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The Doubt Killer

Yesterday was one of those days where I seemed to be busy from the moment I work up, right until I was ready to fall asleep.  It makes for a long time staying busy, and busy I was, yes indeed.

I’ve spent a bit of time the during last week where I’ve been discussion writing with a couple of writers, and there is one question that always comes up:  why do some people sell, and others don’t?  Or, better yet, why do some writers seem to attract an audience when others don’t?

It’s a puzzle.  You find yourself wondering how someone can come up with an idea that equates to Hillbillies Aliens + Excessive Racism + Locked in a Spaceship = Their Next Great Novel, and people going, “That’s fantastic!”, and when someone points out that the concept of having a multi-billion dollar colonization effort hinging on a bunch of dimwitted thugs who want to kill each is a Really Bad Idea, they’re told they’re being “too hyper-realistic”, you grow a little upset because you know this is something you wouldn’t write, and you think that by not writing this, by concentrating on your character-driven stories, people are just gonna pass you by and concentrate on the story of The Hatfield and McCoy Feud in Space.

Then you look at your sales, and you can’t help but think, “What am I doing wrong?  Why aren’t people buying me?”  Or, as I said yesterday to my friend, “Where is my Stephen King moment?”  Is the novel I’m working on the one that will get me noticed?  Or do I have to fall back on unicorn porn?

I will admit that after editing and formatting two chapters from Her Demonic Majesty last night, I felt as if I were on the verge of tears.  As much as I want this effort to work, there’s a part of me that’s been like a small voice that keeps whispering over and over, “You’re a born loser, so why bother?  It’s not going to sell, and all this time and effort and money are going to waste.  No one believes in you, just pay the bills like everyone else does.”  It really was that sort of ending, and it’s a wonder I didn’t head off to bed and sob my ass off.

But I didn’t, because the reality is I couldn’t.  I couldn’t because before I went to bed I thought things out . . .

The whole publishing game is an ass.  Do you think Fifty Shades of Grey was bought because it’s great writing?  No.  It was bought because some dink at Vintage Books decided this soft core rapey porn (which if you know anything about BDSM, this is) was going to bring the middle aged Twihard ladies to the Kindle Store, ’cause even though the names have been changed to protect copyrights and prevent lawsuits, everyone knows this is Edward and Bella a-boning, and that’s going to separate a certain segment of the population from their money.

Am I doing that?  No.  I’m trying to write something original, something that’s a bit different, something that lets me connect with my characters and, I hope, pass that connection along to my readers.  I want to tell stories, and that’s a lot of work–

It’s not the easy road to follow.  It’s a bitch.  It will make you hurt.

But when you do make it through . . . you’re gonna feel a lot better.

All I want to do is tell stories for people to enjoy.  That’s it.  If I can make enough money so that I don’t have to haul my ass into Chicago every day, then so much the better.  Until then, I’ll kept at what I’m doing, and try to keep the tears back.

Every day you think you suck more than Carlton Mellick, the doubt wins.

8 thoughts on “The Doubt Killer

  1. I feel your pain and I still haven’t even finished the damn book. The 1st book. Not the second or third. But the first and I’m getting older and I keep thinking why am I working my toosh off doing a job that bores me, when all i want to do is write. But you have to keep believing and not everyone is going to be Stephen King. It sucks but it’s the truth. Enough to pay the bills that’s all I want. Keep being you and doing what you do and eventually the world tips just a little in your favor. But you have to be there when it does. Peace and Joy all the way from good Ole’ Blighty, sent across the seas to you.

    • If I get that Great King Money, so be it. I’ll be happy with a good earning if it means telling stories. Not everyone will be a millionaire, but you can make a living at this. And I keep trying.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!! I can relate to every word. I woke up to an unusually harsh, critical email from a friend who reads some of my stuff. Your commentary about 50 Shades of Grey made me laugh out loud . Thanks again, and never give up your writing.

  3. Cass….You are a beacon for everyone who writes for the love of it. Your candidness, your sharing of the physical and emotional experience of writing is a welcome reality moment for every one of us who continue to write for (mostly) free…and always will. It is very much as if we get to read your (and actually our) personal journal…the real sh*t that most people try hide (because we have been trained to, mostly). I am writing this comment after I already read today’s post, but I read it first…I was looking for a post you had a couple of weeks ago describing the walk into darkness and how it almost “pressed” you awake, but could not find it to go back and give you my dream-reader’s take.
    I will leave you my thoughts/feelings/intuitive impressions about your Paloma dream, but I will go to the post to leave them.
    Keep up the EVERYTHING you do Cass…Big, warm, full throttle love to you!!

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