Happy Fucking New Year

My 2019 resolution is to stop whining about how hard it is to be a writer. And to get published.

I want to start the year off with shit that I’ve learned over the last year. This is not necessarily meant as advice; I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. It might help you if you’re in my position and you feel alone. If nothing else, I think it’ll be hilarious to look back on this when I am published and things are finally going smoothly.


Always be Writing

I’ve always loved writing.. It was a hobby for most of my life; I’d be so inspired by my favourite fictional universe that I’d be itching to create my own characters that lived in it. I’d write when I was inspired—which back then was most days—and only until it stopped being fun. Those first characters were insufferable Gary Sues, and I had a nasty habit of hogging the spotlight and not letting other writers shine.

One of the many internet places were I made a fool of myself.

One of the many internet places were I made a fool of myself.

Back then, I wrote for fun. There wasn’t much that interested me out in the real world, so this was my way to escape. Escapism is still an important part of why I write, both for myself and others. If I can provide escapism the way these fictional universes did, I’ll be seriously proud.

But now, I’m trying to make this my career. That means I can’t just write when it’s fun, when I feel like it, or when I’m drunk and need the escapism. I want this to be my job. Writers who make a living at this are a minority. And if I’ve got the balls to say I want to be one of them, I’ve got to back it up. There’s plenty of days over this past year when I didn’t feel like writing; I’m proud that I still managed to write on most of them. And it’s paid off. I just finished editing a piece I first wrote over a year ago, and I can see the holes in my technique, holes I’ve since plugged through serious practice. I know there’s still plenty of rough bits and nasty flaws in my writing, but maybe with more practice I can fix enough of them that I’ll write something worth publishing.

Take a Fucking Break

This has been the big one. I never thought I’d be a workaholic.

It really hit home over December. I’d just finished the first draft of my second novel and put it aside to let it breathe. Like you’re supposed to. The next morning, I sat in front of my typewriter—yes, I use a typewriter, shut up—and had no fresh clue what to write. I didn’t feel like writing anything. Nothing really spoke to me, no idea burning to get out. I was worried. What if I’d lost it? What if I only had one book in me, and it’s not even any good? So I got to writing something, anything, just to prove I still could. Of course, I hated every bit of it. Didn’t even finish it. So I took a couple days. Then I tried writing something else. Hated that too.

So I stopped. Went a couple weeks without writing much of anything. Then I found a publication looking for short stories, and I happened to have an old short story that fit the bill (after a couple edits). Edited it and submitted it. Did something productive rather than bashing my head against the typewriter.

The point being: I’ve figured out the “write every day” bit. But I’ve disrespected and disregarded the “chill the fuck out” part. I still don’t have it figured out. I’ve got batteries. I’ve been draining them nearly non-stop for over a year. I’ve got to take some time to fill them back up.

I’ve planned to let my book breathe until January 18th (it’s in my calendar and everything). We’ll see if I make it that far. In the meantime, I’ll try and work on short stories here and there, but I won’t push myself too hard. I’ve been having a lot of fun world-building for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I’m running, reading up on different RPG’s, and catching up on gaming. That said, I feel lazy doing it, and I haven’t really given myself permission to rest yet. I need to work on that this year.


Be Patient, Dumbass

I may be bad at taking breaks, but at least I’m great at psyching myself out. I watch my age advance and can’t shake this feeling that I’m late, that I should have started this career a decade ago. The big joke is, I can’t change either of those things, so I’m beating myself up over nothing. I’m usually pretty good at the “sphere of influence/sphere of control” stuff, but with this it’s like it all goes out the window. I want agents to answer my emails now. I want a short story published now. I just want to know if I’m trash or any good, so I can move on or keep trucking.

I want recognition, just to know I’m not bashing my head against the wall for nothing. I’d be happy working in obscurity if I had a consistent cheque that meant I could support myself doing what I love. Because I do love writing. I could do it just for the love, but then everything else would get in the way.

This year, I need to carve the word patience into my fucking forehead or something. Consistently remind myself that I’ve just left the gate, and that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

I’ve learned a lot this past year, and the one before that. Hopefully that continues next year. And who knows? Maybe I’ll even get something published.