It’s been months since I’ve really written. Not just months. Years, if I’m going to be really honest with myself. Oh, I’ve written sporadically here and there. I finished a book at the end of last year, but it needs such massive work I just don’t know what to do with it. I finished a book this year too – a how-to guide to self-publishing. But I can hardly bring myself to edit it. When I write, it might be for just a day or two before my fervor fizzles out. I rarely finish what I start, and if I do finish, it isn’t anything remotely worth publishing.
And, so I’ve been asking myself, “Is this the end?”
What’s the point of writing anyway? When I don’t write (which is most of the time), I feel incredibly guilty for procrastinating. When I do force myself to write, it doesn’t feel like it used to. It’s feels like a chore. A job for which I don’t get paid enough to make it worth my time.
My books sales have plummeted and I only have myself to blame. I haven’t put out any new material. I don’t market – at all. In fact, I hate marketing. Don’t we all?
I often advise authors to forget about marketing and publishing. Forget about word count and guilt over not having time to write. But, I’m finding it incredibly hard to take my own advice. With each passing day, I’m increasingly aware of the fact that I haven’t written in a really long time. I think about all the unfinished WIPs collecting dust on my thumb drive. I think about how easy the words used to flow back when I first started writing, and how the ideas seem to have dried up in recent years.
Every day, there are a zillion new books being published on Amazon. (Maybe a zillion is a slight exaggeration, but I’m too tired to look up actual statistics, so we’ll go with that.) There are a LOT of authors. I mean, a LOT, And for every author out there, it seems like there is a book cover artist, a publicist, and at least two editors. I think just about every author out there has decided to throw their hat into the ring as an author services provider of some sort. After all, with the zillions of books out there, it’s damn near impossible to make a living as an author, so most of us need to supplement our incomes with something else.
I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to be an author or an editor. I don’t see my peers as competition or enemies. We’re all in this together and I know many of my author friends are hurting as badly as I am. They are struggling. We all are.
Over the past couple of years, many of my writer friends have given up. There are always several new writers to take their place, but it’s sad to see people giving up on their dreams. Many of the writers who have given up are amazingly talented – so much more talented than I am. It’s a crying shame to see such talent and creativity go to waste. Sadly, I can understand why they’ve chosen to take a step back from writing. It’s the same reason I’m on the edge of doing the same thing.
Being a writer is hard work. I don’t know if I’m cut out for it anymore. In an environment where it’s becoming harder and harder to get noticed, I don’t know if my love for writing is enough. There are only so many hours in the day, and unfortunately, a good many of those hours must be dedicated to doing something that actually pays the bills.
Maybe this is just a passing phase. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow on fire with ideas and the words will flow like they used to. I’ll be crackling with creativity, and the heady combination of caffeine and passion for the written word will drive me to complete another book or an entire series. If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, maybe next week. Or next year. Or maybe, as I fear, it won’t happen again. Maybe writing was a passing phase, something that was never meant to be more than a hobby. Maybe it’s time for me to accept that I’m not a real author, just a wannabe who, thanks to the miracle of self-publishing, was able to pursue my dream for a little while.
I hope I haven’t discouraged any of you from continuing to pursue your dreams. If you want to write, please do it. Don’t let anyone or anything deter you. As I sit in my living room, writing this post, I can see my small stack of published books and I’m pretty darned proud of what I’ve accomplished. Despite the fact that I might very well have come to the end of my writing journey, it was a hell of a ride. I regret nothing.