So, some of you who’ve been here before are aware that I haven’t been doing any writing in a few years, and have sidelined my book sales until/unless I can find a workable way to promote them and get some significant sales happening. And so I’ve been for the past few years, and mostly okay with it.
But now… the unthinkable has happened.
I want to write.
I’m in a position I haven’t been in for quite some time, wherein I have an idea that I think might even be good. In the last three years I’ve made sure good ideas that blossomed in my brain received absolutely no watering or tending, so they’d die on their own. But this one grew anyway, much like a weed. I have some really basic preliminary concepts together, and I’m considering fleshing them out until I have the makings of a novel to write. And the part of me that enjoyed the process of developing and writing a novel wants me to go for it. That side of me figures I’ve stayed out of writing long enough, and it’s time to get back on the horse and gallop.
Problem is, the practical side of me is still standing there like an immovable object, saying: “Not so fast. Did it really take you only three years to forget about all the work you did on thirteen books that got no traction at all? Do you really want to start up that colossal no-profit time-waster again? Wouldn’t you rather go learn carpentry or paint your house or something?”
So I’m mentally standing here, considering whether I should push practical me aside… or if I should go find some paintbrushes instead.
So many writers I either know, or have heard speak, like to say that when you have the writing bug, you must obey it, no matter what. They encourage people to just write, even if they really can’t write worth a damn, because what’s most important is the actual process of writing, the satisfying of your muse, and the story holes can be fixed (by you or an editor) later. They also tend to imply that if you don’t or won’t just write when the muse strikes, then you’re not really a writer, are you?
Part of me just laughs at this… as if there is really only one kind of writer… as if there aren’t any number of professional writers, including best-selling writers, who wouldn’t give it all up and find a job at the local university or hardware store if they knew that they’d never make another dime from writing. As if there are no amateur writers who have walked away in the middle of a chapter, because it was time to go earn a real living to pay their mortgage or buy their child’s shoes. But part of me gets a bit incensed at the attitude, the suggestion that writers are somehow extra-special, artistic giants among men, something that I have to measure up against, and will surely be found coming up short.
And all of me wonders whether it’s worth the trouble to do all that work, only to see single-digit-per-year sales. And be assured, at this point every moment I work on a book is accompanied by a voice in the back of my head, whispering: “No one will read this, stupid. No one.” Seriously. I listened to that voice during the entire production of my last three books. I’m kinda sick of that voice. Which makes me wonder whether I’m better off with the paintbrushes than I am in this hoi-polloi fraternity of Writers for Nothing.
So you know, I’m not looking for any kind of an answer from anyone who’s reading this; ultimately, I will either do it or not, but it won’t be because of something thrown into the comments section to inspire or devastate me (too late—nyah). I just felt like unloading a bit, mainly so people will hear from the other kind of writer… the kind who is loathe to waste his time.
I now have new priorities for my time, which dictate that I put off any writing projects for the foreseeable future. I have re-released my existing novels, to see if I can generate some additional income (an insane longshot, but I need all I can get), but I may keep taking notes for the future. Just as well: Right now I don’t need the additional frustration.