I find it strange sometimes how strange I don’t find it that I’ve become that youngish-old person that 7 years ago I would have thought I’d “never be.” That person who puts pragmatism before passions, who puts responsibilities before dreams. But that’s just the reality of life, or at least of the life I’ve chosen.
I like being able to care for my family, buy groceries, etc. Doing those things cuts into my hobby time. Keeping up with my social life once a week cuts into my hobby time (Hobby time for me is writing, as it’s something I do for fun, and fortunately some of you out there enjoy it enough to read it and ask me for more). And I try to not let those facts bother me anymore.
Because, yeah, I have a lot of stories I’d like to tell. That I plan to tell (part three of Dick and Henry is about 10k written, and I have more of the story planned in my head; I have another dark fantasy I’m working on that’s 80k words in, and almost finished; and there’s a sci-fi epic I’ve written but need to edit this summer). But I can’t simply pump the breaks on life to make that happen at the pace I’d like it to. I have to push out the voices, the Twitter recommendations, that say that if you’re not writing and publishing AT LEAST TWO books a year, you’re a failure. Man, screw that. I’m a father. A husband. A teacher. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Well, then, they say, “you don’t have time to be a writer.” To be a writer, one simply needs to write. I do that. Just not at the pace some Monday Quarterbacks would like me (and everyone else) to.
So, you may be wondering, if I’m so confident in my George R.R. Martin writing pace, why am I bothering with this post (or better yet, why didn’t I skip the post and work on a novel?!), well, writing is a lonely endeavor. You sit around by yourself making stuff up. Having a community (whether real life, or digital) to talk to for advice makes it a little less depressing (self-doubt can get to you), and when all that advice is telling you everything you’re doing is wrong (as far as pace), it can be hard to keep things in perspective.
I think I’ve come to belief, that in just about everything in life, there is no “right way,” just different ways. I mean, I should probably clarify, there are definitely wrong ways to do certain things (publishing without editing would be an example of doing something wrong in writing), but I think it’s less clear on what the “right” ways are, as you can go about things in many ways and get similar, or at least equally agreeable, results.
So, yeah, I guess the whole point of this stream of conscious post was to let those interested in where I am as far as writing goes know that I’m still plugging along (and plan to until I die, or my fingers fall off), but also to keep myself straight, as far what my goals are. I want to finish the threads of the stories I’ve started (Dick and Henry, Sunborn, and my unpublished novels), but not at the sake of my personal life. That’s just not feasible, or in any way rational. That doesn’t seem like it should need to be stated, but I read posts by some people on Twitter verbally (or whatever the written equivalent is) punching themselves in the gut. You just can’t hold storytelling above all else. If you’re a 20 something without massive amounts of doubt floating over you, no wife or kids, then I guess maybe you can, but if you’re like most other people, you probably can’t. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to not be keeping up with independent publishing Joneses of Amazon. You do you, and say to hell with anything else.