The end of an era beckons...
The air tonight has the bite of frost in it, so I am curled by the fire with my laptop and a home-made Pumpkin Spice latte (made with Baileys Pumpkin Spice) which is delicious. December has begun and with it the thrill of anticipation of a new year to come. My birthday was just over a week ago and so this time of year always feels like a fresh start to me as my solar year begins anew.
It is an exciting time and a new future glimmers on the horizon of my life. Over the course of this year I have been reassessing my writing work, pondering on where I want to take it and I have come to the conclusion that I am actually in the process of switching genres. This has been happening so gradually I hadn't really noticed, yet now it has come to the point where I need to make the final leap, once and for all and become more of a mainstream self-help and psychotherapy writer.
There are several reasons for this. First of all it feels like a natural progression of my work and it is something I have been working towards with my night classes for the past three and a half years.
Secondly the Mind, Body, Spirit market is not what it was when I first started out in the late 1990's when it was a huge upcoming trend. It hasn't weathered the financial crash that well; some magazines have folded, others are fast losing readers and struggling to stay afloat, publishing houses have closed down their MBS imprints completely. Budgets are now so tight that there is little room for freelancer fees and the market on the whole has shrunk to the size of a pin head.
A big part of being a writer is keeping an eye on the market and I noticed this shrinkage beginning some years ago, which is why I started psychotherapy training. It was obvious that the MBS genre was starting to sink - bookshops no longer house the large MBS sections that they used to have on display and while I am sure the genre will recover in time, I couldn't sit back and wait for that to happen. I needed to branch out and I have successfully published my first psychotherapy pieces this year.
It is impossible to move forward into your future if you are clinging on to the past. Part of reinventing yourself is letting go of what no longer serves you best. For me this means letting go of my regular witchcraft column with Spirit&Destiny magazine, and while I might still write magical features on a freelance basis for other magazines, on the whole I feel that my work on Wicca has come to an end. I have been writing about witchcraft for 20 years! I have published books, features, columns, home-study courses and music, all on a witchcraft theme. I have been Spirit&Destiny's highest paid keystone columnist for well over 8 years so I've had a great run with them, and with witchcraft as my topic...I am rather bored of it now though.
Also it is impossible to maintain ones Unique Selling Point as a columnist when another writer is blatantly emulating one's entire format, within the pages of the same publication! It has been irritating, saps away enthusiasm and I have thought of leaving the magazine a couple of times in recent years, but then part of being a trend-setting best-selling author is that other writers will try to follow in your footsteps. Still I am moving onto a new topic of expertise and a new genre now, so it hardly matters, because anyone wanting to follow in my psychotherapy writing footsteps will have to pay for and sign up to four years of training first, which is bound to be slightly off-putting!
Even a dream job has its downside and mostly I feel a sense of relief at leaving the column behind...No more full day photo-shoots to endure. No more urgent text required, for no fee, to help fill out a staffers feature. No more editor requests for my original ideas only to see those ideas written up by a staffer, leaving me a great idea down and not a penny up in payment! It's like that scene in Devil Wears Prada when Andy throws her phone into the fountain then breaths a sigh of relief to be free of it all - that's a bit how I feel too.
I feel ready to nurture my new psychotherapy and self-help topics and to keep publishing those instead, rather than witchcraft items. And although the team at S&D are not a fan of this change, my editors at Time Inc are supportive of this fresh topic so I will still be writing nonetheless and you can still read my work in your favourite magazines, with the exception of Spirit&Destiny - I finish with them in February 2017.
In addition I have the remainder of my final year of psychotherapy training to complete too, with essays to write over Christmas (and beyond!), so I will be busy with that. Once that course is completed next summer I am hoping to go on to do a Masters Degree in a year or so, in order to further my writing prospects.
You cannot become a butterfly without first going into the dark chrysalis, so while it might seem as if I am not doing much, I am actually working hard and pushing my writing career up to the next level. This is going to take time, so the blog might take a back seat for a while, but I will do my best to keep posting on progress! I know those readers who have followed my work for years are likely to stay with me through into a new genre and a new era, even if there are bumps in the road to come...for those who only want to read about witchcraft, I have left a large back catalogue of work for you to enjoy.
I will always be pagan, magic will always fill my life and will no doubt find its way into my blog posts and tweets, but I feel that my stint as a popular Media Witch, a Wiccan Icon as I was once dubbed, has come to a welcome end. A new era of writing beckons...I hope my readers are as excited by this as I am.