Monday, January 18, 2021

Writing, street teams and tortoises... oh my!

Like every other person on the planet, I was very ready to put 2020 behind me. The year was a write-off for me, though probably not in the same way as for most people. Since I'm a homebody who was already working online from home, lockdown didn't affect my lifestyle, my job or my income, for which I will be eternally grateful. But it was a bad year mentally, and my productivity and my writing suffered.

2020 started with the release of my book My Best Friend's Royal Wedding. I really loved writing this book, and loved the characters. The challenge of writing characters who start out essentially unlikeable and slowly growing to like (even love) them, and watching them fall in love, is what makes writing such a special experience for me. Unfortunately, many reviewers didn't feel the same, and this book received a LOT of negative criticism, much more than any book I'd previously written. I thought I was tougher and could take it, but my confidence took a big knock as I questioned whether I really know what I'm doing. (Impostor syndrome much?!)

Then we went into lockdown and I turned into a tortoise, retreating into my shell. My shell is my happy place, and in a good year I'm more than happy to stay tucked away inside there. But even inside my shell, healthy and with my loved ones safe and close, I couldn't block out the anxiety of the world around me. You were there. You know what I mean, right?

Then my kids started e-learning. Both my daughters have dyslexia and ADHD, the two learning difficulties that are not conducive to having to self-motivate, self-discipline and read online for hours at an end. Supporting them, reading their classwork to them, trying to keep them from breaking under the increasing pressure and negativity placed on them by teachers who were either indifferent or who found them "too much hard work" (actual quote), became a full-time job.

Through all of this, I started a few stories, had a few ideas, but nothing stuck and by year's end I was no further along than I'd been at the end of January, when My Best Friend's Royal Wedding released.

That's going to change in 2021. I'm feeling motivated again, and inspired to write again. This tortoise is emerging from its shell.

Image by ykaiavu from Pixabay

My first step, aside from finishing my follow-up Tuscany book (which is now way overdue!) is to get myself organized. I have a detailed plan for the year, and I've started a street team.

What's a street team? For those who haven't yet heard the expression, it's a group of readers who get special access to an author, including being the first to hear about new releases, receiving inside info on the author's books that others don't get, free advance review copies, and other bonus treats. But there's a catch - being on a street team isn't just about getting free stuff, it's about supporting that author with things like reviews and social media shares.

If this sounds like something you'd like to be a part of, please sign up for my street team by clicking on the linked image below. And if that's not your cup of tea, then just sit back and watch this space - there will be something new to read in 2021, I promise!