Does it really matter what happens after a novel is published? Of course it matters, but I write because I enjoy it. If I could scratch out a modest living doing nothing but writing, well that would be a dream come true. I’m a realist in some ways and a dreamer in others. Sure, I live a simple alternative lifestyle in an RV partly because I have more time to write, and thus increase my chances of someday making my living doing what I love. That is part of the reason we keep our expenses low. We just don’t have to spend as much time earning a living at separate jobs, trying to pay for a home we mainly only use to sleep in and have a place to get mail (bills). The other reason, and more important reason, is we get to spend more time together as a couple and we can pretty much be anywhere we want anytime, within reason. Don’t get me wrong, everyday isn’t like being on vacation. In fact very few days are like vacation, but we are very happy people, generally, as a result of simplifying our lives.
Back to the subject at hand, I never expected when my first novel was completed that I’d catapult to instant stardom and be able to just sit and write away at the next one while money poured in. That’s for the dreamer in me! No, I knew I had a tough road ahead of me at best. And that’s if people even enjoyed my work. Well, a year later now since I self published, and I know now at least some people enjoy it. In fact, I even get asked every now and then when the next one will be out. I also know what I write will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ve never been one to jump on the bandwagon of whatever is popular at the time in hopes of making money. But I don’t need everyone to like it, and if you write, or whatever you do, you don’t either. My philosophy is if I like something, at least a few others probably will too. For example, my wife, Sharon, takes photographs. She takes photos everywhere we travel and everywhere we park our home. She isn’t a technical wizard on proper photography, nor does she own the best, most expensive equipment that can be had. But she takes pictures with a unique eye and most importantly, its her passion. And that definitely shows in her images. She’s just another form of artist. That’s what we consider ourselves; artists. Whether we’re good ones or not is in the eyes and mind of each individual that experiences our crafts.
We we’re a truck driver and a registered nurse in our former lifestyles. We made good money, had a nice home, nice vehicles, and we’re happy. But, and I can’t speak for Sharon, I spent much of my time at work then thinking about writing and traveling and getting to see my wife when I got home. Now, I spend much more time writing and traveling. And though we don’t make our entire living from writing and photography just yet, we spend most of everyday together working toward those dreams. We do many different tasks to put diesel in the truck, pay insurance, food on the table, etc., just like most “working” families. It just doesn’t take as much as it used too before we liberated much of our “stuff”.
If something is important enough to you, you’ll find a way to do it. We wanted to be a novelist and a fine art photographer. We wanted to travel the country, camping out in our RV wherever we stop. We wanted to spend more time together. In the two short years since we started a simpler life, we’ve accomplished all those things and more. No, our ultimate goals haven’t been achieved yet. I’m not sure if we’ll even know it when we get there. But, we’re already successful artists, even if only in our own minds.
So, in answer to my question “Now what?”, I say just keep writing… or taking photos… or painting, or sculpting, or whatever your creative urges push you to do. Create what you like; what you enjoy. I believe someone else will enjoy it too and everything else will eventually fall into place.
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Good luck to you in all your creative endeavors…