Confessions of a Writer

I don’t usually post on a Friday, but it suits the situation in a sense.

For a while, maybe a year, I haven’t felt a writer’s motivation. In fact, with some exceptions here and there along the way, I have been struggling with the purpose of continuing.

Perhaps every creative type goes through it at some point. In fact, this is probably so. But like vomiting, the fact that everyone has at some point done so is no comfort to one who is in the midst of doing same. It’s just as lousy a feeling.

My writing as a whole, this blog included, is simply not reaching people. It’s not inspiring thought, engaging interest, provoking questions, or even entertainment. The lack of feed back would indicate that I’m just not producing, perhaps have never produced writing that is worth reading for most people.

Of course, marketing is some part of it. Anything goes better with a limitless marketing budget. I could have a million dollars and still not move anybody with my writing, though. It may increase visibility, but in the end, the true connection a writer such as myself seeks with readers can’t be bought with marketing, only suggested.

To come at that from another angle, while I confess that marketing has more than zero impact on my lack of success, the results remain the same even once I started building a marketing budget; almost nothing happens.

My great confession, and one I  have alluded to before is this; the process means nothing to me, if in the end it doesn’t reach someone. That sounds like a writer’s cardinal sin if you read the lion’s share of advice out there for would-be writers. If it is, then forgive me writer, for I have sinned. But the time, energy, stamina, anxiety, etc, put into creating even a modest book does not happen for me in a vacuum as it does for (apparantly) so many writers. I’m not in love with the process of writing for its own sake. It is the tool I have attempted to use to reach people. Move and shake them. Make them laugh, make them think. (I’m not big on trying to make people cry, to tell you the truth, except here and there.)

The actual clicking of the keys or the scraping of the pen on paper is not my reward, I’m sorry.  Like an actor performing in front of a totally empty house, (another situation with which I am familiar), the driving, force seems missing when I write for zero readers. Performing on stage with nobody watching once rehearsals are done is mix of embarrassment, anger and sudden on-set depression. It’s a confluence of non-violent unpleasantness that makes one sick in a way that cannot be explained to those who have not been on stage with any accuracy. It is probably, by shades, a worse situation than writing for zero readers, because of the immediacy of the assault. But not by much.

Writing, fiction in particular, that nobody reads, or that know reader feels moved enough to offer feedback about is, forgive my frank and unartful phrasing, shit.

My fourth novel, due out in September, goes on as planned. This blog continues. But beyond those things, I am in earnest when I say I don’t know what to do about this feeling of pointlessness that encompasses the writer’s component of me. Quit writing? Dive further into marketing? Find a meditation regimen which results in my ability to accept getting no where? Keep going anyway because…writing?

I don’t know. At this exact moment, I am not even certain how to go about starting to know.

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3 Comments

  1. I think this sounds very normal for any writer. I can’t imagine there are many writers out there who only want to write for themselves. For myself, I would say I have a mix of internal and external motivations.

  2. Yes. I must get back to a wider perspective, that allows me to hold on to the internal while the external is, for the time being, frustrating.

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  1. The Pen is Mightier…For Now | Ty Unglebower

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