Monday, January 17, 2011

The Litany of Writer's Despair

A couple of months ago, I had a "writing for writing versus writing for sales" conniption fit.  And then I did something soul killing; I indulged in envy and jealously and compared myself to my writing cohorts. To make a long story shorter, without further ado, I give you the Litany of Writer's Despair (Or Why Aren't I Selling As Much As My Friends Are?):

  • Possibility One: I'm lazy. I don't write enough, edit enough, and I don’t submit enough.
  • Possibility Two: I'm slow. See above.
  • Possibility Three: I'm distracted / thinking about too many things at once (Facebook, Twitter and -- um -- Blogger: I'm looking at you). See above.
  • Possibility Four: I'm stupid. It's not that I write bad stories, it's just that they're adequate. They almost but not quite make the brilliant twist connection. The prose asymptotically approaches splendor, brilliance, élan, majesty, portents, surprise, mystery, connection, portents, etcetera -- but will never get there.
  • Possibility Five: I'm insane. All my prose is just me mumbling to myself in a closed system that's short circuiting.
  • Possibility Six: I'm should be writing in a genre other than science fiction or fantasy short story. Like the memoir genre.  Or the technical manual genre.
  • Possibility Seven: The John Speculative Fiction Genre exists, but I need to somehow educate editors and readers in the finer aspects of reading a JSF Genre Story. (See Possibility #5)
  • Possibility Eight: The stories I write are the sorts of stories that were published in 1985 (but not today).
  • Possibility Nine: I can't write convincing characters unless they're me. Which isn't writing a story, it's therapy (see #4 and 5).
  • Possibility Ten: I don't really want to write; I just want to Live The Glamorous Life of the Tortured Writer (cue John Leguizamo singing "Nature Boy").
  • Possibility Eleven: I don't' really want to write -- I want to research!
  • Possibility Twelve:  A decade's worth of studying grammar, staging, character, setting, plot, dialog and cultural meaning have turned me into a lean, mean, critiquing machine.  I shouldn't be writing, I should be editing.

I'm sure that Starhawk would say something about the Self Hater at this point.  And I'm sure that David Raines would remind me that Pride, Envy and Jealousy are Deadly Sins.  I suppose the antidote to this litany is to quote The Fiction Writing Directorate Subsiste statim sermonem et scribe.

And now, back to work.
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