I guess that at some point you have to draw a line and say: that’s enough.  I am about to do that, as soon as I finish rewriting Year 18. 🙂

Second: I didn’t even like much of the writing I wanted to emulate

I couldn’t have put it more eloquently! I used to envy how other people write, but now understand that I envy how this writing reflects on them.  They are ‘hip’, ‘edgy’ and ‘interesting’, and I would love for publishers and readers to think the same way about me.  But I can’t write in a hip-ppy, edg-y and interesting-y way just to have people love me.  I just have to write my way.  And apparently, ‘there are more than enough different types of readers out there for us all’, so I shouldn’t despair!

And third: You cannot write the pages you love without writing the pages you hate.

The pages I have written and couldn’t fit anywhere would probably deforest a small Amazonian rain forest if printed out.  I have had ideas that just didn’t stick with the general plot, unnecessarily complicated it or didn’t add to the story.  Basically, I have composed pages that eventually didn’t work.  Knowing what to keep and what to get rid of is a great part of learning to write, and I now appreciate how hating these moments of acute anguish and utter desperation was actually helpful.  It made me who I am.

So, I promise myself that from now on, I will concentrate more on writing.  Of course, I now have to leave to go to a meeting with a client.  And summer is coming; Greece – as you might have guessed – is pretty balmy and wonderful in the summer.  Hmm…