Wow! A new month, October no less. This time of year happens to be my personal favorite. However, these past few weeks a blanket of sadness has covered me and my family as I have lost my sister, Dawn, to cancer. It has been a challenging time, and each day has both highs and lows. These past few weeks have seen more lows than highs, and I have taken many moments to stop and ponder my writing and what I’m doing. I debated quite a bit about this blog post, but I finally decided I would post it and share some of my thoughts about this writing adventure I’ve been on. So, here we go.
This month is special as back on October 23, 2017 my first short story was published by NineStar Press. The story in question, The Reunion, it’s my first short story and if you aren’t familiar with the plot here is the brief blurb:
It’s been twenty years since the quiet Midwestern town of Lakeview was struck by tragedy. But every year on the anniversary of the event Teddy returns home for ‘The Reunion’. Lakeview, like Teddy, has secrets and not all mysteries should come to light.
This time period was special for a different reason a darker reason, it was also around this time that we learned that Dawn had a cyst on her neck that needed to be removed. We would find out later that it was cancer.
When it came to my short story, I remember being thrilled. Of course I told Dawn, and she was as excited as I was. I wasn’t able to believe that anything I wrote would ever be published. She of course never doubted me.
I still have these feelings two years later, but now she is no longer here to remind me that I am good enough.
With The Reunion coming out I knew I had one more short story coming out in December 2017, A Dragon for Christmas (which was dedicated to her and my niece), and in January 2018 my debut novel, The Calling would be launched. So much was happening, and it was crazy roller coaster ride. At the time I had a group of wonderful people around me helping me work through planning a launch party and helping me set up all the back end details that are associated with being a Writer. With these amazing people including my sister and the rest of my family, I could be more excited.
It was great.
Fast forward to today and here I am, I have four novels out, and two short stories. I’m currently working on the edits for the next novel in my A New World series Conspiracy and I’m working on the edits for the sequel to The Calling. This is all amazing. I’ve accomplished something that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are never able to do, and I’m grateful. I count myself as a lucky man.
But as I mentioned, Dawn isn’t physically here to share in my joy anymore and that is difficult.
By now you are probably wondering why the title of this post is called Feeling like a Fraud and a Failure. Well, because if I’m honest I feel like a fraud and a failure, since October 2017 I’ve learned a lot about the writing and publishing world. I’ve also learned about and met so many amazing authors who tell these stories that touch your soul, and here I am writing fluff. I’m not complaining, I love my stories and I love the writing I’m able to share with people, however, my writing is mind candy, it doesn’t really do anything for you, it’s enjoyable for the moment and just as easily forgotten when you are finished.
I think part of all this, has to do with the loss of Dawn, I know she is still around me spiritually. She is still, of course, cheering me on, but I miss being able to call her and talk to her on the drive home. Somehow talking to her reminded me of my specialness.
I never set out to be a serious, hard-hitting author who tells stories that make you think. I’ve only wanted to write stories that are fun and take you on an adventure.
Now, I sit here wondering why. Why not write something profound? Why not write something with meaning? Why not write something that will change the world? Why not write something that makes a difference? The answer I come up with is that I’m a fraud. I’m not a real author, real authors write those kinds of stories, but I don’t. I’m the empty calories you enjoy for the moment then when you’re finished you wonder why you ate that candy at all.
I think, as writers, we all want our work to have some kind of meaning. Some kind of impact on people or on society. Part of my writing journey has been listening to other authors share their stories some write to make a difference, some write to be famous, some write to make money, some write for fun.
Why do I write?
I like to think I write to tell good stories that people can relate to, but looking back on what I’ve written I wonder are they good stories that people can relate to? Are they anything more than just a random collection of words on a page that a few people will enjoy? Does it matter? Mostly, I wonder why I feel like I’m a fraud and a failure when I’ve accomplished more in my writing in the last two years than most people will every accomplish?
Dawn, was older than me and I always wanted her to be proud of me. I know she is, I saw it the last time I went to visit her and brought her copies of my books and she cried, because she was so excited. I know she supported me in what she shared on Social Media about me and my silly little collection of words.
Please, forgive this whining and this moment of reflection I don’t want anyone who reads this (all five of you, including my husband) to think I’m unhappy or ungrateful, because I’m not. I wake up every day look at the copies of my physical books sitting on their little stands and remind myself of what I’ve accomplished and how blessed I really am.
I think, today, as we are getting closer to my family’s private memorial for my sister, all of this is hitting me hard, because it’s all becoming more and more real to me.
Thank you for letting me share this. I shall step out of the light and move on to brighter topics and continue to remind myself of what I’ve done. I won’t just be doing this for me, I’ll be writing for my sister too, because I can’t let her down, she has faith in me and my writing and that is pretty powerful, well, at least to me. Tell me do you ever feel like you are a fraud or a failure in what you do? Do you have moments of doubt and indulge in a little self-pity? Do you have someone in your life who reminds you to keep following your dream? Share your comments below and let me know that I’m not the only one who feels like this. In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.