Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Writer Unfixed

Why does it seem so hard sometimes? The titanic effort required, at times, to shape thoughts into words and feel like they are worth being put down in the first place, brings to mind the image of a blacksmith hammering away at a piece of raw iron. Each strike placed at just the right point to shape that metal into something and there is something wondrous about that process, even when it is really just me typing words on a page.

It's like I'm carrying some heavy burden when I come to the computer. I'm not talking about deadlines or the expectations of clients. No, it is something deeper, maybe a set of viewpoints and prejudices that cling to me like a wet blanket--just burdensome enough to make me feel sad about it. Then again, I've also had the privilege of writing while in the white-hot fury of a creative explosion, when the words flowed out of my fingers faster than I could get them down. It forms a contrast in my memory that leaves me frowning. Even now, this essay or whatever it is leaves me troubled. I would prefer more of the latter but tend to get a lot of the former.

This isn't to say that I secretly hate writing. No, it is all I feel good about doing. It is what I've been able to do now for six years. Rather than reporting to some business or factory where my time is dictated by the interests of others and where pay though probably more consistent, was hardly an inducement worthy of the name. I remain here in a strange place though, one where any hope of income I have is attached to successful sharing and sales of my words. A strange place to be in, indeed.

I've had the pleasure, really, of becoming a publisher--albeit, it is more or less a self-publishing enterprise that is barely eking out profit at all. A few bucks here, a few cents there. I've had some surges that have accompanied the sales of local books written with and for local people, but the sales have slowed.

Right now, at this moment, I find myself in a difficult place. I have a business I'm trying to build but it isn't producing enough income to warrant my undivided attention. That is a problem that I do not know how to solve. With another book set to be released in about a month, I have hope that I can make good on that opportunity, that I can use it to boost sales of the other books. It is a slender hope, but one I wish to nurture so that it can growth strong and supple.

I know I'm being somewhat circumspect, but it is only because I'm not sure how to be more direct. Maybe I should just tell myself that no one is reading this blog anyways, so why not be more blunt. Hiding insecurities and misgivings behind sophisticated language does not seem like a great use of time, does it?

This whole post could be chalked up to airing a some of that writerly insecurity that others have dredged up with far more clarity of expression and more passion than I have thus far.

How do I put it simply? How about this: I'm an anxious, insecure guy who brings in money by writing. For most of the last six years, I've done it by writing anonymous web content, ebooks, and other little bits. Nothing spectacular, just a way to make a buck. I've not pursued a course that would have had me busily mailing out a long string of magazine submissions. I've not put much effort into fiction writing until recently. A new dynamic in the publishing industry caused by the ebook revolution has allowed me to express myself, finally, in those ways. The money from those ventures is what is trickling in, but I've certainly not reached a point where it is significant enough or consistent enough to feel content as a writer make his way solely by his words.

At the moment, I know that I need to bring in my share of the money, that bare minimum needed to fuel the engine of my household so we are not running in fumes. That thought is what is consuming my thoughts and coloring my perceptions, and causing me to wax reflective in this online space. For those reading this little corner of cyberspace, forgive for the indulgence. I'm just another friggin' writer.

No comments: