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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Writing Life: Contemplation


I read a lot of things as I try to work out how this whole indie thing works, and I keep coming back to a few of them, because they remind me what it’s all about, and that gives me the courage to continue chasing the dream.
So, when one says write what you love, and don’t let chasing a market dictate, I listen – and then I assess what I’m doing. Am I writing poetry and flash fiction because it’s the latest market? Do I write romance for the same reason? What about the science fiction? The fantasy?
I took a long, hard look, and decided perhaps, I didn’t. The poetry and flash fiction, the short story collections and short stories, they don’t sell very well. From a business point of view, perhaps I should stop writing them… but I won’t. Not because I hope for discovery, but because it would hurt to stop. I like writing poetry – it’s the challenge of it. Poetry is hard to get right. And I like writing flash fiction; it’s hard to get a story in less than a thousand words. I also like short fiction, because it gives me a chance to explore new worlds, or aspects of old ones.
I think I’m in trouble, here, and not just because of the fascination with these types of writing that don’t sell well, but because I like writing a lot of different things. I like writing science fiction, fantasy, young adult, teen, adult, and romance, and I like trying my hand at new styles of writing – that’s what makes it fun for me. And, as I look around, I find I’m not alone. There are lots of writers writing across styles… and, yes, across genres, and more that write short, as well as long. I’m in pretty good company.
I remember a piece of advice about the amount of time it takes to ‘break out’ and start making a living, and how some genres take less time, such as romance or erotica, and some take longer, such as fantasy and science fiction. Types of fiction also affect the time: poetry, for instance, takes longer, if it breaks out at all, novels take less. And then there’s the amount of time it takes for an author writing under a single writing name to break out, which can vary, but which takes longer if the author is writing under more than one name, and I find myself strangely content.
Because, it’s true: apart from a lucky few who make it big early, most writers are going to take five to ten years, and that’s writing under one name. I write under more than one, and writing short pieces and poetry, and I haven’t done everything exactly right, so I’m probably looking closer to the ten end of things, if not fifteen. I’m sitting at four, now, and it’s probably time to up my game, starting with setting up a proper release schedule, and meeting it, having regular releases for each pen name, and writing more, a lot more – and I’m starting to have fun.
Maybe I won’t go back to the day job… and the idea of that feels kinda weird, and kinda good and kinda scary, all at the same time.

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