Sunday, September 22, 2013

To Be Honest With You...

...I've had a slightly difficult time writing, lately. Not writer's block, exactly. I kinda don't believe in writer's block, and besides, I don't ever get it. My problem is not coming up with an idea about what to write, most times, it's choosing between ideas. No, I've suffered from a slightly different problem, lately.

I kinda just...don't feel like writing. And because I get up every morning at 2:30 AM to write, when that alarm goes off and I don't feel like writing, at all...

I sorta roll over and go back to sleep.

Which I've done several times the past two weeks.

But I'm not overly worried. There are several factors playing into this. First of all, school just started back up two weeks ago. That's always draining, until I get into the swing of things. Second, I enjoyed an amazingly productive Spring/Summer. I finished off the collection, finished the second draft of Billy the Kid and sent it to beta readers, wrote three short stories and some flash fiction, and currently, I have two more short stories to be published in the next two months, the collection, a flash story and my serial novella were published just this last week, and I have three novellas sitting with BIG publishers right now...

So I'm kinda tired. A little drained. But also? I'm tired of something else, and I think I need to be honest about it.

I'm tired of writing 'on spec.' (on speculation). What that means is, most the stuff I write, I've got no publisher for. The story's in my head, I need to write it, so I do...with absolutely no guarantee it'll ever get published.

And...I'm sorta tired of it. Probably sounds spoiled and pretentious, but I really am tired of it. But when I mean tired, I don't mean disgusted or annoyed. I mean mentally and physically tired of it.

Here's something else to be honest about.  It may not seem like a big thing, but here it is, anyway: yes, I write for the love of writing, but also?

I just want people to read my stuff. That's why I write, too. Because I have stories to tell, and I want folks to read them. And honestly, I really wonder how many people ARE reading my stories. And...again, being honest...I think that's getting to me a little,  hurting my productivity. 

I'm writing on spec with no guarantee of  selling anything. I have no idea if anyone will ever read the stuff I'm writing. And, to be honest, I think it's wearing me down, a little.

In a recent interview Brian Keene said the following about writing:
Well, for anyone who is writing fiction or writing anything, really, their end goal and desire is to be read by others through publication. You’re not writing stories and then locking them away in a trunk. 
And the truth of that really hit me. Yes, I write because I love writing...but what if I never really gain an audience? What if no one really reads my stuff? What if I never develop relationships with quality publishers that will introduce me to readers? Will I keep writing, "just for the love of writing?" Even if no one is reading, and no one is really waiting to publish my work?


But probably not as much. Certainly not every day. And, sad as it is to say...maybe with not nearly as much passion. Because writing stories no one will ever read...

Well, c'mon. Let's be honest.

What's the point?

Which, of course, makes submitting to really small presses or self-publishing so tempting. But I won't go the first route. Because let's be honest - most small presses (especially the small, small presses and micro-presses) won't increase my readership one bit. They'll publish my novel, probably do a decent job with the editing and the cover, and that's about it. They won't expose me to any new readers.

On a side note, though: this gripe has NOTHING to do with Crystal Lake Publishing, the publisher of my collection. They've done an awesome job with the collection, which will be the focus of a companion blog in a few days entitled "Being Content In Spite of It All." Plus, considering the authors they're working with, they're definitely not a small, small, micro press.

Of course, I'm also not about to start self-publishing any time soon, either. Here's another snippet from Brian's interview that pretty much says why:
If you’re self-publishing, you have to create a business plan. You can’t just be the writer and write the book and throw it up there on Kindle or CreateSpace. You are your marketing department. You are your agent. You are designing your own ads. You are all of that. It’s a lot more involved than just writing the book...
And right now, I just don't have the time or start-up capital for that. (Not to mention the financial savvy). Not as a full-time teacher with two kids eight and under. I've got just enough time to write, and that's all. I've been thinking of self-publishing a few of the stories in the collection as an experiment, and to be honest, what little I've done there has been mind-boggling and exhausting, and those are short stories. I don't want to tangle with self-publishing a novel or novella, at ALL, right now. 

Of course, some of the more strident self-publishing aficionados will claim I'm just being a short-sighted, self-limiting moron by not self-publishing RIGHT NOW. But if I can't do it RIGHT, I'm not going to do it at all. 

So where does that leave me?

Tired. Tired and resting. No worries, though. If one of the two novellas I've been tinkering with  doesn't spark in the next week or so, I'll just dive back into Billy the Kid and edit, even though the beta readers haven't gotten back to me yet. It's always easier to edit something than write cold, and that book is so stinking big, it doesn't matter if the beta readers get back to me after I edit the whole thing. I'll still need their feedback.

But I'm not worried, or discontent. I'm just recharging my batteries, and as for being content, I'll write about that later this week. Until then...I'm gonna read something good. Charge those batteries back up for the next big run...