What Is This Thing Called Apathy?

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ap·a·thy

noun, plural ap·a·thies.

1.  absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.

2.  lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.

As defined in  www.dictionary.com

Emotion is the mark of every good writer.  If you aren’t emotionally involved in your characters and plot how can you expect your readers to be?  After all, you know your characters best, right?  If they were flat no one would want to know them better.  No reader would pick up your book and say “Wow, these characters leap right off the page.  I can’t wait to read more!

Most writers are passionate people. They see more, hear more, feel more, and write about it.  Their nerves are on edge, always looking out for the next story to turn into a book.  Writers can’t help that they are creative people.  They were born this way.  So, when apathy hits them, it hits hard, right out of left field.  And it’s difficult to make go away.

I recently finished my first KDP Select promotion.  It went well. You can read about it here.  I’m happy with the results, ecstatic that people downloaded the book and sales are up.  So why in the world am I afflicted with apathy?  The excitement and passion are gone.  I feel like I’m in limbo.   INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is the first in a series of books about a Gypsy circus in the 1800s.  I have put many long hours into research and writing, editing and polishing.  Then came the marketing and I stepped up to the plate.  It feels like I’ve been eating, sleeping and living the book 24/7.  Well, I guess that’s because I have.

In hindsight, maybe I went a little overboard.  I’m like that sometimes.  If I’m going to do a job I’ll do it the best way I can.  I’ve been working on INZARED for over three years to get it ready for publication.  True, I took off a year or so, but I wanted the book to be as professional as possible and it was a labor of love so I didn’t mind the long hours.

Book one is now on Kindle.  I have decided to use CreateSpace to make a paperback copy available.  More formatting time, something I dread.  I have sat at the computer a few times trying to work on the second book in the series.  My original plans were to publish that book in October.  Not looking good at this point.

Apathy set in.  Or is it exhaustion?  This void of emotion is new to me.  I am a passionate person.  I have never had problems before with writing.  I just sat at the computer and the words flowed.  Yesterday I realized I was stalling – defeated before I even start.  Each day goes by and I say, “Geez, I didn’t get any writing done again today.”  Truth is I haven’t wanted to.  My head hurts.  I don’t want to go to work today.  Maybe it’s time for a rest?

I sat down and wrote a list of why I’m feeling so disengaged from my characters and my book.  This is what I came up with.

  1. Fear – Ok, I managed to get one book published and lots of downloads.  But now I’m afraid I can’t top that.  Afraid the second won’t measure up.
  2. Exhaustion – Just mentioned this, but it’s true.  I have never been good at taking breaks – I realize I’ll need to so I feel better.
  3. Wasting Time – While the book was ranking on Amazon I kept checking stats.  I don’t need to do that now.  I need to stop.  Once or twice a day is fine but anything else is overkill.  Facebook is helpful as a tool, but I spend way too much time there.
  4. Allowing Interruptions – I have been letting people interrupt me while I’m trying to write.  I’ve always had a closed-door policy when writing, why did I change it?  Time to put the sign on the door and turn off the telephone.
  5. Guilt – guilt for navigating away from my normal life.  My husband is very understanding so this isn’t his mantra.  But a part of me thinks I am being a terrible person for spending so much time writing and not doing laundry. (By the way my husband cheerfully does the laundry to give me time to write).
  6. Lack of Exercise – In Mexico I walk every single day – lots!  When I return to the US we live in a rural area and have to drive everywhere.  It didn’t take long for me to become chained to the computer.  I suffer because of it.  My brain gets cobwebs, my back hurts, and I have trouble concentrating.  Tomorrow I start walking again – it’s good for me.

This may have never happened to you, but I share because if it does I want you to know there are ways to alleviate apathy.  Tomorrow I will start afresh.  I have been writing again for two days and my main character, INZARED, is asking me what took so long.  She’s a bit bossy and wonders what in the heck is my problem, anyway?

I’ll keep you all posted on my progress and if my new resolutions work.  I expect they will.  I for one will be glad to be de-apathized – I hate it when this happens!

 

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3 responses »

  1. I know exactly what you are saying. When the interruptions and procrastination keep me from writing I lose the drive. And when I do not produce, depression sets in. I am actually there right now. I need to get back to my healthy routine, proper eating, exercise, and a set period devoted to my passion – writing, before apathy closes off the channel..

    • At least we realize the problem. It would be easy to cave in, but I haven’t come this far to give up now! I’ve already made some changes today and tomorrow will be even better. Good luck with yours too, Yvonne and thanks for commenting.

  2. Pingback: What Is This Thing Called Apathy? « Livia Ellis

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