Why I write (#1)
I retired 20 years ago in order to write stories, i.e., novels and shorter works, which I’ve wanted to do since college. During my gainfully employed years, I wrote nonfiction books and articles, which frankly requires a competitive mindset as publishers demand that prospective authors tell what, who, and why they are competing with. Fiction, not so much, as here we have to stand on our characters, our voice, the story, etc.
Then I decided to fly with my old dream of creating fiction, write what and how I wanted to without comparing or competing with anyone. No thought for the marketplace. I’ve completed six novels and a book’s worth of short stories, without submitting them anywhere. My gratification is internal, as well from the several critique groups I present them to. It’s been quite satisfying. I write for the love of it. Nothing else measures up to a day of creating. Whether or not on re-reading I feel, “Hey, this is good!. . .or crap.” If it’s the latter, I get to re-work it, which in itself is satisfying. Nothing is wasted; it’s a fine experience.
Over the past year I decided, what the hell, I’ll put my stuff out there. Run it up the flagpole, so to speak. So, I self-published three of the novels. And what do I find (which I already knew)?: Writing is, perhaps, less than half the job; you have to market yourself in many ways, which change as quickly as the internet changes, with a newest, greatest thing coming down the pike seemingly every week.
More marketing, less writing, much less joy. So, I’ll market (compete) for awhile more until I get sick of it. Then I’ll get reacquainted with my muse. Zazen.