What Camp NaNoWriMo taught me…

July was CampNaNoWriMo. I edited/wrote 281,635 words. Yes, I said 281+K. I edited Rings of Fire, the sequel to The Arrangement/Solid Ground and the second book in the Apocalypse series. I also edited books one and two of Ægir’s trilogy. I went through all of my Literotica and archived writing files and prioritized what I want to finish. But most importantly, I defined what it means to be a writer for me and what my goals are.

IMG_4721Oh, and I got engaged to my REAL-life hero. One that is better than any I have ever written or read. One who accepted and loved a fifty-year-old single mother and her #ActuallyAutistic daughter – unconditionally. A man who is smarter and stronger than I am, whom I can trust, and who is always there for me.

The two are related actually.

I began the month with the idea…it was time to get serious about my writing. I needed to:

  • Create webpages for Tara Neale and Raquel Graffen…
  • I refused to go down the Facebook route again, but I absolutely must get more Twitter followers…
  • I put books on Free days at Amazon and paid-for ads…
  • I did guest blogs…
  • I made pretty trailers for my books…and ads too…
  • And I subscribed to Twuffer, PhotoShop, Grammarly, and more…

You see while I could not and was prepared to spend thousands on promoting my books, I was finally at a point in my life, thanks to my partner, where I could afford to pay a bit on my writing.

I was determined: I was going to sell books and become a REAL writer.

I did all those things. Some days I spent more time doing that business of writing than I did editing or writing. And I hated it. I hated the games. Hated the follow-me-and-I’ll-follow-you bullshit of Twitter. Though, I have gained many followers on Twitter and engaged in some thoughtful discussions with fellow writers.

I had fun making the ads, trailers, and learning Photoshop too. And I love Grammarly Pro. I wish I had bought that one long ago.

But I saw little return on my investment in time and money at least in terms of sales. Perhaps I lacked patience. Perhaps this must be a long term project.

The truth was…I hated it.

I want to write. Because as Rainer Maria Rilke said in Letters to a Young Poet:

Examine the reason that bids you to write; check whether it reaches its roots into the deepest region of your heart, admit to yourself whether you would die if it should be denied you to write. This above all: ask yourself in your night’s quietest hour: must I write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. And if it should be affirmative, if it is given to you to respond to this serious question with a loud and simple ‘I must’, then construct your life according to this necessity; your life right into its most inconsequential and slightest hour must become a sign and a witness of this urge.

I must write. That is what makes me a writer. Not how many books I sell. Nor bestsellers lists. And while I am passionate about my message of:

1) Life sucks.
2) Love is the only thing that makes it worth living.
3) Great sex is the best way to show that love.

I want people to read what I write. I want them to hear that message. I hope that it will inspire them and change their lives. Because every day in our @HomeCrazzyHome I know that it is true. That it works. That it brings happiness, nothing else can.

But Amazon and NYT bestsellers lists are not the only measure of success. In fact, for this writer, they were when I got off track. What drew me away from my passion for writing. From my purpose.

Sure, it is understandable. I was a single mother in a challenging situation. I felt that the only way to get out was to write my way out as J K Rowling had. I had compatriots at Literotica who were doing just that, who encouraged me to as well.

Except for one thing…it is not mine to write by trope. To show not tell like a television show. About rich, skinny/buff, young heroes and heroines with billionaire Doms and bratty subs. I am not knocking that…everyone must write the story that is theirs.

But mine is to write of old, fat, women and men, broken by life, insecure, and in pain. Finding one another and discovering that two truly are stronger than one. That there is absolutely nothing wrong with needing each other, that co-dependent is not always a dirty word, and interdependent never is. That love makes you stronger, not weaker. That love comforts and heals you.

And yes, that great, kinky sex is not just for skinny, billionaire, twenty-somethings. You’d be surprised at the positions your arthritic, fat, old body can get into when an orgasm is the reward.

Love and life, like fine wine and cheese (chili, spaghetti, and tater salad too), gets better with age. You appreciate its flavor and richness at fifty in a way that no twenty-something ever could.

So, Raquel/Tara, what the fuck does any of that mean?

It means I am returning to my passion. To my roots. To the place where my writing took off. To the audience that has always gotten it.

I am coming back to Literotica. Where I belong. The name itself says my purpose – Literary erotica.

I will be finishing some fantastic stories that I left hanging. Yes, that means Ægir’s though I am still frustrated with Sven for not seeing all that he has been given.

If you have not noticed, I am posting Rings of Fire rather rapidly in the Romance section. That story is written and edited. So, when one chapter publishes, I post the next. As soon as Labor’s End, Book 2 of my Sergeant Mike’s Miracle Tour series, and Nothing Done In Love finish out there KDP Select enrollment, I will be doing the same with those.

I have also gone through my old stories, pulling out the ones that inspire me the most. I will be reworking some of those and finishing many of them.

I do sort of miss, covers, ads, and trailers. I might even publish some of these stories to Amazon, and elsewhere, just so those ‘nillas too straight to read Literotica can discover my message also. The difference is…where my focus will be.

On writing, not on selling.

Speaking of which…let me go do that now, folks!

Goddess bless until next time,
Raquel/Tara

2 thoughts on “What Camp NaNoWriMo taught me…

  1. So glad to read that you are back! Congrats on finding what is important to a happy life, love, family, home, and joy. If you write, the business will follow. Business finds art and accommodates, Business based in art is never populated by artists. You have a strong, clear, voice and I am only one who longs to hear it (or read it as it were). Going over to Literotica (haven’t been there in a long time) to check out your latest. Hoping that you’ll maybe, one day, think about that story you started with the secret baby with the “stripper” and lawyer because that was really a good start.

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