Monday Blues

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.

________

11406907_398310477022712_4506926952924933920_nNo 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. 

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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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19 Responses to Monday Blues

  1. Oh, Fen, I wish I had more time this morning because I sure understand this post. As a newbie writer, the most disillusioning part about the experience has been the invisible pressure to start cranking out books. Nuh-uh. That takes ALL the fun out of it for me and it’s a huge reason I’ve lost the desire to write anything. Ideas? Yep. Got lots of ’em, but if it means tons of pressure because I put them on ‘paper’, then, no. Is that a pressure we just put on ourselves to keep up with everyone else though? Maybe. Maybe it’s not meant to be your “job”. Write for the joy of it and publish when you’re ready. I, for one, will still snatch up every word you put out here and I know I’m not alone.

    • You totally get it. Why am I not surprised? 🙂

      Thanks for the support and encouraging words. The thing is there are lots of people able to write full time, and so cranking out a book every four to six weeks isn’t unheard of for them. But I work nearly full time, and it just won’t work for me. I have to accept that and stay focused on the joy of writing rather than a big royalty check every month.

  2. Patricia says:

    Hello. Could it be a touch of homesickness? Watch a movie full of swirling autumn leaves and get a bit of it out of your system. I love your writing and wouldn’t like to see you stop. Acceptance of a new home joyfully doesn’t mean you can’t always long for the old home a bit and it can give you the blues.

    • I often think of the back roads in Wisconsin. I miss them. I can visualize them in my mind as clearly as if I was still there, riding the scooter with music in my ears.

      My one regret? That I didn’t realize there were dash cams available then; I would have recorded every one of my rides to relive later.

  3. Pingback: No Flash Fic | Brigham Vaughn

  4. Helena Stone says:

    I like writing. No. Let me rephrase that, I love writing. And because I love it I am not putting myself under any pressure to do a certain amount of it every day/week/month/year. I didn’t start writing because I was looking for a new career, and I’m fortunate to have a job I love, which is also part-time enough for me to write when I want to without my life getting too stressful. For me writing is a hobby which, if I’m lucky, might pay for a nice night out by the end of the year. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m fairly certain the moment I start putting expectations and deadlines on my own writing, will also be the moment I’ll end up resenting it some, if not all, of the time.

    You are right. There’s an awful lot of rubbish available these days, and what’s more, a lot of what I would consider less than stellar writing seems to be selling like hotcakes, while good written and well edited books often fall by the wayside. I have one or two theories about that, which I won’t go into here, but it can be quite disheartening. Like Jaycee, I’ll always read your words, whether they come to me every two months or once every two years. All I want for you is to do what brings you most happiness and the least stress. Only you can judge what that is, and I’ll be supporting you all the way.

  5. I’m back! As for your ending…maybe your story isn’t ready to be ended yet or the direction that seems ‘so clear’ to you is not really the direction your story wants to go in. Just sayin’… 😀

  6. AND…I waited seven years between books by Jean Auel. She’s still one of my favorite writers.

  7. diannegray says:

    I’ve been in that ‘no-writing’ funk for a few years now. I think the reason is I need to be passionate about my writing and get back to the reason I started writing in the first place. Once I start thinking about ‘audience’ I lose the magic. I know I’ll get back into it again in my own good time. I’m sure the feelings will pass for you and you’ll get right back into it again. In the meantime, give yourself a break and recharge the batteries xxxx

  8. Sara says:

    I will always look forward to your next book. When that day arrives – yay! That’s the day I can leave my work behind and have an adventure. I am so glad that you enjoy writing! 🙂

  9. A.M.B. says:

    I hope you’re feeling better now (I’m a bit late to this post)! There certainly are a lot of self-published books out there now. I’ve never chosen a book because I saw it on Amazon. I choose books based on something else that catches my eye: the author’s blog or a review. For me, that’s what distinguishes the wheat from the chaff.

    • I buy books mostly based on recommendations from people I trust. Sometimes I stumble across something on my own, but that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.

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