by JT Ellison
There comes a time in every writer’s life when they have to take a serious inventory of their career, and make decisions accordingly. Ever since I wrote this blog post a few months back, I’ve been taking inventory. Measuring and analyzing and talking and trying to figure out where my time goes. I’ve been reading books on a variety of topics, trying to expand my consciousness about what’s happening to my mind. I’ve read about what the Internet does to our brains (The Shallows) how we can better unplug (Hamlet’s Blackberry) and how I can find my inner artist and treat her a little better (The Artist’s Way). I’ve even been looking at ways to redecorate my house to make the flow better (Apartment Therapy) and diving back into cooking (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, La Cucina Italiana).
There have been some very, very personal setbacks too, setbacks that have rocked the core of my identity as a woman, and scattered my thoughts about what’s important, and what’s not, to the winds.
I’ve seen the writing on the wall for a while now. With all the traveling and networking and socializing and promoting and, oh, yeah, writing, I’m missing parts of my life. Not just that. Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost me.
Me, who used to read four books a week. Me, who used to cook elaborate meals. Me, who used to look forward to the weekend, because it meant quiet time, family time. Me, who was so disciplined and focused she could write three books a year with her hands tied behind her back. Me, who used to have time to attend meetings in town of my organizations, meet friends for dinner or drinks. Me, who didn’t have to refocus my attention on my husband when he asked a question because I’ve been lost in Internet land. Me, who used to adore writing non-fiction, and now struggles to say something, anything, that hasn’t been said before a thousand times.
I need to find that girl again.
I’ve been incredibly blessed in my career. I’ve been able to write books, get paid for writing them, travel around the world promoting them, meet readers, have adventures, and pull those experiences into my stories. I’ve been blessed to be a part of the finest crime fiction blog on the planet. I’ve been blessed with amazing readers, newfound friends, and deepening relationships with old friends. I’ve pissed a few people off along the way too, but as my darling husband always says, if you’re not pissing some people off, you’re not doing anything. (To those of you who are reading this that I’ve pissed off – I’m sorry. No offense. Truly. I wish you light and love, always.)
Highs, and lows. Joy, and sorrow. This, as you all know, is life.
I’ve come a long way on this blog, from those first tentative, worrisome, nail-biting, took a week to write posts that I made my husband read to make sure I didn’t sound like an idiot, to having the confidence to actually share what I’ve learned about the writing and publishing process.
But I have a workload that has gotten seriously out of hand… Y’all may have heard that my editor left, so there are changes afoot in my novel world. Being orphaned is scary business, but I’ve landed with a fabulous new editor who I’m sure is going to challenge and stretch malleable me into a better writer. I’ve been working on a sekrit project, plus a standalone, plus the new Sam book, plus three short stories and planning a series in a completely different genre… These are the things we writers dream about – too many ideas, and not enough time to work them all in. An embarrassment of riches, to be sure, but time consuming, for all that.
So I’m making a few changes, across all my Internet worlds. The biggest of those is my role in Murderati.
The wonderfully gracious, lovely writers of Murderati, who understand me more than I understand myself sometimes, have granted me a leave of absence. I’m taking the next six months off from the blog. In April, I’ll reassess where I am, and make a decision to either come back or leave permanently.
Because of my selfish desires to regain some more me time—and selfish they are, I admit. I’m really hanging people out on a limb with this decision, and I hate that—there will be more changes to follow. Pari will be going into those on Monday.
I’ll still be out in the world, posting occasionally to Tao of JT, on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s time to hibernate, to pull in, to focus on being as creative as possible for the next several months.
I’m so incredibly grateful to all of you. For the past six years, you’ve cheered me on, held me up, made me laugh, made me bite my tongue, and supported me. The real me. Not just JT the writer. JT the woman. I can’t thank you enough for being here, every Friday, then every other Friday, helping me grow as a writer, a columnist, and a person. I will be forever in your debt.
So, a thought to leave you with, because if I go on any longer I’m going to start crying:
Advice From a Mountain
Reach new heights
Savor life’s peak experiences
There is beauty as far as the eye can see
Stand in the strength of Your True Nature
Follow the trails of the Wise Ones
Protect and preserve timeless beauty,
silence, solitude, serenity,
Rise above it all
Make solid decisions
Climb beyond your limitations
Leave no stone unturned
Never take life for granite
Get to the point
Patience, patience, patience
Life has its ups and downs
Let your troubles vanish into thin air
To summit all up
It’s the journey step by step
I’ll see you in April. Blessed be and merry part.
Wine of the Week: A recap of most of my favorites, posted here for your viewing pleasure.