After the Short Story Disappointment of August, I found myself re-evaluating my worth, dedication, and ability as a writer. Periods of writer’s doubt are common for me. I think a lot of writers go through it once in a while. But this one had me really questioning myself as a writer.
In the end, I realized a few things about myself.
One, I’m always going to be a writer. Even if I can never make a living off of it, I’m always going to do it. It’s just what I do. Because when I sat down and asked myself, “Okay, self, what is it that you really want to do with your life?” the answer that came immediately was “Write”. Yes, I like to do other things. Yes, I make money other ways and I’m always exploring new ways to make money that I think would be fun and engaging. I’m really selfish in the fact that I want to do what I want to do as often as possible and I do what I can to make that happen. But the number one thing I want to do is write, so that’s what I’m going to do.
The second thing I realized is that I don’t think I’m good enough to make a living as a writer. Oh sure, plenty of crap writers get published and make bajillions of dollars (I don’t think I need to be naming names here). However, they also at least have an idea that is marketable, that the public drools for, that can be sold to the masses. I don’t have that. My brain doesn’t work that way. I don’t have the inherent ability to be popular and by extension, the stuff I write isn’t popular. Because of this I realize that I will probably never be able to sell a book to a traditional publisher. I just don’t have what they want because what they want is to make money (and I don’t blame them because that’s what we all want, baby). There is no need to waste an agent’s time because I don’t have the goods for the market. No fair asking them to sell bruised peaches to folks looking for shiny apples. They’ll never earn a living that way and neither will I.
The final thing I realized is that, you know, self-publishing might just be it for me. I AM good enough for that. And we’re rapidly moving away from the stigma of self-publishing being for losers. I do like self-publishing for the most part. I hate the formatting, but I like the control I have over what I publish, what the cover looks like, where I publish it, and so forth. I’m not a control-freak (some people might disagree), but I do like the autonomy of doing it myself. Yeah, it doesn’t translate into great sales, but it does provide that rush of accomplishment I get when something of mine does get published, but in this case, it’s just coming on my terms instead of someone else’s.
This latest batch of writer’s doubt has put a new perspective on who I am as a writer. It’s often too easy for me to put myself down because I’m not like other writers. Now I’m operating from the position that it’s okay if I’m not because I’m doing my own thing anyway. I shouldn’t be doing their thing. My own is just fine.
So pardon me while I groove.