…and it feels so good? Actually, yeah: I am pretty pleased with myself for getting things done, even though a lot of it was really frustrating. I got Books 2 and 3 up on Amazon and Smashwords, and Amazon finally put through my cover and internal update for book 1 So that’s all good. It was pretty frustrating that it took Amazon so much longer to update the thumbnail for book 1 than everything else, but… whatcha going to do? I also have to make some edits to the contents of all three books for Smashwords, because Smashwords’ meatgrinder didn’t like some of the formatting. That’s frustrating, but not really critical: the books are still available on both sites, Smashwords just won’t be forwarding them on to other affiliates until I get in there and edit the paragraph style not to have extra before/after spacing (which I could’ve sworn I got rid of! Maybe there’s a before line spacing on the chapter headers I overlooked? I dunno, that’s a problem for another day.)
What got me last night was thinking about prices. :/ Ultimately, it shouldn’t really matter. For now at least, I’m writing to tell a story that I enjoy and I want it to be freely available — that’s a huge part of the reason I opted to go with a web serial. (There were other reasons, too, like: an audience would hold me accountable to continue updates, or: prior to getting on anxiety meds I literally could not make myself submit my stories to the judgement of a publisher.)
On the other hand, I do dream of some day supporting myself through my writing. I want the validation that would come with seeing that dream realized. But more than that… I want to be working for myself. I guess… well, after having spent so much time pretending to be someone I’m not and doing my damnedest to live the way I thought everyone else wanted me to, I’m at a point where I really, really don’t like the thought of spending the majority of my time working on someone else’s dreams. And, okay, the income from my day job is great — it keeps us afloat and covers our medical expenses — but when you get right down to it, I’m currently spending fifty hours a week following someone else’s dream. Figure in eight hours a day for sleep (or trying to sleep) and there’s 64 hours left over. Say half of that goes to housework, traveling to and from work, being at work for unpaid lunch hours, shopping and errands… and I’m down to 32, some of which will go to trying to unwind from work, being spent with friends and family, etc… but, okay, let’s say I get in a good 32 hours of writing a week (that’s actually, I think, I rather large overestimation. You know, I should track that.)
Anyway, the fact that I spend that much more time doing something that I don’t intrinsically care about over something I am passionate about is a huge source of psychic dissonance for me. I often catch myself looking at something I’ve been writing and thinking: ‘What the hell happened? This should be done — I should have dozens of books out by now. Why do I keep exiling myself to a cubicle every day?!’
Of course, there are plenty of reasons: starting with the fact that in the past I was too scared to try and pursue my writing. Even as a kid, whenever I told adults I was going to be an author I was invariably told “as long as you plan for a real job, too.”
And, frankly, it does feel a little selfish. I mean: lots of people have to work jobs they absolutely hate (I actually enjoy mine at times, it’s just not personally fulfilling and it can be horrifically boring) so why do I think I deserve any better? How elitist am I?
Ideally, though, I’d like everyone to have productive work that they found personally fulfilling. And, like I said: I’ve spent enough time — more than enough — doing things that I hated because they were expected of me, ignoring who I am and what I want.
And now I really feel like I’m starting to ramble, so I think I’ll cut this off. the upshot is: I want to write for a living. I don’t expect that to be practically feasible anytime in the near — or even foreseeable — future. But if that’s my goal, then trying to sell my books is something I’ve got to deal with. And it’s just my misfortune that it dredges up some of my worst insecurities: the fear that I’m a fraud, that no one else will consider my stories of value; that the dream will end up dashed.
Ah well, nothing to do but to move forward, right?
Thanks for reading me vent,