I am late for this week’s post, but it’s over. At least most of it is. The last two posts I made were about my going through a bout of depression that was zapping what little energy I would have had to work on my writing. The last few days have been the first days in some time that I woke up feeling that I was going to be able to face my day. Although, it’s pretty fucking cold here in Chicago, so there’re other reasons I may not want to face my day. My motivation has waned as each day goes on, though less each day. Things are getting progressively better. I am getting back up.
I feel as though I will be able to write again.
What to do next though is the real question. What should I do next?
To be clear, I am continuing to have a number of reservations on what I am working on in regard to my fiction projects. Or rather, I am not sure how I want to proceed. This large break in time, this large swath of days, weeks, months, that I continued a downward spiral of non-action for one reason or another, has left me questioning more and more of what I’ve done in my writing life to this point.
Do I wish to continue Gravity? Am I going the right direction in Agnes Pyle? With five projects in the waiting and my WIP for book two of Agnes nearing 80,000 words, it becomes daunting to think about what I want.
What I want to truly know is what to do to make my writing my career rather than only a hobby (or an obsession that I can only treat as a hobby).
I am a believer in facing facts when dealing with a problem, and if one isn’t willing to look at facts, then they must not be overly concerned with solving the problem. I am (or have been) said person who ignores a lot, hoping on a pipe-dream that by some miracle I will be “discovered,” meaning that my books will start selling… all this with little effort on my end. It isn’t the case. And with only 8 titles available, the last a short story published last year and the next oldest a novel put up back in 2016, I’ve been kidding myself that I am making any progress.
Admitting that one has a problem is the first step. So far, it’s been the only step that I’ve taken. Sortof…
In reality, I’ve admitted to my problems in a way that appears to be more a way of excusing my poor performance. It’s excusing me from trying. “Well I have social anxiety, so selling my books isn’t going to work out…”
“Well, I occasionally get depressed, so it’s alright that I don’t try to write or work on anything…”
“Well, no one wants to follow me on social media, so it’s OK that I don’t have activity on there…”
There’s plenty more excuses where they came from. Coming out of this latest long-term fog I’ve learned that it has all been my own doing. This has almost forced me to start taking stock in who I am, then making a plan to work around that. I want to write? I want to be a writer? Then dammit! WORK AT IT!
I am like the person wishing to lose weight and talks all day long about the things that needs to get done, understands them, preaches them, only to have cookies for dinner, neglect working out, and then making excuses why. (Only in this case my “losing weight” really means: forging a successful writing career.)
Only by some convoluted miracle I’ve remained in a state of “trying” to be a writer for so long. But viewing things like my depression and anxiety as barriers rather than only obstacles has hindered my ability to grow. I talk about it a lot; I talk about working through these things, yet after the blogs go up, I pretend that it was all I had to do.
I admitted I have a problem (or lots of problems), now do I want to fix them or use them as excuses?
This is the part about my getting back up (not that I was ever truly standing). I need to stop the excuses.
Writing is one of those weird “hobbies” that can legitimately bring a viable living to someone if they are willing to hustle. The fact is that most writers, as do I, have to support their lifestyle via other means. In other words: we need full-time jobs. In many ways for me, this has been the kiss of death for my writing. I’ve consigned myself to the fact that my salary from my day-job is too valuable, or rather, another excuse to half-ass my claims at attempting to make my writing career that viable living I just spoke of.
Will I do it? Who knows? The fact is, there isn’t a single soul in this world who can make me a success other than me. I have to be willing to put the work in, and so far, I haven’t. I’ve talked about it. I’ve even went on to write a crap-ton last year. Yet, it isn’t the right work. It isn’t helping to change me, to make me better. It’s about time I start putting in those small changes every day to make it work.