by Holly West
Edited 2/7/18 at 9:09 a.m.: I feel like this post comes across as too sad sack. I'm not, really! I'm actually super happy and excited about where I'm at. So read it with that in mind. I think you all are great.
This is my last regular post on Do Some Damage. It makes me sad to write that. Sadder than I thought it would, actually. I'm gonna have to hold Steve Weddle to his word that I'm always welcome here.
It's been four years, nearly to the day, since my first novel came out. I say this because it roughly corresponds to when I started as a regular on DSD. If you ever need a gauge of how fast time goes by, get two novels published in one year (in my case, 2014), have grand plans to follow up with several more published novels (each more successful than the last), then wake up four years later and accept that you're still working on the novel you started before those first two were published.
For a long time, I felt great shame about the fact that I haven't lived up to my own writing/publishing goals. And I suppose, if I'm really and truly honest, I still am. But I also understand that nobody is waiting for me, nobody is sitting around thinking about why Holly West hasn't finished another novel, nobody is thinking about me at all. I am the center of nobody's universe but my own. If I feel shame (which is a completely useless emotion, IMO), that's on me, just as my success or failure is on me.
There's no doubt I've learned a lot about the writing biz, about life, and about myself in the four years since my novels were published. I'm a better person now than I was then. Believe it or not, I'm less self-centered. I'm also a better writer.
I feel this tremendous need to go back to the beginning, even knowing I can't go back. But as the wise and not-so-powerful Bryon Quertermous recently told me after I lamented the state of my career, "Our careers haven't even started."
I hate to say it, but he's right. I don't need to go back to the beginning because I haven't even started. There's great comfort in that realization.
With all of this said, I'm excited about a couple of upcoming projects. In January, I submitted what I believe is the best short story I've ever written for inclusion in an anthology collection. I don't know if it will be selected, but if not, I'll try to find a home for it somewhere else. I'm also in the process of editing a short story collection for Down & Out Books called MURDER-A-GO-GO'S: CRIME FICTION INSPIRED BY THE MUSIC OF THE GO-GO'S, with net proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood and a foreword written by Go-Go's founder Jane Wiedlin. Watch for it in March 2019.
My co-poster, Thomas Pluck, will be taking over Wednesdays. I couldn't be happier both to know him personally and to count him as one of my writing allies. He's a good one.
Speaking of allies and friends, there's been no one more supportive of me than Steve Weddle. Steve co-founded Do Some Damage and invited me to join the group way back when. He's also responsible for publishing my first short story in Needle Magazine. I love that guy.
Thank you for all of the support and feedback you've offered over the years. I've loved my time with Do Some Damage and I'll miss it. I'll miss you. But I know where to find most of you so you're not through with me yet.
Hey, Holly -- Your posts have always been among my favorites, and that's saying a lot with all the fine, talented bloggers who are part of this group. Keep up the great work on your writing! Looking forward to that story ahead (which anthology? Bouchercon?) and to the Go-Gos anthology as well. Fun times ahead!
Counting on finding you on Facebook. More and more, I think, blogs are obsolete. But you are not!
Art, it's the Bouchercon anthology. I'm hopeful it will be selected, but you know how these things go. Thanks for reading and commenting and sharing my posts all these years. You've been such a great supporter not only of me but of Do Some Damage and I really appreciate it.
Patti, you'll see me on FB occasionally, but I've been trying to reduce my time there. That said, our paths will cross often, I'm sure, between projects and conferences and social media! I'm so glad to know you.
I've always enjoyed your posts here! Time for new projects, though, I get that.
Will miss you on Wednesdays!
I'll definitely miss your pieces here, Holly. I've enjoyed them. Any time you want to guest post on a Tuesday, let me know.
Holly, it's been great trading days with you and I hope to read that novel when you're finished with it. Like Bryon said, "we've only just begun."
Thank you for inviting me here, and I'll try to do this slot justice.
I'm so with you, Holly. Your post struck a cord. I like Bryon's wise words too -- I think I'll adopt them. :-) I love that we were 2014 debut sisters.
The Go-Go's! I would have loved to have written something for that!
Don't let things get you down, Holly! Publishing is a tough gig, and I look forward to your book!
I have lurked as a post reader since leaving DSD years ago and have loved reading everything you posted. It is easy to worry that you are not on the pace you intended to be or that others are passing you by or that you aren't doing what you are supposed to be doing. But each of us has our own path and yours has taken you on the journey you are supposed to be on. I can't wait to see where your writer journey takes you next. You really have only just begun!
Thank you, everyone, for your comments! I really appreciate all of you.
I'm sure that was not an easy post to make, but it was extremely well-said and important. Thank you.
I might be in a similar place. Maybe we could have coffee (wine?) soon.
I'd love to have coffee/wine/dinner, whatevs. Let's talk.
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