Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why am I here?

I guess I’ve always written. Sort of. I’ve never felt particularly driven to write, or at least if I was, I never identified the feeling. In junior high I wrote what would later come to be called fan-fic, following the lives of my favorite YA characters into adulthood, but I never showed them to anyone. In my college years and for a long time thereafter, I sublimated the urge with role-playing games. My characters always had the most elaborate backgrounds. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I decided to really give writing a shot. There have been times since then that I’ve almost pitched thee whole thing in—sometimes seriously, sometimes just because I’m feeling rotten, but so far, at least, I’ve always convinced myself to keep going.

But why? It’s a truly miserable business in a lot of ways. I’m not a thick-skinned individual, so bad reviews and rejections hit me hard. Very recently it was a month of really poor sales that had me questioning my worth as an author. If nobody is buying my books, then what’s the point of driving myself insane trying to write them? Well there are several answers to that, the most obvious of which, is, “lady you were already insane, so it wasn’t much of a drive.” True. Very true. The next is that even if sales aren’t where I, (and my publisher) would like them, at least they aren’t at zero. That means somebody did buy it—or them, actually. So more people read my books than would have if I’d kept them locked up in my head.

There are days when it would be easier to stick red-hot spikes into your eyeballs than to get the words to flow. Other days they tumble out faster than your fingers can keep up.And if I’m sick or really depressed, it’s very difficult to write at all. Those, I tell myself, are good days for promotion. When I get really down about writing, my husband, who is marvelous, reminds me that many, many people walk through their lives saying that some day they will write a book. That’s an accomplishment people dream about, plan for, and many, ultimately, never accomplish. I’ve done it, he reminds me. Even that first awful manuscript that no one but the dust bunnies will ever see, is, in fact, a completed book. That’s a huge accomplishment all by itself. And not only did I write a book, and finish it, I wrote more. And those books, I actually sold. Some total stranger has plunked down hard-earned cash to read the demented ramblings of my strangely-wired brain. If you look at it that way, instead of in terms of numbers, it’s actually pretty damn cool.

Also there’s the fact that I often don’t bother getting dressed until lunchtime. That doesn’t suck either.

6 comments:

  1. Hah! I'm one of those strangers that plunked down good money to buy your books!

    And I'm pretty picky about whose books I buy. So I expect something new to buy soon... right???

    Hang in there!

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  2. Excellent post, Cindy. There are many times when the whole business side of writing is overwhelming enough to make us want to quit. I'm glad you're sticking it out. :D

    Most days, I don't get dressed before lunchtime either, lol. It rocks. I've held conference calls with CEOs (for my day job)for major projects, sitting in my housepants with my bare feet propped up on the edge of my desk. :D It just doesn't get much better for an "office" environment. :D

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  3. Ahhhh, yesssss. Lordy, I love my jammies. I'm right there with you guys on that one. I think there are just lots of highs and lows in this business. Like you, I'm a little eensy bit thin-skinned and there are days I think...why the hell do I DO THIS???? On the days when I can't write...just CAN'T, I'll do promo. SOmetimes just shifting gears works wonders.

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  4. That is the bane of being a writer, who are almost always sensitive beings... which is such a paradox since sensitivity is so much an evil necessity for being a good author...

    The fear of failure cripples us & many good authors have not been able to flower, but have died remaining only seeds....

    I am glad you were able to take the jump & discovered success reaching out its hand to you...

    Cindy, I have written a book review for your co blogger James on my blog. It would be such a delight if you come and check it out and leave your precious opinion there.

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  5. On my way, Mona. And Anny, just one more week until "Always a Cowboy" releases at The Wild Rose Press."

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