There was once a time when I was eager to open my laptop. I was so happy to see all the love and joy and to know there was a new book people were raving about that I just “needed” to one-click.
There was once a time when bloggers were just readers. They loved something so hard that they shared it and then reached out to the author to commend them on their good work. Said author would thank them so, so much and there would be a bond budding that couldn’t be replaced.
There was a time when authors had no problem patting each other on the back, or sharing another author’s release to support their work. There was a time when authors were eager to meet one another at a book signing and swap books to give away.
My only question is: what happened to that?
What happened to the “No drama” rule? The backing each other up? Why is it so much of a competition now? The truth is, when I log on, I feel like I am suffocating. Everyone is at each other’s throats and all I can do is sit back and question it.
Why? Why are we like this? What in the hell happened?
We went from “Congrats!” to mumbling beneath our breaths.
We went from SHARING and LIKING to… well…nothing.
We went from spreading ALL THE LOVE to only backing up the most “popular” indies or the ones with a traditional book(s) on the shelves. <— (Hell yeah I said it!)
I have been quiet. I have been meek. I have let things go through one ear and right out of the other. I have felt sabotaged and abandoned. I have felt disrespected and pushed over.
To put it simply, I am at the bottom trying to figure out how I am going to dig my way out.
It has taken everything in me not to get to the point where I feel like I can’t keep my mouth shut anymore. But I’ve either lost my sh*t and gone off the deep end, or I just don’t care what others think of me anymore. You can only hold your tongue for so long.
Why am I doing this? Well, I’ll tell you why.
Let me start off by saying this year has been hell for me. No one besides my closest loved ones know what I am and have gone through personally since January of this year. But the worst of it has been this month. I never thought anything could bring me down as much as I already was.
I felt like this July was going to be great – a fresh start and a reason to smile. Boy, was I wrong. If you don’t know, on Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 I lost my big brother and one of the greatest people I have ever met. I lost someone I loved since I was born. Right now, it is 3:18 a.m. and he is all I can think about.
He was loved.
He was honored.
We had so many family members and friends come into town that I almost forgot how big our family was. But he was the kind of person to attract that kind of crowd. Everyone loved him from the bottoms of their hearts, and to lose someone as awesome as that is…well…it sucks. Plain and simple.
I’ve been trying to sleep and trying to cope. I’ve been trying to stay positive for him because I know the last thing he’d want me to do is cry. He knew how much I loved writing. He knew how passionate I was. He would always tell me everything would be all right – that I’d get right back on my feet again and become better. Greater.
Unfortunately, the more and more I get on FB or online to check my emails, in need of progress and something uplifting, all I get is sadness and disappointment in return.
And you know what about? My books. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE writing. I feel like there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about how I could write this, or how I should have worded that.
I understand that I have a reader fan base. I do. I understand that they crave more – that they are dying for the next book or a follow up. I do. I get it because I was once that girl, desperate for her next fix.
But to know that some are so self-centered and careless is what kills me. I love everyone that reaches out to me. I take the time out to try and get back to everyone that I can. But while I am grieving, it is truly heartbreaking to get messages that make me feel worse about myself and the state I’m in.
“I know you are going through a rough time, but I just finished (one of my books) and am just wondering when you were planning on releasing the second part?”
“I have been looking for the follow up of their love story for weeks now. I found out you were writing another and thought it would be out this summer. I checked your page for more info before I pm’d you. Is there going to be a delay now?”
No, this is not made up. This has been copied and pasted. These are messages from people that check my Facebook page and groups constantly for updates – people that email and message me constantly and I always give them answers. But seriously, y’all. I am just…I can’t believe it.
What makes me saddest is that there are some people that don’t think I, as an author, am human. They think I am just a name and that I have nothing going on outside of writing. They think all that I do is write – like I don’t have family or babies or sometimes just want a chocolate milkshake to help myself think of another plot.
I love the book community to death. It’s where I started and it’s probably where I’ll stay. But sometimes the disappointment settles in, and I have never been more disappointed than now. I’m not going to say that it’s everyone that is doing it. Not at all. The majority of the readers I know have been amazing and truly supportive. They have gone out of their way to send me their condolences and love. They have recognized me as a HUMAN first and not some machine that cranks out as many words as she can by a certain date.
When I received those messages I honestly wanted to cry because I felt like if I didn’t pull my mess together and get this book written, I would lose those fans because I “took too long.” I felt pressure and guilt, even though I had written 6 books in an 8 month time frame. I felt like it wasn’t enough. I felt like I could do better.
Trust me, guys…I want to keep going. I wish that I could just clear my head and do what I do best – write. But losing someone that was as close as he was to me isn’t easy, and I’m sure some people that have lost loved ones can explain that to you. There is a deep ache I feel that will never go away. There is confusion and hurt and brokenness. I know with time, I will feel better, but those deadlines are coming second to me right now. There was a time when writing was my priority because it kept food on my table and clothes on my back. Writing was what helped me pay off most of my medical bills.
I thank the people that buy my books when they don’t have to. I prayed for a time like this to come. But I miss the times where I didn’t have to worry or fret. A time where I could just be me and write how I wanted to.
But that book you’re waiting to see released…you’re going to have to keep waiting a little while longer for.
That message you’re waiting on me to respond to, you’ll have to keep waiting for.
That comment or tag or like you’re expecting that I usually give…it will take me some time.
And I’m sorry it has to, but my health comes first. My family and my life comes first. To be truthful, the last thing I want to do is interact. How selfish that is of me, but it’s the truth. I’ve always been a solo person and right now all I’d like is to be left alone, but I know I can’t be that way. I can’t think that way. There are people that need me and trust me, I am not giving up
I mean no wrong or negativity. Don’t let me be the one to stir the pot because that is not what I intend. I just want you all to know that I am trying.
I am trying so, so hard. I just want to write and click and finish this thing, but it has taken me so much energy just to wake up and feel any sort of positivity. My mind keeps circling back around to my big brother and I can’t stand the feeling of oppression. I don’t want to hold off that pain. I need it because he meant something to me and to so many others.
Right now, I feel like my life is in shambles. I need it to be put back together again and we all know the only way that can happen is with time.
I am not the type of person to force words and pretend it was my best. I’d much rather wait and give you my best, then rush and give you my worst.
There are a few books I have finished that I’d love to share soon. Fortunately, I completed those before all of the madness so don’t be alarmed if you see this new “random” book by Shanora Williams and it’s not the one you’re expecting.
I am still a person with a livelihood. I still have bills and a kid and groceries I have to buy, but don’t feel pressured by me to do anything. Life is life, and I am still learning how to live. I promise I will get the one you really are looking forward to out there! The only thing I can ask for right now are your prayers and support.
For understanding, peace, and comfort.
Like the quote says:
I’m okay. Just not today.
So much love,