A Passionless Marriage

It’s funny. A few days ago, I was getting ready to write a post about how I’m not quitting writing. But, now, I’m unsure again. No, scratch that. I am not quitting. Not right now at least.

But it’s starting to feel like it’s all work and no play. I don’t mind work, and I expect writing to feel like work some of the time, but I’m starting to dread it.

I’m not excited about my projects anymore. They feel like time and energy sucks instead of artistic fulfillment.

I guess a side effect of trying to make money off of something is that it becomes work.

But let me back up.

I wrote a book. I didn’t have much of a plan when I wrote it. I wanted to try out this whole novel thing. I did a little research and learned that romance is a popular genre. And, hey, I always write romanceish screenplays, so why not a romanceish book? And why not a sexy book too? I’m always taking stuff out of my scripts because it’s too sexy.

Then, I did a little more research, and I bought a cover and paid and editor and I published the book as the start of a trilogy. I failed at some marketing stuff, and I totally failed to move any copies.

Apparently, this is normal for most. But it’s still depressing.

You’ll notice that I failed to accomplish a critical step in this process–to properly understand the genre. I never read romance until I got the idea to write this book, and I only read a dozen or so books. Certainly not enough to give me a feel for what the readers want.

And, well, the thing is… I might hate what the readers want. It’s mostly alpha males and billionaires (no, really, it is) and I fucking hate alpha males. Just. No.

No, no, no.

And, now that I’m finally doing some proper research, I’m realizing exactly what this book publishing endeavour might entail. I’ll need to publish 3-4 books a year, in a series, that really cater to reader’s expectations. A breakneck pace that would surely leave no room for screenwriting (not that I’m particularly excited to do that either).

No room for enjoyment really.

I get so caught up in making these writing and publishing plans. My ambition skyrockets. Then, it all crashes around me and I have to ask myself–would I actually enjoy this life?

And, at this point, I just don’t know.

Maybe I’m just in the downward part of the swing, but I’m starting to feel like it’s just not worth it. It’s too many compromises.

Yes, I want to be a writer. And, yes, I’m willing to mold what I write to some degree in order to appease whoever…

But sometimes I get the distinct sense I’d have more luck if I tossed my integrity out the window and just copied what’s popular.

And that’s depressing.

Or maybe I’m just depressed and nothing would really stimulate me.

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2 thoughts on “A Passionless Marriage

  1. I’m editing a screenplay this very moment. Or procrastinating from it. I’ve named this version the “exposition draft” because it has entirely more exposition than I ever sought out to include. And, the only reason this draft exits is because of a reader or two, who, ironically, I feel skimmed the screenplay. I”m at a scene on page 20 and now that there’s so much exposition beforehand, this scene’s purpose changes. I’m staring at a bit of exposition. It used to be important. Not so much anymore. I don’t know. It’s a ripple effect…

  2. I have a writing friend who once told me that she’d never want to making writing her career, because then it would become work. I understood her, but I’ve never agreed with her. We may choose to make writing our life’s pursuit, but that doesn’t mean we need to change how we experience the process of writing.
    Understanding your market is important, of course. But selling out, as you wonder, is not going to fix anything. It certainly won’t enable you to enjoy writing more. There are more than enough genres and niches and audiences out there that you will find one that fits your needs and tastes as a writer. I write fantasy, but it’s atypical fantasy. Not an easy sell, but I’m not terribly worried.
    And you don’t need to worry about that, either. In film school, they taught us two different, seemingly oxymoronic ideals: prepare yourself to write shit in order to make a living, and write what you know. I take that second ideal to also mean to write what you love. It’s usually your best work.

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