When someone discovers the avenue of writing as a way of expressing their creativity, I can guarantee you they don’t think, “Gee, I can’t wait to get to all those technical details it will take to launch a book!” That technical nitty-gritty is what the Swiss would call the “unsexy” side of writing. If you’re a writer, and you’re anything like me, it’s the last thing you want to spend your time doing – I’d much rather be working on the next manuscript than tackling things like blurbs, bios, and summaries, all in various lengths. I’d rather not have to tackle the issues of pricing, cover art decisions, marketing (most writers enjoy the isolation it takes to be a good writer and concentrate on their craft – we are not born me-salesmen!), networking and promotion. But that’s the phase I find myself in right now. And perhaps my situation is a bit more challenging because I am an English-language writer living in an area of a country that speaks an unwritten language: I live in the Swiss-German speaking area of Switzerland. There are a variety of dialects here, none of which have an official written structure or spelling (it is usually spelled phonetically, which varies according to the dialect). High-German is the language of the newspapers and magazines and television (for the most part), but it’s not the language you hear on the streets. And I certainly don’t have a local writer’s group from which to draw inspiration or encouragement. I can’t just zip down to the local bookshop and see which publishers are interested in which topics. It’s just me, myself and moi when it comes to getting it done.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ve got several irons in the fire at any given time: At the moment I have no less than six novels at various stages of completion. The second novel of a trilogy is on next, but will soon get put on hold as I travel to Norway for historical research this summer, for another novel in the making. Focusing on one project at a time is the most efficient way to work; but sometimes it’s not possible. I actually like the variety, from 18th century fiction, to 8th and 21st century fantasy fiction, contemporary fiction, science fiction… I’ve got my fingers in a lot of pies. For me the key is self-discipline; setting goals, priorities, and daily schedules so that I can reach those goals one step at a time, all the while not letting any of that quench my creativity. It would be great to have a support network of writers with whom I could bounce ideas around, or glean encouragment from, or be inspired by. But life is where it is, so I’ll take the encouragement in any form it comes. And I’ll slog my way through the unsexy side of the craft, and maybe even learn to enjoy it along the way!