I’ve been in a funk the last few days, and I’m not sure why. All I know is it’s been difficult to write to the point where it feels like pulling teeth every time I struggle to get a sentence written. I’m very close to the end of the WIP–now named Half Moon House–and usually, I’m barreling toward those words, The End, at a full speed.
But not this time. I know where I want to go, the path is clear and unobstructed, yet I can’t seem to work up any enthusiasm.
The last title I released was published a couple days after Halloween, 2014. That was eight months ago, and it’s the longest stretch between titles I’ve ever experienced. The biggest reason for that was work: I had more editing and less time to myself than ever before. It’s a fact that editing takes a lot out of me, to the point where, at the end of a day doing it, the last thing I want is be creative and write.
It got to the point where I was questioning whether I wanted to write at all anymore. It’s no secret the publishing business has changed. Thanks to Amazon, writers are self-publishing more and more, to the point where it’s nearly impossible to distinguish good books from the bad and excruciatingly awful.
I’m on one of those mailing lists that sends out notifications for free kindle books. I get one every day. Each morning, I wade through the latest offerings, and I’m stunned. Nearly every cover looks professional and inviting (yup, that message got out there; have a good cover or else!). The blurbs… meh. Some are good, some are terrible, a lot of them need tighter editing. When one catches my eye, I “look inside.” That often saves me from downloading something not worth my time, because despite the pretty covers, there are still a lot of writers who don’t bother editing their work.
My point is there are almost too many books available now. The market is flooded, and I wonder why I bother adding to the pile. If it’s nearly impossible for me to find anything worth my time, why would anyone bother with my stories?
There is also the pressure to produce more in a shorter amount of time. “Release a book every four to six weeks, or you’re dead.” That’s the current mantra. “Publish or perish” once only applied to academics. Now it applies to every author.
You can imagine the guilt and extreme discomfort I’ve felt these last eight months because I haven’t put another title out there since the last one. At times I felt so awful, I couldn’t write at all. Instead of spurring me on to do more, it had the opposite effect. I wanted to write less, and so, between my work and that ever-present pressure, I’ve had long, unproductive stretches.
But the truth is I like to write. Even if no one reads my stuff, I need to tell the tale. And as I have to work to pay the bills, writing will necessarily take a backseat to it. “Retirement” didn’t exactly turn out as I’d hoped. 😉 After nearly six years, writing still isn’t my job, it’s a hobby; jobs bring in money, hobbies don’t. And, well, maybe I’m just not good enough. Oh, I know how to write, but my stories apparently don’t engage many readers. That was a hard thing to face. I’ve never not been good enough, and that realization was crushing.
I’m stepping off the carousel. If I can’t enjoy writing, I don’t see any point to doing it. I’ve decided to take my sweet time getting the next book out. If readers forget me in the meantime? Well, too bad for me, but I was starting to feel like a puppet on strings, bouncing up and down for the pleasure of others while sacrificing my own.
So that next book will be released, but I’m not forcing myself to adhere to anyone’s schedule but mine. I’m hoping to get it out in July, but if it takes until August, I’m good with that. And then I’m going to write another one; I already have the germ of an idea I can’t wait to explore. And then I’ll write another and another, and maybe few people will read them, but that’s okay as long as I’m having fun, ’cause that’s the most important thing to me: writing should be fun, and for a long time, it hasn’t been.
No flash fic today. I loved the photo, and I thought, “Oh, I can write something for that easy!” But I was working all week, then the blues hit, then I didn’t care anymore. You know how that goes. Plus he has a mustache. For some reason, that killed every idea I came up with. I think it’s a wonderful photo prompt, but I couldn’t think of anything worth pursuing, so I’m passing this week. Be sure to check out the offerings from others, though.