Music Inspired Post: Taking the Risk

‘Get Up’ by Shinedown actually started playing while I was writing Monday’s post.  I put it here since the topic it made me think of fit more as a finale.  Hope people have been enjoying this experiment.

I think this song touches on something that every author . . . artist . . . person needs to take to heart.  It talks about simply getting up and trying to be better.  The part that really drew me out of what I was doing to listen was ‘hard to move mountains when you’re paralyzed’.  This hits on the fear of the unknown that people have when they are facing a change.  Anyone who has taken the plunge into writing books knows this.  It was there at some point even if it showed up later.  That moment where you hit the crossroads of moving forward or giving up.  I think most people take the latter when it comes to their dreams because there’s always a risk.  Some come back later in life to try, but humans enjoy comfort and certainty.

For myself, I think about my own journey as an author.  I loved writing stories in 2nd grade, but stopped because some people made me think I was wasting my time.  I got back into it in 9th grade after reading ‘The Books of Lost Swords’ by Fred Saberhagen.  Ending up designing a series about immortal superheroes in our galaxy and another series taking place in a fantasy world before graduating.  In college, I refined my imagination and came up with Windemere.  Then . . . Then . . .

Here is where the song hits me a bit because I remember graduating college and not knowing what to do.  I had all of these story ideas, but no way to use them.  Amazon hadn’t made self-publishing a thing and my attempt at a Vanity Press failed.  People told me it was time to grow up again and I needed to get a real job.  Writing could be done once stability was found.  This began a full decade of working other jobs and only tinkering with my notebooks.  In that time, I only wrote 3 full books and kept designing more series to make sure I didn’t lose the ideas.  I wasn’t getting up and I was deluding myself into thinking I was following my dream.

It would be December 2012 that I took the plunge and began this blog.  I edited the finished volumes of Legends of Windemere and published my first book in February 2013.  It was a fun ride for a few years with good sales, exciting promos, and a lot of new friends.  Then, things started falling apart.  I wasn’t standing up any more and just limping along.  My divorce, a few personal things that are slightly connected to that, and a general chaos of my life made things tougher.  People didn’t seem to want to jump from my first series to any of my other ideas.  So, Bedlam and Ichabod Brooks got shelved.  War of Nytefall went until the end since I had already started it and it was one of my big series that I was determined to bring to life.  Now, I’m in a position where I don’t know what I’m doing or what I want any more.

All of that brings me to the reality that I don’t have the confidence that I used to.  Years ago, I had no doubts about my imagination and storytelling ability.  Now, I don’t know if I was ever any good.  Lack of book sales and no real reviews feed this doubt, which prevents me from standing back up.  It makes me scared about the end of next month when I try to publish Do I Need to Use a Dragon?.  I mean, it’s a book on how to write fantasy, but why should a guy like me do something like that?  This adventure takes a different type of confidence than publishing fiction, which the song really started to get me thinking about.  I need to have faith in my own abilities, but I don’t have that right now.  It was there when I wrote the thing.  Authors really do have fragile senses of self-worth and confidence, which depend on sales and the opinions on strangers.  We simply can’t trust our own egos at most points.

This post turned more into a flash biography and a pity party, but I’m following the music here.  That’s how it goes.

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About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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14 Responses to Music Inspired Post: Taking the Risk

  1. Jenny Frye says:

    I’m so sorry for your struggles. This blog was very interesting and I wish you the best with all your other writings. I’ve been a struggling writer for years. I started writing my book back in 2019 but too many life events like health problems, family issues, personal life issues, and lack of self-confidence, have stood in the way of my writing. I’m trying to get back into writing and eventually will get back into the swing of things. I have written 7 chapters so far of my life story, hoping to inspire others and to help these victims feel less alone. But for some reason I have writer’s block and cannot for the life of me, come up with a Chapter 8. Best of luck to you✨😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck on writing your life story. I’ve never tried that, so I don’t know how one can get over such a block. Even with a simple bio, I have to look at pictures from the past to think of things to mention.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenny Frye says:

        Well that’s a good thought🤔 thank you for that suggestion. I have had one idea that’s been ruminating around in my head for chapter 8 but have yet to put it into words. I’ve been pondering on it for awhile. I hope to eventually put it into words. Hoping to inspire others who have also fought the struggle or who are currently fighting the struggle. Maybe something in that chapter will help them by how I overcame such odds.


      • You’re welcome. Sounds like a difficult challenge, so I really hope you keep going. Especially if it’s going to help others.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. L. Marie says:

    Sorry this is long. A very poignant post, Charles. I’ve enjoyed the experiment. The song choice seems very apt. I hear you on that ending quote. I have quit writing so many times based on doubts that piled up after negative feedback (an editor holding on to manuscript for a solid year, knowing that a month after she read it that she would reject it, thus giving me eleven months of false hope; agents who said no or nothing or varying degrees of “this sucks”; well-meaning family who told me I wouldn’t make it as a writer). So many people I know are facing this battle to keep going.

    As for your craft book, who better to talk about writing fantasy than someone who has published so many fantasy books? But I get the fear about sales and the fickle opinions of people—especially those who easily give opinions on books they would never write themselves. When I think about your decision to publish again, I think of “This Spark in You,” a scene between Miles and his dad in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I don’t dare put a link to it, because my comment would probably go to spam. Miles was at his lowest ebb. He couldn’t even respond to his dad. But I love what his dad said about the spark in Miles. I was listening to the soundtrack, which has the music for that scene.


  3. I have to admire that you continue to publish. I think it is the right thing to do.


  4. I go through my own cycles, and I’m sure we all do. You explained it all so well. We do this even though we all have struggles. We’re all different and face different things, but there is a similarity. I gave up completely on sales and the ability to reach a large audience. It was kind of freeing. I found myself enjoying the writing process more. This became fun once more. I still look over my shoulder at cancel culture and all the other bullshit the world comes up with, but I’m having fun doing this. What a concept, right? I still publish. I have fans that would be disappointed if I didn’t, and if they enjoy the stories that might just be enough for me. Well done with this post.


    • I’m still finding it hard to give up on sales entirely. If nobody is reading my books, I feel I’m not really achieving anything. The desire to entertain others and provide some escapism was always a key reason to for me to write. So, I’m not really able to shed the desire without losing a sense of purpose.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are brave to speak out so well. All of us face this at times, but it’s never easy. Maybe you’ve had so many people telling you that only sales matter, or that you’re wasting your time. So cruel, but it’s hard to push through all that.

    I think like Craig said, for us indy writers, the art itself has to be our goal. For fun, relaxation, expression of our emotions. Life isn’t always wacky fun. Maybe you need to give yourself permission to write about some of your struggles in a fictional lens?


    • People have suggested I write about my struggles in fiction, but that’s not what I write about. Those kinds of stories wouldn’t come out very well. In fact, I’m sure they would be depressing and devoid of any emotions beyond sadness. It isn’t even a permission thing too. My stories are always action adventure fantasies. Yes, the characters face hardships and push through, but that’s really where it ends.

      Liked by 1 person

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