Ever since COVID hit, things have been - shall I say - a wee bit challenging for me.
But then again, it's been that way for everyone else, too.
These past few weeks, I gave up on the idea that an author must blog on a regular basis to build a following. It is an idea that seems to be based on the notion that all authors are full-time writers.
Most of us are NOT full-time authors.
And that means we need to support ourselves in other ways.
As you know, I work part-time as an assistant minister/director of Christian education/communications director at a United Methodist Church. That job description alone should tell you that it's a lot to do in around 25-30 hours per week. It's also the type of work that does not stay in the office. It follows me home. These days, since I now work from home, it's like my best friend - always popping in for a chat. Don't get me wrong. I love what I do. But it's just a new twist on things.
I generally work in the mornings. Evenings find me leading studies and groups or going to meetings - all on Zoom. Again, it's the same thing I've always done - but this time I don't leave my home. Ever.
So, like most authors, I write because I love to write and because I'm called to write. I can't help myself. Frankly we authors would write even if we never published a word, because writing is what we do.
My new reality is that even though my hours have not changed significantly, the amount of time I spend staring at a screen has. So much so that my old eyes have taken to screaming, "Enough, already!"
With that reality in mind, I consciously made a choice to back off on the blogging so I could spend my non-church screen time writing.
The decision has yielded some good results. One is a short story. "The Newcomer," the story of how Eli Smith came to Blaineton, had been posted last year on this blog. But I now have revised and edited it, and it has something like a cover design (see above). I probably will fool with the cover a bit more this weekend. The plan is to publish the story on Kindle next week (at the usual $.99 price). I'll be working on a paperback version in a week or so.
The other result of stepping back from the blog is that I am nearly finished with the first draft of the full-length Saint Maggie novel, A Balm in Gilead. Now comes the fun part - revising, rewriting, and editing my way through about four or five revisions. Then I'll release it to my beta readers and receive more things to correct and revise. After that comes the cover design, for which I will hire my designer, Erin.
So, while I'm sorry that I haven't been blogging lately, I am glad to have backed off. I needed to do what an author does: write.
If you have purchased the Kindle version of my novels, novellas, and short stories during 2020, thank you! Thank you so much. I sincerely appreciate your support. And thank you for spreading the word about Maggie and her friends.
And practice love.
Janet R. Stafford
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder