This week’s library stop brought me to an incredible little book – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo – and really did lead me to have a little life-changing magic. The basic idea is to get rid of anything you own that doesn’t give you joy. It sounds simple, but it’s a pretty profound experience if you really commit to it.
As I filled bags and boxes of things I no longer needed or wanted, I found my thoughts turning more and more to my online life and my professional life. For those of you who don’t know, not only do I try to keep up with this blog, I’ve spent the last several years writing romance under pen names. I create websites and social media accounts and write books and self-publish and I’ve had no less than four pen names all told. This is exhausting. It’s depressing. And it’s getting me nowhere. My mind is cluttered. My online presence is cluttered. And I think it’s time to apply the same life-changing magic to my professional pursuits.
At one time my pen names brought me joy. It was fun to write, fun to watch books come to life with the help of editors and cover designers. It was fun to market, to network in the romance world, to sell books.
Increasingly though, and especially since I had my son, I’ve felt itchy and empty and confused about what I really want. Writing genre fiction no longer brings me joy. More and more it’s a source of pain and confusion. What should I do with my life? What should I write now? Can I let go of these things I’ve worked so hard on?
Thanks to Marie Kondo I realized that the answer to that question is yes. If it doesn’t bring me joy it has to go.
What I really want is to see my own real name on the cover of a book. I want to write things that I’m proud of, that I want to tell the world about. Not things that have to hide under fake names. I’m not sure yet what I’ll write next. I may do fiction or I may branch out and try my hand at nonfiction. What I do know is that I’ll start writing here again on a more regular basis. I’ll start using social media simply as myself. And I’ll try to be a little more at peace now that I’ve cleaned out the mental and physical clutter.