Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I must do it a hundred times a year. Writing a story is bliss. The industry is hell. I suppose that's true for most artists these days, sadly.

It saddens me more to read about authors quitting for good. Last weekend, another one gave up for the reason above. She couldn't take all the promo.

It can be exhausting. And for someone so behind the times as me, nearly impossible to navigate. I have a Twitter account but am a dunce at it - my tweets generally come from my FB page. I know I should take the time to learn to use it, but I don't use my phone for online tasks, and I already use too much computer time on marketing stuff. I did a rough tally of time I spend online versus writing, and writing time has taken a huge hit. Something I can barely afford because life interrupts too often.

Then there's the turmoil within the publishing industry itself. Amazon's letter asking writers to plead with Hachette was almost laughable. It brought to mind the dialogue in the movie Red, when the CIA held the girl in custody and said if she wanted to save the guy, she had to help the CIA. Her response: "You're asking me for help? That is so lame. He's going to eat you alive."

Yeah. Something like that, Amazon.

But enough about their drama. I disconnect from all that when I write. My laptop has no Internet connection and I can focus on the story alone (except when I need to do research, then I have to switch to the desktop).

Apparently, the state of the publishing industry has gotten to many writers. It's becoming more frequent to read about writers who quit. These writers are a good example of the frustrations we all go through. And also the reasons we keep writing.

Lately, it's felt as if the universe is pushing me toward something else. I don't put a lot of stock in horoscopes, but if I did, I'd note the increasing trend of them telling me to switch occupations if I want to make money.

That's the real issue. Compensation. People in third world countries earn higher salaries than many writers. In fact, my hubby's helping me with a side project related to my photography that I may share later on if it actually develops (no pun intended. Well, a little maybe).

So am I quitting? No more than usual. Maybe after I finish the dozen WIPs I've started. Oh, and I had a few more killer story ideas...


Maria Zannini said...

Apologies in advance. This is going to be long.

Several years ago when self publishing was just a blip on the radar, I was at a writers' conference. We had just finished listening to a speaker talk about promotion. The lady next to me huffed at her companion and said that she wasn't going to write anymore. It was too much trouble for the energy required.

She wanted the 'old' model of publishing where the writer wrote and the benevolent dictator that was the Big 6 (at the time) would take care of everything.

At first, I thought it was sad. But if I may play devil's advocate, is it?

So what if we lose another voice in literature? How many voices do we not read because they're in another language, or another subculture?

Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in 'voices'. Most of them sound alike, but how can I find the individual that resonates with me when so many others are drowning him out?

And then it begs the question, do the ones that shout the loudest and push the hardest, the best? Probably not. But then that's what the Big 6 used to do too. They pushed the author that they thought would make them the most money, not the one whose words could enlighten a world.

In the end, the chips fall where they may. Life is too short to bang your head against a wall. As long as it's not draining the family coffer, people should do what makes them happy. When we die, we'll not worry about what books we wrote (or didn't write), but for the family we leave behind.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I keep trying to quit but the world won't let me. Right now I'm committed to one more round. We'll see what happens after that.

Cate Masters said...

Very true, Maria. Right now life is piling on the expenses but I have nothing to contribute toward the greater good, and though hubby bears the weight of it all with grace and silently, I'm plagued with guilt. I'd find a "real" job if I didn't have grandboys to raise, but that's another conundrum, lol.

Good luck, Alex. Do what's right for you, and what you love.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It is so difficult to try and do it all. I keep reminding myself not to let it stress me but it still does sometimes. Don't ever quit.