Month: November 2013

Get a Job

I often joke that writing is less a hobby and more an affliction. Many writers will tell you that they feel compelled to write, that if they were no longer able to write, their heads would explode or something like that. In truth, it does sort of feel that way. So I guess it makes sense that a lot of (non-writer) people would ask me, “Why don’t you get a day job where you’re writing? Like for a magazine or something?”

I think I’d sooner beat myself in the head with a hot iron.

Apparently, that can be arranged.

I do love to write. But I don’t like being required to write something. It’s like being forced to read a book in school that you might otherwise enjoy, but don’t, simply because it’s required reading for a class. Besides, if I’m writing all day long for the day job, the last thing I’m going to want to do afterward is to work on my novels.

That’s the irony of writing professionally. If you don’t write, you don’t publish. If you don’t publish, you don’t make any money. And if you don’t make any money, you’re stuck in your dreary 9-to-5 for the rest of your life. So even though you’re writing what you want to write, you’re having to force yourself to do so with more frequency than you might naturally desire.

In the end, if I have to have a boss, I’d prefer it to be me. I’m my own worst critic, after all. And I can’t get into trouble for cussing myself out behind my back.

And I’m a real bastard.

Posted by vmwales in Writing Process, 0 comments

Why I’m Not More Successful

About a month ago, I appeared on a live TV broadcast of Good Day Sacramento. It was just for a few minutes, wherein I answered some fairly general questions about my latest book. One question, however, I wasn’t expecting. But I should have. Because it’s a question that non-writers seem to be obsessed with: What do you do about writer’s block?

I’m hesitant to buy this…

I have to admit that the question annoyed me. I wanted to talk about the book I’d written, or even just about writing. I didn’t want to talk about not writing. I handled the question well enough, I suppose, but I’d be happy if I never had to talk about it again.

People seem to think that writer’s block is the the writer’s main nightmare. They think it’s the result of running out of things to say. I suppose for some writers, that’s the case. But I think it’s more often the result of having too many things to say, the ideas getting log-jammed in your head. The problem is, therefore, not knowing which thing to say. I also think writer’s block is something that happens less and less frequently as you become a better writer, because you learn what to do when it happens.

So writer’s block is not an issue for me. It isn’t what has prevented me from being more successful. Nope. That would be because of one specific thing.

Marketing sucks.

I hate marketing. I don’t think I’m very good at it, and I don’t like taking time away from writing in order to promote. I suppose I’m just hoping for the sort of viral success that can only come by word-of-mouth. I know I have fans out there, just not enough yet to reach critical mass, where it’s inevitable that my work will sell well.

I guess it’s not too different from waiting to win the lottery. As they say, you’ve got to play to win. With publishing, you’ve got to promote to win. And just as I’ll happily accept any lottery tickets given to me, I’ll gladly welcome the efforts of volunteer marketing people! Any takers? For either?

Posted by vmwales in Marketing/Promotion, Problems, Writing Process, 0 comments