I'm in a funk right now.
For the past few weeks I have been trying, without much success to get Project Ruby off the ground but to date I haven't put more than about 500 words together. It's pathetic really. I have tonnes of notes, ideas that I have written down in my red leather journal, sketches of characters I wish to populate this new novel with...but I can't seem to make it happen. And it's getting me down - really down.
This past month, my life has been complicated by external factors. I have been under a lot of stress. My daughter has been ill, as I have recounted in previous posts, but she took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago when a boil that had emerged on her inner thigh became infected, then she became septic. In what seemed like an instant, she was in the hospital and all of a sudden both myself and my serioso found ourselves on that "other side" that we nurses often talk about but rarely experience...until we experience it.
My daughter's leg became inflamed with cellulitis, the boil became an abscess and she required days of IV antibiotics in order to knock over the infection before she was taken to OR to have the abscess drained. In a word, she was a sick little chooky and it was several weeks - actually only in recent days, that she is back to something like her lopsided little self once again. She has a scar on her leg now. A mark that will stay with her for life. It's a small price to pay to know that she's alright but still...
Anyway...the whole experience has knocked any creative spark out of me. Not only do I find myself worrying for my children, I worry about providing for them. Money has been somewhat tight lately and that has weighed down on me too. Although I recently cleared some pretty big debts, which has lightened the load somewhat.
I feel under an intense pressure to produce a second work. I get asked all the time 'So when are you going to write a follow up?' It's beginning to become an annoying question. I just respond by saying that 'I'm putting some notes together'. And the thing that gets me the most is that the question is usually asked by people who haven't taken the time to read my first book yet. Please excuse my language here but it fucking shits me. Don't even get me started on the whole lack of support thing...that could get ugly.
I did a ring around the other day, of the stores that are carrying my book on consignment right now. Most of them are reporting back with sales of one's and two's and are happy to keep the remaining copies on the shelves for me for the remainder of this year to give them a chance to move. But I received a rather nasty jolt from one store yesterday when I made my usual check up. They reported that they had only sold one copy and wanted me to come get the remaining ones "because your book is taking up precious shelf space that we need for better titles".
Suffice to say, my silent response to that was...actually...no, I won't say it here. You get the idea.
So that's messed with my confidence as well, made it all the more harder for me to get some momentum to begin writing this second book in earnest.
I'm starting to ask myself whether I've gone as far as I can go to sell "Hambledown". I mean it's been 9 months now, since it was first released in digital format, 7 months since it went to print. The fact is, I have a marketing budget of absolutely nothing. I can't afford to take out ad space in the newspaper, or put something on commercial radio. The online stuff has been good but, I fear that is getting to the end of it's useful life now too.
But there's one other thing that really bothers me...
There's some individuals in my closest circle whose support for the novel I really hoped for - who have been ambivalent about it at best and, frankly, hostile towards it at worst. And you know...it hurts...it really hurts. I've deliberately avoided being pushy about it with them. Have not pushed them to read it. But it's like, whenever something comes up about the book - like an interview with a radio station or some sort of positive feedback I've received, I've been blown out of the water with an ambivalence bomb.
The most hurtful thing I've been told, just recently actually, was this:
"Isn't it time you just got over yourself about this book?"
What does one say to that? How do you respond to that...especially when it comes from someone whose support you'd hope for the most.
All of this contributes to the sense of barren-ness I feel towards the project I'm trying to get off the ground now.
I'm starting to wonder if it's all worth it anymore...