the tortoise and the hare

IMG_0186 The flurry of Christmas is subsiding {thankfully} and I find myself in the threshold space between this year and the next, trying very hard to avoid the influx of retrospectives and reflections that seem to pepper the interwebs at this time.

I used to avoid the retrospectives because they left me feeling weighed-and-found-wanting; all of those many unfinished projects and unrealized goals. Now I avoid them because I find they leave me feeling weighed-and-found-wanting, but only because I've chosen a slower path of Simple and Less, which tends not to fit the profile of the digital world.

I withdrew from the online world toward the end of 2015 - I stopped blogging on my personal blog, turning instead toward a TinyLetter and spent more time dedicated to fiction rather than maintaining a connection in the online spaces.

I started listening to a lot of self-publishing podcasts, which have further fueled my enthusiasm for the indie route and contributed to my ongoing education in how to navigate these particular waters.

But they also opened my eyes to the realities of self-publishing and of the expectations contained therein, one of which suggests that, in order to be successful [read: bend the Amazon algorithms to your will], an author must produce at least four books per year.  Not only do they have to be written, they have to be professionally edited [several times], cover-designed and marketed -- all achieved, literally,  within the span of three months.

'Tis no exaggeration to say that I find that publishing schedule to be a shade on the daunting side.

I have a day-job. I also have a husband and two children - one of whom is autistic - a flock of chickens, two cats, a dog and a horse, all of which require daily care and attention. In the summer there's gardening to be done; stewardship of this patch of land on which we live is a vitally important part of my life, and is the ground in which many of my stories are rooted. Home, family and tending to the earth and her creatures are my core values. To set all of that aside to chain myself to my computer and desk in pursuit of an externally-decreed schedule seems counter-intuitive.

So, does this mean that I won't be successful?

Possibly.

However, I happen to believe that there are readers out there who value those things as much as I do. They're the sort of people who believe in the Unseen Realms and understand that it exists right alongside us; they're the sort of people who hold conversations with trees and plant flowers for the bees.  They drink tea and covet books and would rather walk in the woods than go to a party; they wear cardigans and corduroys and skirts-with-wellies and most likely have pocketfuls of acorns and strangely-shaped stones.

Those readers - and the people like them - are the ones I write for. They're the ones that would rather have three books in a year, or even two - if it meant they were written by an engaged soul, living a fulsome life.

I need time to listen for the ravens and watch for the coming of the swans; I need time to brew slow pots of tea and collect eggs and plant milkweed and roses.

There is always time for writing, and there are always stories in my head, waiting, patiently [sometimes not], to be written down.

I'm always writing, but I want also to be always living.

The two together weave the best of all magicks.

~m. xo