Over the last few months I have found I’ve been questioning my future in the writing world. That’s why my posts have slacked off and I’ve backed away from Friday Fictioneers and my writing challenges.
I like writing. I really do. That isn’t the problem.
It’s the editing and marketing that get me down. I hate both of them (with a fiery passion one might say). I always have and I always will.
Editing in small chunks isn’t too bad, but over the course of a novella or novel I find it to be mind numbing and painful–a headache inducing clusterfuck if you will. I don’t like doing it, but I can’t afford to hire a professional so I’m stuck doing it myself. Last time I checked, the point of life wasn’t to spend countless hours doing things you hate. It’s been awhile since I’ve checked though so that could have changed.
Marketing is a beast of a different color. I hate it because I’m not a people person. I’m shy and awkward and don’t enjoy putting myself out there or shoving my writing down the throats of people. That’s not who I am and I won’t do it. If my books don’t sell because of that then so be it. That’s the way it is. But that also begs the question of whether or not I should even put my writing out there in the world if I’m not going to promote it full force. Currently I don’t know the answer to that so I’m going to keep putting some stuff out there in the ether for all six of you to read. Someday I could change my mind. I really don’t know if or when that will happen, but it might. That’s a warning that someday I might just up and disappear. I’m not saying it will happen, but it’s a possibility.
All of this thinking has led me to a decision, for now anyway.
I’m going to finish the final run through of the Sins of a Father novella, which I’m pushing back to a new tentative release date of October 15th. It was supposed to be Sept 15th, but it isn’t ready yet. I really like the story, but it has been an unbearable bitch to edit. Every time I think I’ve got things in order more problems pop up that require tweaking. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve run through it or how many hours I’ve invested in those 25,000-ish words. I hope the time and effort I put into it shows, but I’m nervous about it. What if it’s not enough? What if you guys don’t feel the same as I do? What if I put all this time into it and no one even bothers to read it (which would technically be my fault because I don’t like marketing, but it’s still a concern)? Also, just so you’re aware. It’s not horror in the traditional sense, but I don’t know what else to call it. Nothing else seems to fit any better. There are no monsters, just a man whose world is unraveling as he travels down a rabbit hole he can’t escape.
After that my primary focus will be on shorter stories. I’m done with novels/novellas for awhile. I’ll be working on a new project similar to 100 Tiny Tales of Terror. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it’ll be either 300 or 500 word stories, the number of which is also as yet undefined, probably somewhere between 30 and 50. After that I’m thinking 15 or 20 1000 worders, but that’s getting ahead of myself. I plan on finding a few anthologies to hopefully get some stories into as well.
After I finish those things I might revisit a longer project, but I’m not making any promises. In fact, I wouldn’t count on it if I were you. I am a man of few words, both in life and in writing. I feel more at home in the world of short stories than I ever felt with the longer ones. They’re almost always better (not to mention way, way, way easier to edit) than anything longer that I’ve written to date.
September 10th, 2014 at 10:01 AM
Marketing really is a beast. I still don’t understand it and pray for a day where someone else does it for me. At least the bulk of it. As for editing, have you ever used beta readers to help with that? They can help you focus on trouble spots instead of reading through everything with a fine-tooth comb.
September 10th, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Sins of a Father has actually been through 2 sets of beta readers, but I still feel the need to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb. It’s in my nature and it’s annoying as hell. I would love to not do that, but in my mind it doesn’t seem fair to those who may eventually read it, regardless of whether or not I’ve already done it eight times before. It’s a sickness really.
September 10th, 2014 at 10:15 AM
I have to admit that I’m like that too. Editing definitely becomes a necessary evil after a while.
September 10th, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Adam, Oddly enough, I don’t think I’m mind marketing if I was close to the market. I’m in India and can’t market well here. I was a teacher of small children (Grades 1 & 2) so getting in front of a group holds no terrors for me. I had teacher conferences, so got used to meeting people. I would probably spend some of my savings to hire an editor if he/she was reasonable. I don’t have that to worry about yet as I haven’t finished anything. I want to try short stories while finishing my memoir. I don’t have to market them, just submit them in the correct form. We’d miss you if you left. 😦 🙂 —Susan
September 10th, 2014 at 3:19 PM
When walls start closing on me, I take a walk outside (figuratively and literally). Sometimes working under preasure produce diamonds, but sometimes we crumble to dust. Find something to enjoy and never force yourself to finish something just so you finish it. Take your time. Bad results are always laced with fear and life is too short for that kind of BS. 😉
September 11th, 2014 at 6:57 PM
I remember hearing early on, as writers we can always edit more! UGH! I have been working on my first novel for more years than I want to say out loud. I’ve had it professionally edited, edited by the folks in my writing group, and I have written and re-written countless drafts! It’s agony. The marketing… oh my. I haven’t even gotten there and it gives me anxiety. I feel badly, and hope that I haven’t discouraged you. I hope you keep writing; I know you love it! 🙂
September 11th, 2014 at 9:58 PM
Don’t feel bad! You haven’t discouraged me in the least. These thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for a long, long time. I’m just finally coming to the realization that I should have acknowledged from the beginning: I like writing short stories and micro fiction WAY more than I like writing anything long, and I think I’m better at it too. Short is my wheelhouse. Long doesn’t feel quite right to me.
Writing isn’t in question though. I will certainly keep at it. It’s publishing that I’ve been questioning. The main reason being because shorts are a hard sell to begin with and my disdain for (and general lack of) marketing makes them an even harder sell. Only time will tell I suppose. My mind doesn’t seem to want to let go of the thought of publishing and is still coming up with me ideas for collections.
September 12th, 2014 at 12:08 AM
September 15th, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Adam, Given enough time, I would be willing to take a shot at editing your work free of charge. I’d look at it as an investment in building my own skills. Let me know if that sounds appealing at all. BUT, keep in mind that I am in the final stretch of planning my daughter’s wedding (Oct. 12). firstname.lastname@example.org
September 24th, 2014 at 2:00 PM
I may take you up on that at some point. For now though, enjoy your daughter’s wedding! 🙂
September 24th, 2014 at 9:47 PM
Oh, I plan to! Thanks, Adam, and good luck on your work.