D. F. Krieger

Monday, July 18, 2011

Illusions of Grandeur Shattered

I had to face two realities in the past month. One of which I had an inkling and no false pretenses about, but I've seen many others in the same position as me feeling let down. The other reality was a rather harsh blow and I think it ripped away what innocence I had left.

Illusion Number 1: When I release my first book, my royalty check and popularity will be through the roof.

I had a feeling it wouldn't be like this and I'm sorry if I just shot any wanna-be writers down. Oh, you can smile smugly at me and believe your book/writing/marketing ideas are so different that you'll do tons better than me, but I assure you, cases like the above are one in a million. Writing a novel isn't a one shot deal to fame and fortune. I never believed it was, but it was still a hard truth to swallow when I saw it happen to me and a few fellow writers. A few of them became disheartened.

What I have learned is that if you want to be known and make the money, you've got to get your stuff out there. You need to build a readership. The more stories you have out and about, the more your popularity (and your paycheck) will create a snowball effect. Given this knowledge, I have spent every spare moment writing my butt off. I can't be the next big thing if no one even knows my name.

Illusion Number 2: When the military isn't on deployments, they are home.

Yup, this is an illusion. And believe it or not, before I was a military wife, I had no idea. I honestly thought that if my husband wasn't on deployment, he would spend every night coming home from work like anyone else with a 8-5 job. Then I learned about duty days... Okay, I can deal with that. One night a week that he has to work, no big deal. Then, I heard about work-ups.

Backtracking a little here. When my husband was stationed here, his ship was already deployed. He had to leave within two weeks. It was hard, but we worked with it. When he came home, his ship had to get some repairs done to it. This meant no work-ups, no deployments, no taking off at all. I didn't realize how lucky we were. Just before his ship was released, I heard murmurs of this dreaded thing called work-up. I was informed by other military wives that work-ups are mini deployments. The scoundrels that thought of these horrid ideas also decreed that work-ups cannot exceed thirty days (so they don't have to pay separations pay to the families) but the ship can pull a 29 days out, 1 day in, 29 days out, etc schedule. I thought this was an extreme situation horror story, that it would never happen to us. But it did, just this month. Damn, really? So in essence, my husband is deployed, but he's not. And no. I don't get to skype/IM/video chat with him. I get an e-mail about twice a day. If I'm lucky he can use a payphone on the ship (that yes, we have to pay for by buying a calling card through the ship).

What am I doing to deal with these two monumental illusions being shattered? Well, I'm writing, of course. Because, at the end of the day, that's the only way I'm going to be able to keep my sanity.

So question: What illusions have you had broken that sticks out in your memories? How did you deal with it?~ D. F. Krieger


Ebony Dreams said...

As you know I am an aspiring author. Thank you for this. I do want to say though, that fortunately for me like you, I haven't had that illusion to break because I have always told myself, that my main goal is to have fun with writing, to get something published and I know that it isn't going to bring in tons of money or fame. To gain readers I know the use of social media such as facebook and blogging will bring in some readers. Another good tool for that is Goodreads.com and getting reviewers to review your books. It may not bring in tons of people...but it is a start.

Now Illusions that have been broken for me...sad to say it is a simple one that I tried to ignore. That being you cannot trust everyone. No matter how much you want to, most people have their own agenda. So what I have learned is to surround myself with those who have like ideas and I can bond with. For instance the group of you from EP have opened your arms to me and helped me in so many ways that I cannot thank you enough. Yet I did get someone who offered help and who basically shattered that very same illusion. How did I keep from getting discouraged? I remembered all the good that came before that point.

Once again thank you. And I cannot wait to get the chance to read your books.

Luxie Ryder said...

Great article! I can't relate to the part about deployment but I hear ya on the illusions about writing.

The thing that brought me down to earth with a hard bump was finding out that putting my heart and soul into a story was not enough. If my book/story does not fit into a popular genre, then it just won't sell - no matter how impressed the readers were with my last offering. I deal with this by still writing what I want to, mixed in with writing a little of what I know the readers love - and I simply accept that my passion projects won't sell in great numbers. And that is a shame because I want to share those stories with everyone, you know? But nothing cancels out the joy of knowing that readers are connection with me and my characters and gracious enough to let me know they enjoy my work. That makes it all ok in the end!

An Open Book said...

I think every author has suffered from illusion number one- sad but true
Dawne P

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

As a reader always looking for authors I haven't read I just wanted you to know that although your not known yet, don't let it discourage what drives you to write. I respect anyone with the inspiration and ability to create wonderful stories, and wish you all the best in your dreams. As long as there are readers you have an audience who will read them....*S*
As for the military. I have no experience with that, but I've been married for 35 years and know that every marriage has ups & downs, and I just personally wish that our soldiers would come home where they belong with their families....like you.
Sending good vibes and wishes you way, and hoping you reach your writing dreams, and that your husband is home more than he his for you.
I have your books on my gotta have list too..*S*


Carolyn Rosewood said...

I'm going to share what all you wonderful fellow Evernight authors keep telling me when I get discouraged: KEEP DOING WHAT YOU LOVE - WRITING. :)

The second one I can't help you with but you definitely have my empathy and my ear if you ever need to talk. :)

Claire Gillian said...

Not to make light of your post because the 2 items you pointed out certainly are not, but I'm still pissed that there's no such cream or scrub that will make cellulite go away. Sad to say, that's the number one thing that popped into my head.

My more serious disillusionment is that my reading preferences are not bellwethers of what type of story will be a hit vs. a miss on a larger scope. ALL types can be successful or unsuccessful regardless of what my opinion is.

Alexandra O'Hurley said...

I have said before that I had illusions of granduer when I published my first novel, and just knew that fame and riches were just around the corner. Then I got my first royalty check and nearly cried.

I have lived around the military all my life growing up in Hampton Roads since I was 7, but I have never had a military member as part of the family (weird, hmm?), so I can't completely understand the deployment issues, but being from where you live, I get it. I love our men in uniform and the sacrifices they make, but the military itself sucks ass.

Sorry you are dealing with all that right now, especially with two little ones at home! You have my cell number, use it if things get bad and you need a chat!