Taking my foot off the gas. The perils of trying to be everywhere, all of the time.

posted in: News, Writing | 4

This is the post I’ve been meaning to write for some time.

When I retired from my job, I always intended to have a quieter life. To get used to the idea, I did it in stages. I went part-time in 2010 and stopped working completely in 2014.

I started writing in 2011, for reasons which I’ve told you many times before. It was something to do, I never intended it to be anything more than just a hobby, like golf or fishing.

Somehow, and I’m not really sure how it happened, I got involved in promoting my books. That was never my intention. It was where the whole idea of a quiet retirement went out of the window.

Despite my not wanting to, I found myself doing more and more, as I started to chase validation through readers and reviews. I posted writing content on this blog, which was initially just a dairy of my simple life in Devon. I became active on all social media platforms and experimented with advertising.

I found that the more I did, the more I had to do. When sales didn’t come, at least in the numbers that other authors seemed to be having, I asked for advice.

Most of it consisted of change everything and try again.

And If that doesn’t work, rinse and repeat.

As well as keep posting as much content as you can and engaging with people.

Not forgetting keep writing more, too.

That’s what I did. I took courses and tinkered with my book covers, blurbs, categories and keywords until I was sick of the sight of them.

I ran promotions and advertising. I joined in with discussions and groups. I tried to answer all the comments instantly.

Something had to give. My writing suffered and novels were left unfinished.

It had to stop. Over the years, I’ve been trolled, quite badly, locked out of my website by a gang attempting to extort money and had one of my social media accounts hacked and cloned.

I was on a treadmill that was only getting faster. I was running to stand still. As an introvert, I found my mental health suffering. The increase in sales for all this activity and expense was negligible. I was barely making a profit, no matter how much I spent. I had to ask myself, was it really worth it?

That internal conversation made me take stock, what had happened to the quiet life I’d promised myself?

Working twenty-four-hour shifts with multi-million value assets was less stressful than trying to keep up with everything I’d been told I needed to do to sell my books.

In the end, I had lost sight of my writing, which was the one thing I didn’t want to do. Writing was my escape, a place where I felt happy.

Hence the title of this post. It tells you about my new approach, so that I can have the retirement that I worked for and think that I deserve.

I’m getting off the treadmill. I’m back to writing for my own pleasure and resisting the siren voices that call me to push myself to be everywhere, all of the time. No more shouting about my life or asking people to buy my book.

I now only post once or twice a week. I look at social media and engage when I feel like it, not when I used to feel that I had to.

The thing is, I’m happier than I have been for ages.

Plus, I’m writing more again.

If the price of fame and fortune is to never have a moment’s peace, it’s too high for me.

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4 Responses

  1. Darlene Foster

    Great title! I completely understand, as it has been somewhat similar for me. Maybe we just try too hard. I have stepped back too. Life is too short to stress over book sales. I am an extrovert and love marketing, especially the face-to-face stuff. I enjoy visiting schools, bookstores and libraries but they take time to set up. I am content with not being a best-selling author, as long as a few people buy my books.

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