I haven’t posted here in a while. Partly because I don’t have anything new to share – I don’t have any new publication dates or anything set to be released in the near future. But also, because I’ve been contemplating where I’m at with my fiction work, and how to push through to that next stage.
Also, I’ve been writing. I’ve written three new novel manuscripts in the last two years, along with a screenplay, a YA novel manuscript and I’m currently working on a series for younger readers, aimed at my nine year-old son. I have a set writing routine, I’m able to commit time to doing it, and I want to make sure I use that capacity while it lasts. You never know when life changes might take your writing time away, so once you have it, you need to keep going.
And in some ways it’s freeing, being able to work on the projects I want to, dedicating the time to editing and reworking and getting them to a presentable state. But also, not having another deal locked in is scary.
I commit a lot of time and effort to writing, and will do so as long as I can, but it’s difficult to tell, in the current market, whether my ideas will make it. I remain confident that they will, eventually. But publishers’ budgets are getting tighter, and reader interests are, at least seemingly, narrowing in. I believe in my work – but will it actually work in the current environment? Can I find an audience and deliver for my publisher, solidifying my career?
And then there’s the more philosophical question – does that even matter?
I mean, I’ll always write, whether for thousands of readers or none, I’ll always come up with stories and ideas that I want to explore and flesh out. And in some ways, that’s probably enough – but then again, there are bills to pay, and the time I spend writing I could spend doing something more directly tied to income.
For the vast majority of writers, fiction doesn’t pay much, and most authors wouldn’t be doing it for the money – cause they could make more elsewhere. But it’s still a consideration, it’s important on some level.
But where do you draw the line – how much time is too much to be allocating to a task with indeterminate return? I’m sure this is a dilemma that all writers face – and again, I know that I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep doing what I love, keep working to improve. But the questions of promotion, of raising awareness, of how you go about boosting your profile, how you make money – while also matching that with, you know, actually doing the work itself, is always difficult.
There are government funding options to consider, of course, but those too are in increasingly limited supply. And also, I don’t need them as such. I work full-time, I can pay the bills. I would generally rather leave those options to writers more in need – because they’re likely the voices that we really need to nurture in order to broaden our perspectives. But maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it.
Essentially, I haven’t posted anything here in a while because I’m waiting. For the next big announcement, the next step. And I’m not exactly sure what that is just yet.
So I’m working. I’m writing every day, refining my sentences, filling in my plot holes, tightening up my language. Improving where I can.
But I guess, aside from wanting to provide some sort of update, I also wanted to share that the process is hard, for everyone, and no one has all the answers. Even two books in, I still have periods of total self doubt. But I always come back to why I write.
Is it to make money? No, though that would be ideal. Is it to build a profile and chase some sort of literary ‘fame’? No, not at all.
I write because it’s what I love to do, and if I can somehow fund that work though publication, while also connecting with an audience, that’s the ideal.
But will I keep writing anyway, if that doesn’t eventuate? Sure. I mean, it’s what I do.
And the more you practice, the better you get.
Note: I was partly reminded/inspired to get back to my blog by this post from author Matt Davies, which all authors and prospective writers should read.