Fear and Loathing in the Writing Life

Welcome to October, everyone!

To fit the occasion, this being the month of fears, the Fictorians will be looking at the things that give us pause, make our hearts pound, or just plain give us grief.

That’s right, we’re looking at the darker side of the writing life.

As writing hobbiests, when our scribblings are just to feed that hungry monster in our souls that demands we create worlds all our own and put those worlds and the people that live in them on a page, we don’t have to deal with anything we don’t want to. We can live in our heads, playing with our characters to our hearts content, and be perfectly happy doing so.

It’s not until we decide to make a living off those worlds and characters that we run into trouble. After all, no job is perfect. They all have negatives. Writing is no different.

Actually, it might be a little worse.

In a normal job, we can say, “Hey, that’s not my responsibility.” Often, we can procrastinate, we can ask for help, or push whatever it is on to someone else. Or, we have to grin and bear it until we’re done, but hey…we’re getting a steady income that pays for shelter and food for our trouble.

Not so in the life of an aspiring author.

All of us in this business face things that we don’t particularly want to do or aren’t good at, especially those who take the self-publishing route. And in this day and age, going with a publishing house doesn’t mean you get to hide away in your underground bunker to type away and cackle like a mad genius.

Everything is our responsibility. We are self employed introverts, for the most part, so there are no coworkers to push the work on, or to help us, and procrastination just means it takes that much longer before we get the payoff. We always have to grin and bear it, not for a steady paycheck, but for the chance of an advance or royalty that could be steady, but for the most of us, not big enough to live on or balance out having to earn it.

Good thing we’re not in it for the money, right?

No, we’re in it for the love. Our love of words and worlds and characters. The hungry monster in our souls cares nothing for paltry trinkets and paychecks. But when they’re fed, we’re over the moon.

So, we deal because we get to feel that anticipation when inspiration strikes and we know we’re off to someplace new, that satisfaction of finishing something uniquely ours, that pride at inviting other people into our creations and knowing they enjoyed it there. At least, that’s why I do it. I don’t know about you.

So, this month, we and some of our friends, will be sharing stories about having to face the less enjoyable parts of being an author and how we’ve dealt with it, from fears of not finding an audience, to dealing with catastrophic book launches and writing induced injury.

We all have to face the fears of not being good enough, or the hassle of being our own promoters, or dealing with our own real life antagonists. So read on, my friends, commiserate with us, and join us as we conquer our writing fears and professional loathings.

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