I've Got The Funk
So, ever since NaNoWriMo, I've had The Funk.
Some of that has been work-related funk (it's just VERY busy and stressy). Some of that has been funk-related funk (I've been sick since January). And some of that has been genuine writing-related funk.
It's not NaNoWriMo's fault. Far from it. I have long held that if you learn anything about yourself from NaNoWriMo, then it was a complete and utter success.
I learned a LOT about myself from NaNoWriMo, but not all of it was pretty and nice.
Doing the NaNoWriMo prep, I learned a lot about writing structure and outlining. I learned how much I love outlining, and I developed a great tool that I plan to hone and use on future projects.
During November, I learned that I cannot expect to have a full-time job, pay attention to my family and health, and still write to THAT extent.
Some folks can. I could if I re-arranged my priorities, but I'm not going to.
I also learned that I am not quite prepared for full-on novel writing just yet. Even in just the first 50k words, I found so many things that need extensive changes that I feel a greater-than-average temptation to toss it and start anew.
I know that's a normal reaction, and one that leads to doom if it's indulged too often, but the sensation that I missed the mark on this story is strong within me.
The other side of that is CHOOSE. I wrote the extra content for CHOOSE just before November, and I used my new outlining technique on it.
And you know what? I love it. It's rough around the edges and needs some revising/editing love, but I really feel like I nailed it. I wrote a story that was actually BETTER than the story I'd set out to write, and that's a great feeling.
The difference between CHOOSE and STAINED was that I felt like I lost control of STAINED while I was writing it but I never felt that way when writing CHOOSE.
The two most obvious reasons for that are length and familiarity.
I KNOW the characters for CHOOSE and the shorter length made it easier to control.
I was learning the characters for STAINED, which means I made some rookie mistakes. Additionally, the longer length made each mistake feel like it was piling up in mountains behind me that rivaled the mountains ahead of me not yet written.
Being a Writer
There are times I wonder whether I'm really not cut out for this writing thing.
Sometimes I read writer blogs and I wonder whether I really even WANT to be cut out for this writing thing.
"Don't quit your day job," they say. "You'll work for a year on a project, scramble to meet a due date, wait another year for it to be available in stores, and then you just watch the bad reviews start pouring in. Oh, and you didn't make enough money off it to cover the rent, so I hope you're working on three more ... while still holding down your other job and maybe even a family, if you have time."
Sometimes it seems like all but the rockstar authors out there are scrabbling for crumbs. I have to pause on the brink of that and ask if it's really what I want.
Because the answer is obvious. It's not what I want.
I don't want all that. I don't want book tours and contractual obligations and bad agents and slow publishers and wondering whether I'll be able to pay the bills this month and not being able to relax because I haven't gotten my word count in this week.
That, combined with my worries about my writing, snowballs into a great big nasty ball of FUNK.
What DO I Want?
I just want to write, and to write well enough that others read what I write and enjoy it.
If the publishing fairy is in a wand-waving mood, I'd like to be able to make enough money from that to feel like my occupation is my choice.
I want to remain passionate about writing and about sharing my writing with others.
That desire hasn't changed, even if the vehicle that I think will get me there keeps shifting.
As if that wasn't enough to mull over, that for every blog entry I find declaring the Death Of Publishing, I read one that says No, Publishing Isn't Dead yet, and I find myself wondering if I'm caught in the middle of a Monty Python skit.
The Facts : Publishing is in a state of flux and nobody can really 100% guarantee anything really.
EBooks are a big deal, folks. Add to that the changes in the publishing industry that began way back when slush piles became the domain of agents rather than publishers -- the truth is that things have to change.
Change doesn't mean things are going to be horrible on the other side, but it's a rough time to be in publishing, whether you're an author, agent, editor, publisher, printer, or anywhere in between.
It's difficult for me to pitch my hopes on that particular boat right now, but it's equally difficult for me to throw my lot in with the self-publishing crowd - the ones who make millions of dollars without the help of the publishing industry at all.
The rockstars of any industry are doing pretty well, it seems.
And Then There Was Me
I'm not a rockstar. Sure, I fantasize about becoming a rockstar, but so does everyone else.
So what's a non-rockstar writer to do?
Honestly? I don't know and I've been sick long enough that I kind of doubt the logic of any decision I might make right now.
My current writer vehicle is in the shop for repairs and the mechanic doesn't really know when it'll be done or how much it'll cost if I want to get it back on the roads.
Am I willing to pay the price?
Right now? I don't think so. That particular vehicle's been in and out of the shop since I got it.
I've got a couple other options I haven't fully explored yet. Sports cars aren't the only way to get to a destination.
Clearly, I still have a long ways to go to become comfortable enough writing a novel-length book.
I can do that by writing novel-length books that suck and editing them into submission until I finally get one that I am comfortable trying to submit ...
... OR I can practice on shorter-length stories. Things ranging between 10k and 50k in length, for example. They'll be faster to write and easier to edit.
I can put those shorter-length stories up for sale on Amazon and B&N for super cheap prices. Even pennies a month from those would be better than nothing at all while I struggle with a longer manuscript.
I'm still writing CHOOSE and (schedule permitting) SONG OF BINDING.
What have I got to lose?
At this point, nothing except a bit of pride. To mis-quote one of my favorite scenes from Krull, "And pride? Nah. It's an empty purse. Count it, go broke. Eat it, go hungry. Seek it, go mad!"
Back to You
Anyone else ever feel that way? Like you're cruising along down a road and suddenly you realize that you have no idea whether you actually want to reach your destination?
(It's possible it's just the theraflu and robitusson talking here.)