SJ Duncan

The Tipping Point Blog


It’s April 24th. I'm in a hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona, drinking coffee and starting a new novel. BASH came out Friday, and my other two books are steadily gaining traction. Life is good.


I’ve been posting here weekly-ish since January, and one thing I haven’t yet covered is the blog’s title. Want to do that now? Let's do that now.


So, why the “Tipping Point?”




I’ve been writing a long time. It’s all I’ve ever known. It started as something to do for fun. Then it became something to do for attention. Later, it became a coping mechanism. When I can write, I can deal. When I can't (for whatever reason) things go downhill fast.


In my teens I discovered that writers (can, under special circumstances) make a lot of money doing something I was already doing for fun. Certain that fame and fortune would soon follow, I began working on my first novel. Until then it had been short stories and poems. For reasons I'll discuss in a different post, that novel didn't pan out. Neither did the next one. I attempted one or two more before I was able to finally finish one, and by the time I finished that one I had no desire to put in the required time revising and editing.


It was around this time that I discovered two things:


Writing for fun is easy.


Writing for publication is [expletive] hard.



My focus shifted, then. I stopped trying for fame and fortune, and instead I started writing for myself. I wanted to write books that captured something of the world, and my life. I wanted to write something real, and honest, and truthful. I wanted to move people's hearts, rather than their money.


As a writer, I began to mature.



I wrote numerous novels that I knew weren't good enough, because they didn't capture what I wanted them to capture. The process was long, and frustrating, and depressing, but it was also exhilarating, exciting, and fun. In a sense, it was like being in a bad relationship with my writing. We tore each other down, we built each other up.


This went on for years (and thousands of unpublishable pages). Then, eventually, I was ready to put my stuff out there.


That's a long story itself, so I'll boil it down to this: I started a website, I started a facebook page, and I self-published one book, then another. I learned not only how to publish but how to promote my work, and I stayed single for four years, swearing off any romantic involvement until I figured this thing out. I wasn't playing around.


Fast forward to today. I've just released a new novel and I'm working on the next. My readership is steadily growing. And most importantly, I'm comfortable with where I am as a writer, and most of the time I capture what it is I'm trying to capture in my work.


I'm not rich, but I'm doing well.


I'm not famous, but I'm becoming known.


And I'm not writing for either of those two things; I'm writing for the work itself.


In essence, I feel like I'm living at the tipping point of what it was I set out to do all those years ago. I'm steadily gaining traction and growing in my craft. I'm becoming the writer I always wanted to be. And all the obstacles stacked in my way are on the verge of tipping over. 


The only question that remains is what happens when they do?




  • Leave a comment: