Friday, July 19, 2013

On Topic - What's the point?

I have decided that I have more to say on the matter [of] today.

To be completely honest, the thought of writing novels doesn't excite me nearly as much as it once did. As I've said before, I think I've proven (at least to myself) that I can do it ... but just because we can do something doesn't necessarily mean we should, right?


Do I want to write? Yes, without a doubt. I love creating characters and worlds, putting both through the ringer and seeing what comes out the other end. It is an enjoyable experience. If that's all that were involved, if it were a weekend hobby for my own personal pleasure and I could safely and sanely treat it as such, I don't think I'd feel the way I do right now.

Problem is, it's not a hobby. Calling it a hobby is actually kind of demeaning. Writing is work, and a hobby should be fun. Writing is for others, and a hobby should be for yourself. Writing novels implies that there is some kind of audience involved who would presumably consume them, and this last bit has been lacking.

Do I write shitty books? Perhaps, perhaps not. I prefer to think not, but that may be a little ego showing through. The Ninth Avatar is not equivalent to Heroseed, after all. Thomas Redpool and Scions of the Shade show progress, considerable improvement in my ability to craft characters and pace and write proper endings. I have open projects, I have uncompleted manuscripts; I have the desire to write. But ... why?

I've given some serious thought to writing something else. Not short stories, they're not my thing and in fact I don't even enjoy reading them. The little snippets I wrote for "daily dime" years ago were barely five minutes of work (and it shows). What else is there to write other than novels, though? Screenplays? Other sorts of scripts for video games, storyboarding for graphic novels or comic books?

No, my problem isn't finding something to write or to write about, it's what's the fucking point?

I'm raging against the brick wall of indifference here. People rarely read to begin with, and I'm trying to get them to take a chance on an obscure author with very little credibility and not a ton of content to offer. Nobody cares. It's the same reason I don't tweet or post on Facebook very often, the same reason I don't blog very often. It very, very quickly feels like a waste of my time that would be better spent actually accomplishing something.

Now, this may sound overly harsh. Friends and family may be piping up with "I care!" and that's fantastic, but friends and family do not constitute (and cannot replace) an audience. You guys would probably read my poetry if I posted it and clap just the same, but I wouldn't expose you to such horrid drivel as that.

So, bitching about being ignored by the public-at-large aside, what am I ultimately left with? The desire to do something that accomplishes nothing. I want to write but I don't want to write. I want to create worlds and characters that are fun and exciting and create an emotional reaction in a reader, but without a reader it feels unrelentingly pointless.

It's like getting in your car but having nowhere to go. All I've been doing lately is the equivalent of practicing parallel parking and 3-point turns (two of the most rarely used driving techniques known to man). I know how to "drive," but where am I supposed to actually "go?"

I'm sure if you've been reading the blog (or if you go back and check some of the most recent posts) you'll see one theme over and over again: discouragement. I am so discouraged right now when it comes to writing novels that it's almost funny. I haven't really been talking to anyone about this either, just been bottling it up for a year or more, occasionally letting a bit or two slip out on the blog or the occasional offhand comment. I try to avoid being obsessively negative, at least outwardly. Inwardly I'm probably one of the most negative, irascible jerks you'll ever meet (or at least I can be). I'm a negative optimist. I'm a negamist.

The worst thing is that with writing I can't escape that negativity. It's there, staring me in the face, every time I think about it or want to write about it or want to talk to someone about it. I have no good news to report, I have no progress to report, I have nothing to show for all the work I've done over the last 8 years with regard to writing novels. All of the learning, networking, and typing I've done have amounted to precisely jack shit. I have no idea what's going on at Trapdoor Books, but I know for certain at this moment that none of it involves me. Thomas Redpool was self-published, which is a great and terrible thing, and it looks very much like Scions is about to go the same route (provided that I can get a cover designed). Chances are that subsequent projects will follow in their footsteps simply because I don't feel that "getting published" has changed or will change anything.

Writing novels isn't fun and exciting anymore, it's only discouraging. One man's opinion, but I sorely wish there was something else that I could write that would actually be interesting and consumable, and it looks like "code" is the only thing that applies. Doesn't quite tell a story, doesn't provide nearly the flexibility and freedom of a fantasy novel, but at least I won't forget how to type.

So there you go, now you know what's truly on my mind and why I'm not producing word count or hyping up my next project. Maybe in a few months I'll look back on this post and shake my head, utter some choice curse words and hit the delete button. A guy can dream, can't he? In the meantime, I'll be continuing to focus elsewhere with all this shit in the back of my mind gnawing at me.

3 comments:

  1. Todd... I think all authors/writers go through this at some point.

    Personally, it's what will likely keep me from writing in the near and not-so-distant future... perhaps to pick up when I have more free time and do feel like doing it largely for fun. As it is, the fun isn't there if nobody is going to read it but myself and 2-3 others tops.

    I feel for you. I don't have much else to offer, besides the support and knowledge that I will read what you put out regardless of what it is, because I enjoy reading what you write.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Todd,
    I have felt that way for a long, long time - and the more involved I got in the professional writing world, the more discouraged I got. Recently I have begun writing fiction again, a novel in fact, and have been trying to ignore everything about the market ... but I'm still at the stage of proving I can do it. So I don't know what encouragement I can provide ... other than offering to design your Scions book cover pro bono. I only read the first chapter in BWMG, but I could tell you were going to make a good book of it. And I'm trying to develop my portfolio.. So ... let me know if you'd like to discuss it some more.
    -Jay

    ReplyDelete
  3. I saw this way back when you posted, but the system wouldn't let me comment.

    You still kicking?

    ReplyDelete

I'm always happy to hear from you, even if you disagree. Leave a comment or shoot me an email (initialdraft@gmail.com), whichever you prefer. Thanks for stopping by.

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