Thursday, April 29, 2021

Celebrate the Small Things 30-4-21


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small things...

What am I celebrating this week?

I've been terribly unproductive this week, so I don't feel like I have a whole lot to celebrate.  I haven't even touched Juliet and Juliet and while I feel guilty about it, it hasn't spurred me into doing any work on it.

What I'm going to say here is probably not going to be popular, but frankly, I think it needs to be said because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only writer out there who feels this way.

I'm discouraged.

I'm tired of spending time and energy writing and promoting books that generate fantastic reviews, but don't earn me enough money to even cover the cost of the promotions I pay for.  Or even to take a friend out for coffee.  I'm tired of querying agents and editors who either send form rejections or don't reply at all. I'm tired of spending as much time chasing reviewers and book bloggers to talk about my books than I do actually writing them.

I guess basically I'm tired...  I've written 17 novels and more short fiction than I can keep track of.  A lot of this writing doesn't deserve to see the light of day and I'm okay with that.  Some books and stories are just for me.  They were practice runs for the real thing.  But what do you do when you have the real thing?  The book you know is the best thing you've ever written, but no one wants to know about it?  

I think that's what's keeping me from working on Juliet and Juliet.  The certainty that I'll throw my heart and soul into another story for another year or more and still end up with nothing to show for it.  

I was always told that if you work hard, you'll get ahead.  Well, I've been working my ass off at this writing thing for over 15 years now, and I don't feel like I'm a whole lot further ahead than I was when I started.  I have more publishing credits behind me, but I'm starting to feel like those might be more of a millstone around my neck than an advantage.

I'm no closer to being able to give up my day job than I was.  I'm not even closer to being able to work part time instead of full time so I can write without having to get up before dawn to squeeze in a few thousand words.

I'm sure this discouragement will pass.  This is not the first time I've felt this way.  But right now, I'm really not feeling inspired to write or edit or query or submit.  

If you're feeling the same way, know you are not alone.

Sorry...  I know this is supposed to be a post celebrating the good things, small as they may be, but right now I just don't feel like celebrating.  Even the small things.


  1. I've heard it takes 25 to 30 published and well-marketed books to make "job-quitting money." I don't know if that's true, but it's what I've heard.

  2. That's a very relatable feeling. I've often felt my enthusiasm for working on something sapped by discouragement. It'll get better, but that doesn't mean it's any easier now, right?

  3. The problem in finding readers might lie in the fairly esoteric stories you choose to write. The books that sell are fairly straightforward. The premise is simple whether or not the story itself is. I think you tend to mix up the two.

    Conversely, chasing reviews is probably also chasing the wrong thing. In my experience, people don’t really care about reviews. They seek out bandwagons to join. Individual reviews mean nothing. Good reviews from bandwagon effects are mostly generated from people who have already decided they like it (have joined the bandwagon) or hate it (don’t want to join the bandwagon). Rarely is there something other than that in a basic review, even though the best reviews are the very rare ones from readers capable of transcending the norm.

    I’m not saying anything of this as a writer who has found any reasonable estimate of success. I have less than you do. But you’ve fought far harder and had more visible success. You’ve had books published by someone other than yourself!

    If you look at Juliet & Juliet in that context, the context sounds simple enough: Romeo & Juliet, but with two Juliets! Where I think this usually goes wrong is that your pitch instead focuses on an elaborate journey one or two characters has to take. Instead, lean on the twist. The twist itself. I know a shameless writer who endlessly panders to a waiting audience. I don’t know the full story of Juliet & Juliet. I don’t even know if there’s a connection to Shakespeare. (If there isn’t there probably ought to be, in some fashion.) The title alone already draws on the audience.

    You know I’ve sort of scratched my head at the titles some of your books ended up with. With this one, it’s already a thousand percent clearer, so you’re starting from a better place.

    I don’t know. Just my take.