Where's My Writing Been This Year?

So recently, I read a post by a writing acquaintance. She was a self-published author but she's one of the few self-published authors who got picked up by a publisher and now her series is being reissued in trade. She was talking about how she couldn't keep up with the quick release dates necessary for self-publishing success and how having a publisher means more distribution for her work. Which is great! I'm so happy for her!

But it made me think about what and where I've been with my writing, because if I thought I was unfocused last year, then this year's been worse. Granted, until I quit one of my jobs in September, I was exhausted and working bizarre hours and stressed out and depressed, which is not a good recipe for being creative, at least for me.

I've written and finished two short stories this year--one is in my files, waiting for a home, and the other entered into a contest. I'm tinkering with a third short story. I have the half-written, half-organized creative non-fiction project on my computer, though I'm not sure if I'll ever go back to that. I have the beginnings of a contemporary romance, one of my Broadway romance stories. I have plot bunnies.

I'm...not terribly interested in actually writing any of them, though. And that's fine. Writers go through cycles and phases and inspiration and wanting to hibernate and read rather than write. Maybe it's time to fill the inspiration cup rather than piece it together in a creative piece.

I've had the inkling for a few years now that as much as I dream of being a full-time author, I'm probably not actually cut out for that, at least not now. I've enjoyed self-publishing the little bit that I've done, but I'm a slow writer even when the writing's flowing, so "success"--whatever your definition of that is--is unlikely to catch me as a self-published author. And whatever, that's fine. I'll be thrilled when I actually finish an entire novel and self-publish that dang thing.

But I can't write and release a book every three months. And though I'd LOVE to be agented and published by a publisher, that's a fucking crapshoot and it comes with its own set of pressures and expectations.

So as usual, here I am going against received writing wisdom: I'm not writing everyday, I'm writing when I feel inspired to. I'm not writing for a daily word count or daily page count or writing for a specified amount of time each other; I'm writing for as long as I feel like writing, pausing and changing and mulling over where the characters can and should go next in their story. I'm trying not to obsess over story structure or the plot too much and just letting the characters lead me around their world. Because getting back to the basics of "I'm creating this character and they're doing things in a world I'm making up and omg, wouldn't that be cool if I wrote that into this story" is the magical bean of storywriting.

And maybe that sounds like creative writing is more of a hobby at the moment than a "serious" attempt at crafting a fictional story, but if that's what it is and that's what I can manage right now, then so be it.

Millennials are known for monetizing every hobby and interest we have because we've come of age in this recession-induced gig economy. I will finish a longer piece of writing that I'm mildly satisfied with again, at some point. And I'll probably decide to self-publish it because I'm impatient and the publishing industry takes too damn long. And maybe some people will buy it and review it and tell their friends. That'd be cool.

I mean, it'd also be cool if a few hundred people bought it and liked it and reviewed it and then told a few hundred of their friends and so on...

So clearly, my thoughts of world domination via story aren't completely gone :-)

Comments

  1. "[being] agented and published by a publisher ... comes with its own set of pressures and expectations." So very true.

    You know yourself better than anyone. Do what makes you happy.

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  2. Magical beans. ^_^

    I understand how people can get a book out once a season, but I'm unable to do that. I can't write, edit, and get feedback and an editor and edit again fast enough. I'm sure several of them are ahead of themselves in some way, but I haven't been able to get ahead of myself yet.

    Stress is not a breeding ground for creativity, that's for sure. It's an anti-breeding ground. :P And you know I understand wip problems. I was lucky that everything published so far has either been relatively easy to write or done way before I needed them to be done, but I'm not in that position now.

    Things never stay the same, but for now, definitely nothing wrong with taking all the time you need. I have a writing friend who published a book in late 2014, and book two is due to come out next summer. We all work at our own pace.

    There's an author I love who is traditional published for her YA fantasy books, but self-published for her NA paranormal books. She wrote a post about why it was the best decision to do that - how publishers need things to fit in a box and that didn't, which I found really relatable. It's nice to be writing in an age where are there hybrid paths.

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  3. Both self-published and traditional-published have their positives and negatives. But either way, don't stress yourself out. I can't imagine most writers write every day. How stressful would that be, considering some day's chaos or even our own mood swings? Do what is best for you. Good writing can't come from a writer who isn't enjoying what they're doing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, ladies--some of this feeling is PMS-induced and the rest of it "it's dark, it's cold, it's winter"-induced.

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