Musings Over Morning Coffee: We’re Storytellers. We Don’t Quit.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a love affair with books. One of my first favorite books was one about crystals and how they’re formed. Another one was Hans Christian Andersen’s original version of the Little Mermaid–you know, the one where the mermaid actually becomes the foam in the ocean, i.e. she didn’t get her Prince Charming. It was a picture book that, like the one about crystals and geodes, I’d peruse every day, cover to cover.

I also loved telling stories, at first masking them as dreams I’d tell my friends in fourth grade until one of them, Carla, said, “Wait a minute! This isn’t a dream! It’s a story, isn’t it?”

That was the end of my storytelling days with Carla, but it was good while it lasted.

I started to write my stories then. Thank goodness there was no shortage of legal-sized reams of paper from my grandfather who was a retired judge. I guess they used legal-sized paper for all their briefs and correspondence so I inherited them all. I’d fold them in half and make booklets of my stories complete with hand=drawn images of the characters. This would continue until high school although this time, I inherited a typewriter for Christmas and I’d type at all hours of the night until the neighbors would yell for me to go to bed from their windows.

My books and stories became a solace for me. It was where I retreated when the world was too much–and I also got grounded a lot so it didn’t faze me if I couldn’t watch TV or talk to my friends over the phone. There were always books and since my mom was an avid collector, she couldn’t very well empty out my bedroom where she’d stored some of them. So I read. I read the books that she read, so at 12, I’d already gobbled up Harold Robbins, Colleen McCullough, James Clavell, James A. Michener, Pearl S. Buck, Herman Hesse and much more.

This is the only one I remember borrowing at that time because I couldn’t let my grandfather see it or he’d rip it in half and I’d have to hunt high and low to replace it.

I didn’t get introduced to romances until I was 14 when my classmates passed them around: Harlequin, Mills & Boon, and Sweet Dreams. Unfortunately, my grandfather considered them trash and would rip them in half if he caught me with them (he lived next door) and so I read them during recess.

Yep, I dated myself there, but that’s okay.

Still, I’d continue reading as long as there were libraries to go to and books to borrow and buy. I majored in Journalism and was picked as Editor-in=Chief of the college paper even though I preferred being the Features Editor. I moved houses a lot and wherever I went, my books went with me. When I moved away from home, I sought solace in libraries and bookstores. When Borders was still around, it was almost like my second home. I met with fellow writers on Sunday afternoons, got to see James Elroy cuss and talk about his books, and just sit and browse and buy. I never left that store without a book or two. This time, the books weren’t just fiction; they were non-fiction, too. Most of them were on graphic and web design like Photoshop, Illustrator, Javascript, Dreamweaver, and Frontpage because, by this time, I was also designing websites for clients. I was self-taught, thanks to my love of books.

But I also kept writing. This time I wrote fan fiction and poetry. I figured fan fiction stories had an instant audience which would allow me to hone my craft using their feedback while poetry would get me through tough times. And boy, were there a lot of tough times like broken hearts and general disappointments, typical fodder for most of my poetry then.

I stopped writing around 2004, and sad to say, but it was over a broken heart. I wouldn’t write again until 2012, two years after my best friend, Pam, told me two weeks before she died that she hoped I’d keep on writing and that she looked forward to holding my book in her hands.

By 2012, I was back at writing again and two years later, I published Finding Sam on November 17, 2014. On June 18, 2015, I published Loving Ashe and on December 15, 2015, A Collateral Attraction. Self-doubt hit me hard for the first part of 2016 and I wouldn’t publish the fourth book, Everything She Ever Wanted, until October 12, 2016.

Self-doubt would return in 2017 and almost take down the next book, but thanks to readers who never stopped believing in me and my passion for my stories whether others like it or not, Loving Riley, the paperback version, was published yesterday on Amazon. The digital version is scheduled for April 26.

Why am I rambling like this? Because the last two days, I’ve been seeing authors on Facebook talk about giving up. One of them said he’d been doing this for two years, had written three books and he was just a failure. So why continue? Therefore he was giving up and moving on to other things.

Two years.

It made me think of how long I’ve been at this writing thing and it’s been more than two years, or even four or six. I’d say decades in my case because even though I may have let go of the wheel at times (personal issues, family, motherhood, career), I never gave up on the destination.

It’s not to say that I’d never thought of giving up, but my passion for telling my stories has always been greater than the desire to move on and do other things. There simply were “no other things” for me. It’s just me and my stories.

So if you’re a writer and wondering why you’re not getting any sales and that maybe your stories are shite and you should just give up, don’t. Look around, ask for help and guidance. If you’re a romance writer and you’re not on Facebook, get thee to Facebook. That’s where your readers are. I didn’t believe it two years ago but I’m such a believer now. Friend me on there and I’ll show you which groups you can check out. Same goes for fantasy, urban and sci-fi. The wealth of information to be had in Facebook groups is priceless. It got me from clueless to having a clue about what I was missing in this ever-evolving business called indie publishing. It got me feeling comfortable wearing the business hat and not just the creative writer hat. It got me from feeling depressed about where I was in my author career to confident knowing that I wasn’t alone in the struggle. It got me from feeling envious of other authors’ success to rejoicing with them because, hey, we’re all in the same boat. We’re in this together. We’re storytellers. We tell our stories.

We also don’t give up that easily.

Winning entry for my Instagram contest for a Loving Riley paperback

6 thoughts on “Musings Over Morning Coffee: We’re Storytellers. We Don’t Quit.

  1. Hi Liz,
    I’m new on wordpress, actually not new, I just restarted my blog, for the third time. This time I have researched on topics like ‘What an author can blog about?’ and I came across a number of articles, out of which only one was helpful! And then I came across this post, under the tag ‘Romance Books’ and truthfully speaking, your post has boosted my confidence on so many levels. I can relate to your love of books and writing, I too never get bored whenever I am alone, I have books! I too have faced serious ups and downs in my life(poetry writing is indeed helpful!), and many a times I too thought about giving up, but something or other kept bringing me back to writing, so here I am, again, hopefully to stay for a long, long time this time 😉 Thanks a lot for this post, it has been of great help. I am really looking forward to reading your books.
    Love,
    M. K

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Mirella! I’m so happy you found my blog and I can’t wait to read your stuff, too! I hope you stay in the writing world for a long, long time, too! We’re in this together 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you didn’t give up. Nothing that is worth anything is easy. Hard work is always required and often there are more downs than ups–at least in the beginning. Truthfully I may never read one of your books as I don’t read romance novels. But I believe they are necessary and hope many many people read your books. Perhaps I might buy one for my wife. Regardless I enjoy your blog and wish you nothing but success!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I write angsty romance but my pen name writes light BDSM. I still need to write a few more of the erotic romance stories before I can publish the first one, like having inventory on hand LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s almost like, being an artist always means you’ll have those thoughts of giving up. It’s nice to know I’m not alone =)

    My goal is to hang in there and start publishing my books like you. I hope I can do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can do it! I know you can 🙂

      I published my first book just to see what lay on the other side of the Publish button LOL Didn’t see anything different other than a to-do list that I never expected nor was ready to do (book promotion). I procrastinated with Loving Ashe and looking back now, one of the keys to being successful is to follow up with another book in the series right away, like within 90 days, and another after that. I never believed it when established bestselling authors told me to write a series and stick to it instead of jumping onto another new book with new characters but I now know it’s true. Readers like revisiting the same characters and like being on that journey where they know the world and its inhabitants. Series is key 🙂

      Like

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