So, as has been mentioned, at least in passing, on this site, I’ve been dealing with a bit of depression (not quite the right word, but most suitable for ease of discussion) regarding my prospects as a published author.
I’ve been really enjoying writing, and I’ve been seeing a dramatic increase in the amazing-ness of my story-telling skills. In other words, I’m not actually concerned about my abilities as a writer. It’s about the process of actually getting published. . . or, more accurately, selling my book.
I’ve been seriously toying with the idea of self-publishing. However, the necessary process of making people aware that my book exists, as well as other things such as ensuring creation of an eye-catching cover, finding a reputable editor, and a whole host of other things not immediately available to self-pubbed authors makes the head spin.
On the other side of the coin, just getting agents to take a second look at your book (meaning getting past the querying phase) seems almost impossible. I’ve had mediocre success on this so far, and only a handful of ideas on how to increase my success in the future. Moving on from that first step itself (getting an agent to actually read my book) is therefore that much more impossible-seeming.
In other words, I have 15 books I want to write, as we speak. I’ve got 2 books that I’m in the midst of revising (and honeslty making much more brilliant). I have absolutely no concerns about writing. I have every possible concern about actually doing anything with the finished products.
And this is what was finally consuming every portion of my being last week. I began forcing myself to write again, knowing that it’s what I wish to do with my (limited) free time, ubt I just couldn’t enjoy it. Every time I sat down to write, I felt myself getting more and more depressed about everything.
Finally, on Friday, after the kids and wife went to sleep, I felt so incredibly restless about the whole thing, that I felt I needed to get out of the house. I decided to head to the casino, as the nearest one is only about 45 minutes away, and I feel much less like a loser going to the casino solo than I do at a bar, or any of my other options.
That 45 minute drive ended up being exactly what I needed. I was forced to finally work through my issues and come to the final resolution on what my problem was. This isn’t to say that I don’t have any of the above listed fears, but they weren’t driving my ‘depression’. You see, I hate my job. No real surprise to regular readers here. I can’t stand the idea of being stuck in my job for the rest of my life.
When I began writing my first book, Buddy Hero, I had all these crazy dreams about how it would be picked up by some big publishing how immediately after I completed it and I would never have to work a stupid day job ever again. I obviously had no knowledge of how the publishing industry worked. . . as well as high hopes on how well my writing was going (Buddy was not that good).
Not immediately being offered tons of money wasn’t entirely surprising to the realist in my, but the optimist in me was struck a fatal blow. I immediately turned to self-pubbing, not realizing how much work still needed to go into Buddy. Then I was made aware of some horrible passages in the book. . . I took the book down from sales as quickly as possible and became just as quickly depressed about my abilities as a writer.
A few months passed and I was hit by inspiration for my second book The Agora Files. I flew through the writing process on that, and through the revision process. I was flying high. I knew it was going to be loved by everyone who read it, especially after The Hunger Games movie came out and everyone fell in love with young adult dystopian. I was so certain that my time with my employer was short, that I made a relatively bad decision regarding my career as it seemed a smart way to bide my time until I could put in my two weeks.
That’s how certain I was that I would be making fast money off of writing.
That’s how completely stupid I was (am).
Now, don’t get me wrong. I knew (know) that this isn’t how things worked. The optimist inside of me, however, was so ready to be fulfilled that it didn’t matter. My hopes were officially up, and I was acting on that.
This is the discussion that went through my brain on my 45 minute drive. I finally realized why I continually became so depressed by this process. It wasn’t the constant rejection, it wasn’t the need to continually revise my work. It was that I didn’t immediately become a success.
That 45 minutes helped ground me and put me back on the path of building a career, instead of flying high assuming that everyone would want a piece of me once I put myself out there. It was freeing and I feel better for it (so far).
The 45 minutes home was then spent planning out my next project. Writer’s block was defeated, for a day at least.
Now let’s hope I can do some real damage to the revision process this week.
Have a good one.