Welcome to Xandra James who will take your breath away with her workload this year!
Writing could never be considered easy. Sometimes though, when you've been on the outskirts of the
business for several years like I have been, you become complacent. You fall into your daily routines, and you know exactly what you can do and, more importantly, you know your limits.
As a new writer, I knew my limits. Full of ambition, I'd submit my work to publishers and, most of the time, get rejected. I quickly realised that the writing business was going to be HARD. I grew a thick skin, submitted more, had further rejections and the occasional acceptance...and thought I'd made it. Sure, I hadn't set the book charts on fire. Neither had I hit one of the major 'lists' which are much coveted by us authors. But I was content in knowing I could write and someone out there would read me. Even if I couldn't afford the huge house by the sea and someone to clear up the cat litter, life was good.
Fast forward almost six years and I'm still doing the same thing. Add in the fact that I'm also self-publishing my stories, and you'd think everything was coming up roses. It is, sort of. But last Christmas, when I went on holiday for the first time in nine years and promptly got sick, I had a lot of time to think about my future career in writing.
So, 2016 brought changes for me. I vowed to mix it up a little. Write in new genres, step out of my comfort zone and approach different people for opportunities and marketing promotions. The list goes on.
As a consequence, for the next seven months, my schedule is manic. And I'm scared that I'll do something wrong. I'm anxious that I'm making mistakes. I'm terrified that I won't be a good enough writer to do it justice. There are moments I need to fill myself up with coffee just to stay awake and write or promote or submit proposals. And I admit it has been far from easy so far.
But, it's been fun. I've met new people and been taught lessons in my craft. I've learned things—for good and for bad—about myself and what I want out of my writing career. My priorities have been adjusted, and I once again have that enthusiasm and ambition I had when I first started out.
By opening my eyes a little and trying new things, I've grown as a writer. If there's one piece of advice (in the sea of writing advice out there!) which I would give, it would be to never get complacent. Try a different publisher. Dip your toe into self-publishing. Meet new people and plan to take over the world. It'll be worth it. Trust me.
Thanks to everyone at the RNA blog for a chance to talk to you today. And, if you're so inclined, just one of the many multi-author collections I'm in this year is available now to buy.
Xandra James is a British author over 30 *cough*, slightly obsessed with caffeine, and definitely addicted to chocolate chip muffins.
When not reading romance books, she's writing them. And she can get so far into the new worlds she's creating, that you can often find her still slobbing around her house after lunchtime with bed hair and no idea what day it is! Sign up for her newsletter for more info on new releases and book goodies.
Thank you, Xandra and good luck with your writing!
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