Exhaustion

Yesterday was a rough day for me.

I went into work very early in the morning, but that wasn’t what made it rough.  Part of my job is being on-call for weather emergencies, and since the weather is very unpredictable, that means that sometimes I am called in to deal with what seems to be about to happen, but what actually happens is different.  That’s frustrating, but, like I say, it’s part of the job.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Fauxpocalypse Launch Party at All On The Same Page Bookstore.  That’s what made it rough.

I wanted to go, and I’m glad I did go, I enjoyed myself a lot.  It took a lot out of me, though.  It’s kind of hard to explain.  I get drained by personal contact with other people, that’s the best way I can describe what it feels like.  At work it’s not so bad, because at work the other people are present in the same area, but I’m not focused on them, I’m focused on whatever it is that I am working on fixing.

Making conversation with people, having personal interactions with them–it’s like pushing a washing machine full of rocks up a flight of stairs.  I can’t do it for very long–it’s just exhausting.

Yesterday afternoon when I got back home I couldn’t do anything.  I played games, I messed around with some models I’m making in Blender, but my mind was far too numb to even try to write.  I’m still not over it–I feel hungover.  I slept until almost 9 am this morning–that’s sleeping half the day away by my standards.

It’s frustrating, because I really do like people.  I enjoy talking to people, and listening to conversations, and sharing ideas.  I wish I could be gregarious, but I just can’t.  Sometimes it feels like being allergic to air or water.  It’s not social anxiety, at least I don’t think it is.  I am not aware of feeling fear or discomfort.  It’s more like I’m bleeding chi into the ether.  I’m like an uninsulated capacitor, as soon as I make contact with other people I discharge.

So today will be spent refilling my orgone batteries, as it were.  I’ll immerse myself in media that calms my spirit.

Lately I have been thinking about how this inability to spend much time in social interaction is impacting my career as a writer.  It was a year ago today that I had my first and only book signing. Fortunately only a few people showed up for that and they were all people that I already knew, but even that much contact was exhausting.  There is simply no way that I will ever be able to manage anything like a convention.

I need a publisher.  I have tried to manage as a self-published author for close to two years now, and while I can handle the technical end, I feel, fairly well, and I write stories that people like, I’m not going to make it as a promoter.

Granted, most publishers don’t really do that much marketing for their author’s books, but any at all would be better than none, and I have to choose between either promoting or writing–I can’t do both.  I’d rather write, that doesn’t leave me feeling dead inside.

I’m in a much better position to find a publisher than I was two years ago.  I have two novels finished, and a third about half done, and I have a large number of very positive reviews.  My books could all use some line editing, but I think they are basically solid.

I do like writing this blog, and from the comments and follows people like reading it, but it’s not a huge promotional tool–I spend more time talking shop with other authors than anything else.

Now, I am a very meticulous person, I tend to measure several times and cut once.  I’m not going to jump into anything.  I am, however, going to start researching publishers and considering options.  I know that other authors have started as self-published and moved on being traditionally published.  That was never my goal, but given my experiences I think it’s the best path for me.

For me, the main consideration is that I find a way to do it that’s fair to my existing fans.  You’re not numerous, but you are mighty.  I have read about people who own copies of self-published works that end up having to buy the e-book again when the author signs with a publisher–I want to make sure that doesn’t happen.  (From my research it seems that Amazon is able to remove a file from new sales while still allowing it to be downloaded again by people who already have purchased it.)

In any event, I have no guarantee that I’ll be able to find a publisher who is interested, given the nature of my work and my admitted social deficiencies.  However, I do think that it is time for me to try.

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About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, Who I am and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Exhaustion

  1. paws4puzzles says:

    Know what you mean Misha – it may not seem like it when I’m out and about, but I don’t really like the crowd thing either. I think that’s common among writers – a the start party for NaNoWriMo a friend commented that this was the largest group of introverts you’ll get in one room.
    This is the thing though, publishers these days don’t just not promote you, they push you into social media – so if you’re thinking of going in that direction to get away from the promotional stuff it’s probably not the reason to do it. I honestly hate marketing, but I’m forced to do it. Ironically I enjoy promoting other folks work – that’s maybe why I did so much for Fauxpocalypse. I love our group of writers and want to see them succeed.
    But in person stuff makes me nervous as hell – some of the things that other writers do easily – walk into a bookstore and ask if they can have a signing or if the store will take their books, call schools, etc, etc – all of those things I find so, so difficult – I know I should be doing them, but it’s far easier to advise others and promote others than myself!

    • MishaBurnett says:

      I don’t have a problem with social media, I think I do okay on-line. And finding a publisher may not actually help with promotion, I know. It’s just I have to try something or give up writing altogether.

      • paws4puzzles says:

        Definitely don’t do that Misha – we all want you to continue writing.
        And I agree you do fine (more than fine) with social media. I have a very good friend in England who has been working on two books now for many years. Recently a publisher started taking an interest in his work and I mentioned to him that it might be good for him to have some kind of internet presence. Understand he has NOTHING – no blog – he’s not even on Facebook (much to my frustration) – the idea that a publisher would want to see a web presence freaked him out – his a good writer and a very good friend and I want to see him published, but he belongs to a different age an any publisher that takes him on is going to drag him onto social media.
        Compared to this you have nothing to worry about.

  2. kingmidget says:

    You may find that many writers have some level of difficulties in social settings — I think it’s part of what makes us writers. The time we spend inside our heads can be pretty significant and that makes it difficult to be “outside” with people. I may not have it quite as significant as you do, but I know what you mean. Social interactions, particularly with people I don’t know, are not easy. Social interactions with people I do know are frequently not much easier.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      Oddly enough, I find it easier to deal with crowds of strangers. I just got back from the grocery store and it was packed–there’s another winter storm forecast for my area, plus the usual Sunday crowds, plus some kind of sports thing happening today. I didn’t enjoy dealing with the crush of bodies, but it didn’t drain me in the same way–I just put on my mask of disinterested civility and pushed on through.

      • Sue says:

        You had the freedom to ignore them. You were not the center or one of the centers of attraction at the store. You were last night.

      • kingmidget says:

        I find forced social interactions with people I don’t know the hardest. Not like wandering through a grocery store, but situations like your book signing, or a networking event through work or something like that. I find myself feeling like the odd man out at those. Interactions at grocery stores I can handle because they’re great opportunities to observe human nature.

  3. sknicholls says:

    I used to be a social butterfly but I have changed as I have gotten older. I have never been a superficial Chatty Cathy, so social situations with a lot of small talk bother me. I guess it may be a form of social anxiety. I just call it maturation 🙂

  4. Sue says:

    Simply put, though it’s complex, but this is not the venue – so many people at one time makes you feel like they are energy vampires, draining you.

    And I’m totally impressed that such a crowd wanted to meet you

  5. Dave Higgins says:

    I resemble your remark; I was wiped last night too, and still felt drained this morning.

    I am more sociable than I was, but if the group is not either smaller than eight people or really close friends, I tend to fade unless someone engages me.

    I can see how someone else with an interest in publicizing you would help: I hope you find a good fit.

  6. I can relate, though I don’t have problems with groups of people I know. I can handle that with relative ease ad infinitum. Interacting socially with people I don’t know is quite frustrating though, and had me nervous about yesterday and being a writer in general.

    I’ve been to one software developers conference, and really enjoyed the content, but I felt like I was seriously missing something from the social side. I’m just not good at pushing myself onto people. If I’m approached candidly, it’s much easier for me. Still, I keep putting myself in situations where I need to handle strangers. Hopefully it gets easier.

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