As many of my long-time followers will note, I have a love-hate relationship with writing. There are days I love it and then there are days where I wish I could just give it up… but there’s a compulsion within me that refuses to let go. In fact, as silly as it sounds, if I go too long without writing, my fingers literally start to ache. I think of it as missing the pounding of the keys beneath my fingertips.
Likewise, there are times I enjoy the writing but hate everything else that goes along with being a professional writer. See, success is relative — I have plenty of people who genuinely tell me they’d give their left arm to be as successful as I am. If I were on the other side, I’d probably say that, too. After all, things have actually gone pretty well for me, aside from the the fact that I haven’t gotten rich!
When I look at all the things that I’ve accomplished, I’m sometimes left going “Wow, I should be happier about all of this…” — I’ve been published multiple times by Marvel Comics; I wrote for West End Games (my favorite rpg publisher growing up); I got the chance to write The Avenger not once but twice; I’ve gotten to work with guys like George Sellas, Will Meugniot, Anthony Castrillo, Norm Breyfogle, Chris Batista, Bob Hall, Frank Brunner and Grant Miehm; and Michael Uslan gave me one heck of a cover blurb to use on my books!
What’s not to love??
And yet I’m often dissatisfied with my lot.
Before I was published the first time, I used to think if I got published one time, I’d be satisfied. Then it happened and I was like, now if I can do it again to prove it wasn’t a fluke… And so on and so on.
It’s never enough.
Lately I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the fact that there aren’t enough of you! I’ve been writing for about ten years now professionally and I’m very appreciative of my fans but it feels like things have gotten a wee bit snug, if you know what I mean. My reader base is of a decent size for the very small pond that is New Pulp but I don’t see it growing very quickly, if at all. At some point you have weigh the time and effort that’s going in to the creation of these products and ask “Is it equal to the rather small amount of money I’m making doing it?”
And then we get back to the whole “Maybe I should just sign off on the blog, stop writing and go home.”
Think what I could do with that free time, I tell myself! I could read more. I could acquire a new hobby. I could begin training for a marathon!
Well, okay, that last one probably isn’t going to happen… but still! Heck, I could take a year-long sabbatical and nobody would notice because I have so many stories already turned in with various publishers!
Normally I just ride it out. Keep on keeping on and then I’ll get excited about what I’m working on… or I’ll find out that a story I completed ages ago is finally seeing print. Those things perk me back up and then I continue on my merry little way until the next time the depression hits me. I don’t really get writer’s block — never have, thankfully — but these little funks feel like they show up more and more often. I never wanted to be the tortured artist — especially not one who willingly writes trashy, escapist fare — but here I am.
Woe is me.
Not really. I recognize that I should be dancing about, happy as can be… but maybe if I was, I wouldn’t want to get better. And bigger.
Maybe it’s the never-being-satisfied that’s the key.
I’ll try to be a bit less pouty tomorrow!