It's that time again. Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group. It's that time of month when those of us that have all sorts of insecurities about our craft, future, whatever, all get together and vent about how freaked out we are. The goal is to visit everyone who is part of the group and offer your best wishes or encouragement.
Man, I can write one of these posts about once a day. Last month I talked about. Damn. I have no idea what I talked about. But whatever it was, it was one of my insecurities. This month, I’ll talk about, well, another one. Or, maybe it’s the same one, since I can’t recall what I wrote last time, it’s hard to say.
Writing for me, the dream part anyway. Is that I’ll do it well enough so the people of this world will pay me to do it. It would be all I would need to do. Never have to work another job, just write my little stories and have folks eagerly hand over cash for the privilege of reading. I think it’s odd that I used to think writing, being a writer that is, was the equivalent of me becoming a theoretical physicist. It was something reserved for only the select, elite, and noblest members of society.
So, early in my twenties I started thinking that I wanted to be a writer. To write novels. I know most people have long since figured out whether or not they will write way before then. But not me. The funny thing though, once I made that decision, I figured I had to get permission before I could try. So I spent years, and I mean years, planning on writing as soon as I knew how – or got permission to. I recall during one of my many stints in college, this one somewhere around the time I was 30, talking to one of my professors, an author of several books, including novels, about wanting to be a writer. He said, “bring some of your work in and let me take a look.”
I didn’t understand, I said I wanted to be a writer - I didn’t say I was one.
Believe it or not, I was dumb enough to rush home, whip something up, and bring it back. Yep, I really did. I’m so embarrassed about it now. What makes it worse is that it was a scene about a college professor worrying about the sun exploding. Geez. I’m going to have to write him a letter and apologize for subjecting him to that. He was great though, he gave me a book on writing as a gift and encouraged me to continue.
And I did.
So, what did that have to do with anything? Well, it brings me back to that dream I was talking about. I’m afraid that the world of writing is going to leave me behind. Self-publishing seemed so cool to me a while back, but after a month where sales were really close to zero, I started to wonder if that was what I should expect to see if I'm not going to be constantly beating the bushes and screaming at folks to buy my stuff. Because, I don’t like doing that. I’m not a sales guy. I’ve been reading a lot from folks that are successful, and they all seem to spend quite a bit of time promoting themselves, they don’t talk as much about the story, the craft, it’s isn’t a creative endeavor for a lot of them. It’s a job. They talk about sales quotas and hitting targets.
|Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!|
I don’t think I’m one of those people. Some facets of it might be okay, but I don’t want everything I do online to be a business decision. I joined Goodreads to keep tabs on books I was reading, (and later, to see what people I know are reading) not to ‘network’ with potential readers, I am on twitter because it’s awesome, I don’t want to follow 1000 people because I hope they’ll follow me back so I can spam them with crap about buying my books.
If that’s the future, then I’m going to be left behind. It makes me sad, it makes me want to… well, I don’t know what. But it makes me doubt that dream I mentioned earlier will ever come true.