Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Writer's Folly

Before dawn.
I sit in the darkness, my fingers poised over the keys
waiting for inspiration, like lightning, to bring the thoughts forth
from the deepest regions of my soul,
bringing my fingers to life until words appear
on the blank white abyss of screen before me.

All my life I've found pleasure in occasionally jotting thoughts and stories down on paper, or lately, a computer. A few years ago, I embarked upon a writing adventure where I had to write every day and I was motivated to produce something of value every couple of months. I'd reached a relatively comfortable place, selling my stories online and bringing in a very modest return. Nonetheless, it was a return, and it was enough to foster continued motivation to write in the genre that was producing said return.

Trouble is, over time I grew tired of simply creating differing angles on a similar plot so I decided to let that facet of my writing ride while I worked on other, longer projects. When this longer project was completed and published, I concentrated on marketing and developing social relationships with other authors and potential readers. Things were going great and, with a cover change for the book (a 76,000 word novel) I was seeing a slight rise in sales.

These sales quickly peaked and then started a very long slow descent in sales. It was then that the true descent began. The story received a less-than-desirable review. The reviewer didn't say much but the lack of stars was the cause of a deep secret heartbreak.

I suppose what bothered me most was that my shorter, more adult stories sold much better than something I poured my heart and soul into creating. It didn't take long for doubts of my own talent to make their way into my brain and squeeze the will to create out of me. Well, the will never really went away. I was still writing. I just wasn't finishing anything. I found myself rethinking every plot and story idea I previously acted upon and shelving them in hopes of coming up with something better.

Yes my friends, I had fallen into the same trap--succumbed to the very thing in which I had seen in others--the very thing I gave advice to others about.

I have identified the problem and am preparing to dig my way out of the hole I created but it is a long road. The problem I face is self-doubt. This is like alcoholism for writers because it is so easily found by writers and even perpetuated by those who think they know/understand writers.

Well, here I am now. Admitting this as a problem that hinders my creative productiveness. I intend to overcome this and invite other writers with the same ailment to join me, or simply follow along as I chronicle my progress. I will post on some regular schedule to my blog and offer suggestions of things I have tried. I will participate in my local writer's group (or an online writer's group) as a means to garner support.

I guess this post is long overdue. but it's gotta start somewhere.