The Music or the Misery

I tend to blame writing as the source for all my problems–my jacked up neck and back, my constant self-doubt, my lack of ability to function in society–but I don’t think that’s fair.

Not exactly.

It’s true that I’m often frustrated because my writing career isn’t going the way I’d like. I am confused and lost and unsure of what to do. But that isn’t the cause of most of my unhappiness. Mostly, it comes out of nowhere (and sticks around). I push everything inside, totally incapable of expressing it to other people, trying so, so hard to seem together.

That has nothing to do with writing.

I’m too introspective and too guarded and too unable to relate to other people. I don’t say what I feel. I actively avoid conflict. I cut ties instead of telling people they’ve upset me.

I am terrified of asking anyone for help with anything.

And, sure, all of these traits mean writing appeals to me in particular. I get to work alone. I get an outlet to express myself. I get a safe place to explore conflict. (Which probably explains why I write such angsty shit when I’m writing first person).

Writing doesn’t cause my dysfunction. Dysfunction causes my writing.

I’m in a weird place right now. My tutoring hours are practically nil, and I want to work my way into a career. An actual career with progress, not this one day I’ll get an agent and magically transform into a screenwriter kind of career.

In two years time, give or take, I want to be making a living. A decent fucking living. And I want to feel like I have room to grow.

I’m ready to move on from screenwriting and focus only on books. But I have only the most tenuous grasp on how to write a commercial book. How to write commercial books quickly enough that I could make a living.

Because I am done fucking around.

If I’m going to put this much time and energy into writing, I’m going to treat it like a business.

I’m done being a failing artist. I’m either going to make money as a writer or I’m going to push it into hobby territory in favor of something else.

I admit it. It’s overwhelming and terrifying. Do I have any idea how to write genre romance? I don’t feel like it. When I try to read something in my *ahem* wheelhouse, I run away from awful alpha douches, shitty prose, waves of filler, or convoluted plots. (Mostly, it’s the alpha douches).

Honestly, I don’t know what people want to read. I have never been a voracious romance reader. I was barely aware of the genre until a few years ago. But I know it’s exactly the kind of thing I want to write: angsty, steamy, first person romance. And I know these books have the potential to do well–they are burning up the fucking charts.

But I don’t know why certain books do well. I don’t know what appeals to people. I only know what appeals to me, and my tastes are… contrarian to say the least. I can’t just write to my taste. I can’t just write what I feel in my gut. That will be 80,000 words of introspection that everyone will proclaim TOO WHINY.

If I am going to treat this like a business (and why shouldn’t I, I am putting out a product– books–that I want people to buy), I need to study the market. What sells, what flops, what hole desperately needs to be plugged.

It’s a huge undertaking and I’m not sure that it’s worth it (whatever that means). I’ve given myself until the end of the year to decide if I really want to go full-throttle–to spend about two years writing and releasing and marketing like hell–and I’m not sure yet.

It would certainly be easier to get a teaching credential. It would be stable, secure. I wouldn’t hate it.

Do I really have it in me?

I’ve got no fucking clue.

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