What are my goals in writing?
- Write every day
- Publish often
- Create/obtain good covers
- Create/obtain enticing blurbs
What are the challenges?
- Fear of failure
- Dislike of outlining and planning
- Family-related issues on my mind
- Many other time commitments & activities
Waking up at 5:00 AM and starting to write will probably work, if I can only make myself do it. Instead I seem to focus on everything else available to my mind, promising myself that I will somehow magically get to the writing later. By the time “later” arrives, I’m pretty damn busy with other efforts.
It’s not enough to simply say that I need to start writing in the morning. I know that already. I even do it, sometimes. Would it help to have a small, simple goal? Something like writing 100 words, total, and declaring those to be a success? Maybe. The challenge I see in that is my disbelief in the significance of small amounts of work.
I know I can complete projects when I dive into them. I also know that small steady efforts over time, while theoretically useful, tend to get interrupted in practice. I could probably check into a hotel room for a week and complete a novel in that time. In two weeks? Certainly. But can I complete a novel in an hour a day, in any time frame whatsoever? I have trouble believing in the concept. Yet I simply will not, in the foreseeable future, be able to dedicate large chunks of time to writing fiction. Conundrum. Ish.
On the bright side, I don’t really have lofty goals or aspirations regarding amounts of money or the number of readers a given work might attract. Yes, sure, it would be cool to make more money. But we do lots of things around here to make money, and I wouldn’t necessarily want to stop any of them based on any level of writing income.
This would all make more sense, as a problem, if I didn’t enjoy writing fiction. I do, though. I guess I don’t enjoy putting strictures around it…also, trying to force myself to write without believing either (a) that I will have uninterrupted writing time, or (b) that I will manage to continue writing in this bit-at-a-time fashion over days/weeks/years, is damn difficult. Given (see below) that (c) I also don’t believe the stories will be read by many people, at least in the short term…well, it’s tough. Sort of.
Talk about first-world problems. I don’t even respect this as an issue. Maybe I should? Or maybe taking it seriously is the fucking problem?
Frankly I have no idea. This morning’s work didn’t work out either. So I wrote this, mostly talking to myself, and decided partway through to post it. So I will.
Here’s the other thing. I’ve been trying all month to write short stories. But I don’t believe people will read them. Maybe five readers apiece? Total? Unless I submit them to magazines and such, and I sort of quail at the amount of work/hassle/time that involves. I don’t like that part of the business at all.
I published my most recent novel and it’s had perhaps fifty readers to date. OTOH my first novel has been downloaded, at least, more than thirty thousand times (note the 22 reviews currently on Amazon, and consider the reader-to-reviewer ratio, if you find such things interesting). It sold more copies than my latest book in its first post-release weekend back in 2012. Since the most recent book was a sequel to the first, I have to conclude that I need to improve my storytelling skills–that, or I was right originally when I didn’t think the first book needed a sequel at all. Others disagreed with me, and convinced me to write the damn thing…but they don’t appear to have purchased the sequel. Oh well; lesson learned. Except that now I really want to write the third book in the series…
Anyway. I’ve published several stories that have been read by perhaps five people–not counting readers of the story collections, of which there are more, or freebie downloads. But as for outright purchases of the stories, not counting freebies? Probably an average of five apiece. I had some pretty good success with The Secret, though, on the new-novel front…I mean, I clearly beat minimum wage on that one. And I think it might do pretty well again, if I spark some interest with a significant new release. Actually? When The Secret came out, all my books sold pretty well for a couple of months.
But I really, truly don’t believe people will buy and read my short fiction. If they ever do, it will (in my mind) be because readers found a novel or two that they liked, and then decided to read the rest of my stuff. So writing the short fiction now seems counterproductive, since I don’t have the novel-count I think I need.. Even though I (sort of) love writing short stories. I guess I loved writing ’em when people read ’em on my blog. But that was a while ago.
So screw it, I guess. Maybe I should focus on the writing I think people will read. I keep thinking that, though, and then I think that I should at least finish the stories I’ve already started…and then I freeze up. Stupid. Right? But I like the stories. I really do.
Maybe I’ll start writing now. Fiction, I mean. I guess it could happen. Somehow.
Either way, I hope you guys are having fun out there.