At Peace With My Path

Every now and again in life, we come to what seems a difficult decision, but once we've made that decision, we realize it wasn't hard at all, and we're perfectly at peace with the new path we've just created for ourselves. I've just reached one such juncture.

As I watch author friends gush over this award and that list placement, I'm excited for them, but at the same time I realize that I don't mind not being there, ya know? I always knew I was going to have a tough go of it due to the limitations I place on myself because my suffocating social anxiety. Yes, I just admitted I place them on myself. No, that doesn't make them easier to overcome. I always worried I was going to miss out on something because I couldn't force myself to speak up, or reach out to this person, or that entity, or because self-promotion after a while makes me feel like I'm just slapping people in the face with my book.

Those feelings were a heavy burden. Until I realized none of that mattered to me. I don't care about awards, I don't care about the market climate. I don't care if I'm ever on a best sellers list, or not. I know that seems completely mad, but it's true.

I care about my stories. I care about writing. I care about sharing my work simply because some people out there just might enjoy reading my words as much as I enjoyed crafting them. I don't care if they're read by 10 people, or 10,000. Now, this is not to say that authors concerned with awards & list placement don't care about their stories or their writing, quite the opposite, I know they love their stories as much as I love mine. I only mean those other things outside of the stories don't matter to me.

So, I've made the decision to go back on my own, publishing-wise. I know my publisher doesn't have an easy time of it with me, either, because I hold myself back from things that the other authors do without complaint. In fact, I'm surprised they've put up with me this long. And I also know they're bound by concerns of the market, I don't want to be dependent on that any longer. This is not a negative reflection on them in any way, shape, or form, its simply something I must do for my peace of mind. I want to write, edit, and (depending on test-reader feedback) publish the story when it is ready, not when the market is, and that's something I can only ensure happening if I'm free to make my own choices, entirely.

I'm completing the stories I owe them, because I do love them, and trust them, and I do want to part ways on a good "we both held up our ends of the deal" note. After that, I'm on my own.

Maybe someday I'll make a different choice, but for now, for this moment in my life, this is where I feel at peace.


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