Earlier this week, I talked about cheating. I wish I had the foresight to cheat on tonight’s post, because my brain feels like it’s about to start leaking out of my ear at any moment. It’s one of those days that makes it hard to imagine how anyone ever makes a go of it as a writer when they’re employed full time at some other job. Add in a commute, household responsibilities, quality time with family members, and you realize quickly that there’s damn little time left over for the hard work of writing something that other people might want to read. That might be one of the most frustrating parts of doing this as a sideline. At least for me, I never feel like the work is getting all the attention it deserves – and nowhere near as much attention as I want to give it.
There are a literal ton of blogs out there with helpful hints and tricks to carve out more time for writing, but I’m not going to turn this into one of them. I’m sure they’re good advice for some, but I haven’t struck on any big ideas that have proven particularly helpful to me. Maybe one day I’ll stumble across the trick, but just now I feel like I’m falling down on the job.
Not at cards or anything important, but certainly at blogging. Like today’s post, you’re seeing it bright and relatively early on Monday morning. I’m sitting on the couch writing it after Sunday dinner. Without telling you that there’s no reason anyone needs to know. That’s just part of the magic of the internet… we can be anyone and anywhere we want to be. We can do it more or less anonymously. We can give voice to whatever wild idea happens to pop into our collective heads. As long as you don’t take any of it too seriously, the internet is a fascinating and wonderful place.
Unless I have a trip coming up or some other planned absence from the keyboard, I try not to “cheat” the blog too much. Usually I get Monday’s post written on Sunday evening if for no other reason than it tends to be less chaotic than Monday. It’s the last chance to sit down and take a deep breath before diving back into the week and being a “respected professional.” That gives me most of the week to kick around Thursday’s post. It’s a rhythm that works well enough that I haven’t tried to wreck it by adding a 3rd post every week or, God forbid, trying to master new topics every day of the week like some bloggers seem to manage. How they do that, I have no idea.
Much as I’d like to say I have an update on what I’m working on, the best I can say is it’s a paying job so it’s getting the attention it deserves and my own ambitions continue to be held in abeyance. That’s not feeling like a bad thing at the moment. It’s nice to get out in the rest of the world and break character a bit, don’t you think?
If you came by looking tonight for a new song and dance, you’re about to be sorely disappointed. I’m still working in research mode on a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with the inner smutty part of my brain. I can say I honestly miss it. Telling dirty stories lets me say things “out loud” that almost no one would ever consider saying during the course of a normal day. I suspect may of us are thinking those vile and dirty thoughts, but society has deemed it inappropriate to do much more than think them inside your own head. Given enough time, they’ll start writing news reports on why that’s bad too… but I digress.
What I really wanted to say tonight, is I’m seriously missing the dirty story outlet for the day’s frustrations. Working on a “mainstream” project just doesn’t give me the same sense of satisfaction. What can I say, well reasoned analysis is no competition for page after page of tits and ass, fucking and sucking. The dirtier the story, the happier it makes me. That probably means a few bits of my internal wiring are just a touch off, but I won’t make any apologies for that. We all like what we like. I’m not going to be the guy who sits here in judgement of anyone’s kink or perversion – if it’s legal and consensual, I’ve always said God bless and enjoy.
Hopefully other projects won’t keep me away from that world too much longer.
Another weekend gone and not a damned thing to show for it on the dirty story front. I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but we appear to be into one of those cycles where “it is what it is”. That’s not may favorite saying but it’s better than coming up with another excuse (or actual valid reason for why words aren’t hitting the page). The simple truth is there are just other things on my plate that currently demand more than their fair share of attention – and far more than I anticipated when I took them on. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it is a thing that’s keeping me from doing what I really want to do. As I’m sitting here writing this post I see the window for getting another short ready to go by the end of 2014 getting closed. It’s not quite shut and locked yet, but the it’s getting awfully close to that point.
It does raise an interesting question, though. The last few posts and the comments to them have talked at length about the the need to do some editing and revision to the old backlist of titles already sitting out there. At least part of me wonders if I wouldn’t be better served by picking off two or three of them and honing down the rough edges – especially on some of my earliest stuff that would most benefit from the effort. It’s very tempting.
I haven’t written all that much non-fiction since long ago days sequestering myself in the college library working on term papers. A simple fact I’m relearning (the hard way) is that doing research is a tough business. It’s even harder when you’re use to working in fictional worlds where not everything necessarily needs to make sense, where details can be fuzzy, and where the entire universe can be shifted to suit whatever mood the author happens to be in. As it turns out, that’s not the case with non-fiction work.
Still, it’s a topic that touches me personally and I can’t deny my interest. Regardless of whether it turns into a long article of a short free-standing work, it’s definitely got the kernel of a good idea nested in there. As much as I miss my preferred world of deviant sex and fewer rules, this feels like a good “time out” for the moment. It might never make me famous, but any excuse to give the ol’ chops a workout feels like something I should welcome with open arms.
Although I managed some research this morning, most of the day has found me on the couch, trying to rest and doing my best to fight off the early warning signs of an approaching illness. Am I the only one that seems to get about 36 hours warning from his body that “something isn’t right?” I don’t know exactly how to describe it other than knowing that the feeling is usually a harbinger of some kind of cold, sinus infection, or generally bad feeling. It could be nothing, but by the time I wake up on Wednesday I’ll know for sure one way or another.
Saying that was my way of easing into the fact that I haven’t been keeping up with any writing since the last post. Some of it was simply commitment to other things outside the house and some of it was just not feeling right. In any case the net result was a complete failure to put words on the page. I’m not working on a deadline per se, but still I like to keep up the appearance of trying to get some work done around here. Otherwise I’m just a guy sitting in the kitchen screwing around with his computer.
The last couple of posts have garnered some good feedback on everything from the need to exert tighter editorial control over final products to ideas about more professional looking covers. All I can say is thank you. For as long as I’ve been tinkering with all this, I still feel very much like a neophyte – with everything still to learn. I make it a rule to never promise anything, but believe me, when I have occasion to open up an already published work to make some changes, I’ll take everyone’s words into account and do my best to improve the narratives where I can. Writers seem to be a particularly touchy lot, but that’s not my style. Any ideas that make things better – for my image and for the reader – are strictly to be welcomed.
Returns, it seems, are the bane of my existence on Amazon. I sell scads of ebooks through Smashwords and Barnes & Noble with nary an issue, but on Amazon some months returns run as high as 50% of sales. As a short story guy, returns are a hard pill to swallow since the average reader can blast from “cover to cover” in a pretty short amount of time. There’s simply no way of telling if someone is returning a book because they hated it or for some less chivalrous motivation. It isn’t the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me a little.
Returns are in the nature of the sales beast and I don’t begrudge that at all, especially if someone feels they’ve been sold a bill of goods that didn’t live up to their expectations. I want everyone who picks up one of my stories to be happy with it at the end – as obviously unreasonable as that goal is.
I usually try to blog with some theme or point in mind, but as it turns out tonight was just about a simple observation. So go out there and pick up a ebook from your favorite independent author… and don’t return it no matter how great the temptation. They won’t be able to thank you for it but I will.