Anyway, on with the subject at hand.
I wrote a blog post for Black Gate Magazine last week, as I usually do on a fortnightly basis (when I'm not being a total flake. Thanks to my editor for not coming after me with a spiked baseball bat, honestly). I thought I was being just a bit silly while reviewing the writing programme I'm currently using (Reedsy, if you want to know). I received such a lovely comment on it, but it really got me thinking about where I am in my writing journey. I'm sure it was not the intent of the commenter, but it did get me thinking, a little sadly, about why I'm not where I want to be at this stage.
Look, I am incredibly lucky compared to sum. I have a full-time job, which affords me food and shelter, which gives me a little bit of space to create. That's great! It's a stress I don't have.
But it is a double-edged sword. It means I have very limited time to create. And when I do have time, it's not often I have the capacity. Between the commute, the time spent at the job, and the other rigours of life, having the energy to create is something of a struggle, even if I have maybe an hour or two here and there.
I had hoped that, by now, for how long I've been writing and how long I've been published, I would be able to at least cut back on the hours I needed to work for someone else. I had hoped that by now I'd be able to at least support myself with my writing, even if I wasn't especially wealthy because of it.
Granted, much of it comes down to sheer dumb luck. It's not just one's talent or skill, your work needs to hit the right eyes at the right time in the social zeitgeist for the messages it contains (unconscious or otherwise). It's a perfect storm of je ne sais quoi that lets a work just kick off. It can sometimes happen for works whose craft might seem a little... uh... less than deserving. It just hits right at the right time with the right people.
But that's not the totality of it. There's more to it than that; and it's not about being able to afford advertising.
Look, I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I can write. I think I can, in any case (and the comment left on the post I wrote for Black Gate Magazine seems to confirm it). My stories are good; they have a lot to say and are, at least for me, entertaining (I'll leave it up to you to decide if that's actually true). So why, with more than seven published titles, am I still not at home in front of my own computer, writing - instead of at someone else's office, in front of their computer, doing stuff that isn't writing?
The problem is likely one of my own creation. There are fears and blocks, no doubt. I'm not keen on becoming famous, for example. I would love it if my books did - I dream of taking the bus and seeing someone's nose buried in one of my books - but I don't want people to recognise me on the street. And, unfortunately, writing in this day and age requires the author to be out there a lot - on social media, doing interviews, centring themselves in order to sell their stories. That t.e.r.r.i.f.i.e.s me. I hate the idea. It makes me want to retch just thinking about it.
This is something I need to actively work on.
I'm sure there are other issues I need to work through that I haven't discovered yet.
And this is the hard work I will be doing. If I don't want to remain stuck forever where I am, if I want to move forward to the life and vocation I want, that I feel I do deserve, I'm going to have to turn inwards and do a lot of changing. It's going to get uncomfortable. It's going to be difficult. I'm probably going to hate it.
Wish me luck!