Concept and Confidence

I got sidelined which is really quite easy to do. Writing is hard. Oh, the first stirrings of a story are easy. They fill me up and make my inner being buzz with energy and enthusiasm but then I find myself in a place where I have to solve a problem for the characters and that – that gets complicated. Solving problems forces me to put my aluminum foil hat on and really think. It’s bad enough to have to solve my own personal issues but then I’m solving problems for someone who only exists in my mind!? It’s easy to understand why it often takes a back seat.

I’m not NOT doing anything! I’m writing a bit but I’ve been sick and still recovering from that. Plus my Joey cat has also been sick and is still being evaluated by the vet for the best care scenario. Aging is no fun. But I’m also running into that rundown place where I’m just not interested in things. Some call it writer’s block. Some call it burn out. I personally call it reboot time.

I sat down yesterday and read a whole book all the way through. Not one of mine, mind you. One of Pedro Urvi’s books, The Traitor’s Son. I liked it! It was so nice to get away from a story I’m all too familiar with and relax with a story I don’t need to craft or edit. I hadn’t done that sort of thing, just spending a whole day reading, in years!

As I sat down with my green tea this morning by the window, watching my neighbors mow their yard, I opened the laptop and faced off against that inner demon all writers face which basically said, “I got nothing.” Not that I have absolutely nothing. I keep extensive notes of where I’d like things to go. Often, if I go back and read a few pages before where I stopped, I’ll get an idea of where the story needs to go next. But this morning, I’m still reeling from the joy of reading all day yesterday and the reality that I can’t do that today. So I changed gears and started thinking book covers.

It sounds so romantic to write and it can be but, when you get a book done, you have to edit and proof it and get it ready for copyright. There’s a process to that. The form is interestingly more difficult than it really needs to be. And in the middle of all that is the cover art. Many authors who publish the traditional way have the cover art done by a professional hired by the Publisher. For those who self-publish, that’s a chore the author has to take on. Again, there are professionals who will do that for a fee. I wanted and took classes so I could do that for myself but the issue is my demonic inner critic. I’ve been working on a cover for Dorian 1 for – I don’t know! Months maybe?! I’ve produced three creditable designs which probably would have worked but my Inner Critic tells me they’re not good enough! So what to do?? I’ve spent a lot of time looking at book covers (which is how I ended up with Pedro Urvi’s book) but my confidence in book covers isn’t the same as my confidence in writing. I’ve been writing for decades off and on. With book covers, I’m just getting started. So I’m being way more harsh on myself than usual.

In such a situation, my Inner Critic, devoid of any pride of accomplishment in any work I produce, will shut me down and I sat this morning watching my neighbors mow and wondering if that’s why I’m not writing today. I learned over time to muzzle that Inner Critic when it came to my writing and I may need to do that for my book covers too. I need a book cover for Dorian. Producing it myself means I’ll need to copyright it as well. Which tells me that I need to be working on covers at the same time I’m editing to speed up the publishing process. But I’ve only been in print for a year and I need to shut up my demonic Inner Critic (which is oddly telling me I need to start quilting again) and get back to work.

Each successful book cover is a mark in my favor. Granted, both Joanna books are stock photos I manipulated to become a cover and the cover for Million Dollar Challenge is a picture I took in Michigan in 2019. That being said, they were still covers I liked a great deal. And that’s the rub. I need to like the book covers I design. That’s a confidence issue, I think. Or maybe it’s just that I need to step back from my work for a moment and reassess my creative process and what I’m producing. It’s all a learning curve and humans are learning every day of their lives! Nothing is wasted.

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