It’s been a while since I last posted on my blog. It’s been a busy few months, and well, I haven’t had much to say. But I do have some news to share, and whether it’s good or bed depends on the reader, I guess. The last few months of 2021 were insane. I came out of hospital, and two months later started writing a romcom series with my best friend. it was a wild ride writing those seven books, with lots of ups and downs. But the truth is, it was the series that broke us (just a little) too. We worked our butts off, and had (have) very little to show for it. We had a spectacular launch, sold out most of our paperbacks locally, and even tried our hands at translations. We also pitched to a few agents and editors. Unsuccessfully. And if I’m totally honest, Ash is the one who has always believed this series is better suited to traditional publishing, and MONTHS later, we had another opportunity to pitch. And this time? Let’s just say we’re hoping for the best. But our writing isn’t the reason for this post. Not really. However, you’ll need some context… After months of hard work on a series we love, I was having dinner with dear old Dad. He saw my exhaustion, my frustration, and my dejection that our beloved (APP) series just wasn’t performing the way we thought it would. And he asked me a question that has pretty much changed the trajectory of my life.
DAD: If you could do ANYTHING else, what would it be?
Naturally, you’d think I hesitated, right? I’ve been writing for ten years (as of May 2023), got a degree in publishing, became an editor and this industry is all I know. Except I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t even blink.
ME: I’d start over, and get a degree in graphic design from Open Window. (Technically, it’s a BA in Visual Communications).
Dad had no idea what Open Window was at the time, so I explained it to him. It’s one of the top art universities in South Africa. And one of the most expensive. At that time, things were happening in our lives that made money a non-issue. Our debt was all paid off, Dad got a new car, he bought Mom #2 a new car, and gave me his Land Rover. Which I still drive and love, BTW. Even if it’s 13 years old.
DAD: Well, take some time off, and come to me at the end of April with a plan. And we’ll go from there.
*THE NEXT DAY*
ME: Contacts Open Window about admission requirements for 2023.
*THE NEXT WEEK*
Dad and I have a private tour of the campus with my new student advisor, and we talk about my academic path, given the fact that I already have a degree. Note: Within two days of inquiring about the admission requirements, I was accepted to study at Open Window because I already have a Bachelors Degree. While all of this was happening in the background, I had to give some serious consideration to my writing, and what it would mean for my writing career if I were to go back to school full time for another 4 years. I honestly thought the decision would be harder than what it was, but I could feel in my bones, in my soul, that it was time for a change, and a big one at that. Which leads me to the purpose of this blog post. As of January 2023, I will be putting my proverbial pen down. For good. And this isn’t a decision I made lightly, I might add, but I needed to be realistic with myself. This industry has changed faster than I can keep up with. My books are no longer making money, and unless I’m co-writing with Ash, I can’t publish a book a month, or promote those books with the kind of money needed to be seen. And if I had to be real honest with myself? I’m tired. Tired of working my tail off with nothing to show for it. Tired of all the drama in the book world. Just plain tired. Which is why I know changing direction is what’s best for me at this stage of my life. People who know me have said I will return to writing, that it’s in my blood, but I can’t one way or another if I will ever write another book. I promised myself when I started writing almost ten years ago that if it ever became a job (as in I’d write purely for money), I would quit. And it has become a job. Previously, I wrote a story because I loved it, and the money just followed. But that’s changed, and I have to think about what comes next for me. Writing is no longer the creative outlet it used to be. It now feels like a competition, and I’m not even ashamed to admit that I don’t have the chops to compete. I don’t want to compete. When I started this journey all those years ago, things were different. Fellow authors were my peers, not my competitors. Readers promoted us because we wrote good stories, and now it’s more about how many followers you have, or how many views you get on TikTok. That’s not my jam, and it never was. I used social media to talk to readers, not to out-rank or out-perform someone else.
So, what does this mean for the books I’ve published? I don’t know yet. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes right now with the (APP) series I wrote with Ash, and we’re cautiously optimistic about it. Should things work out, our lives will be changed. But still, I’m going to back to school no matter what happens. My heart is set, and everything, everything, has fallen in place for me to pursue a new career, and well, I believe it’s fate. As for the rest of my titles, I still have time to think about what I’m going to do with them. I might leave them published, I might not, I’m not sure yet. Hopefully the answer will present itself to me pretty soon.
Right now, I’m still writing in some capacity, but I’m also getting my portfolio ready for school, and getting myself as prepared as I can. And I will add that Ash and I recently won the Imbali Award for Excellence in Romance Writing from the Romance Organization of South Africa, which is the African equivalent of the RWAs RITA Award. We’ve also been invited to RARE London in July 2023, which is truly a dream come true for us both. Now, you may be wondering why I’m calling it quits after all of the above.
Because it’s time.
And it’s not something I can easily explain to anyone, especially to those who only know me as a romance author. It’s just this knowing I have that it’s time for a change. Time for something new.
There are parts of the journey that have made me stronger, parts that broke me until I no longer recognized myself and parts that filled me with our joy for what I did. I’m a born storyteller, and maybe someday I will find my way to writing for the love of it. All I know right now is that writing as a job, and not because I love it, is making me miserable.
Will I be disappearing off the face of the Earth when I start school next year? Definitely not. If anything I’ll be chronicling the life of a 31 year old student who’s surrounded by babies who are 13 years younger than me. The context of my social media accounts will change, and that won’t be a bad thing. I get to start over, start a new adventure, and rediscover myself in the process. And not everyone gets that opportunity.
Until then, I’m still around, you know? I’m still chatting to friends, to readers who have loved and shared my books, and I’m still sharing my mental health journey too.
And as soon as I have another update, you’ll be the first to know.
Lots of love,