Day 9: The All for Nothing Syndrome

I'm not trying to be cute here, but honestly, am I the only person who has worked to completion on various projects only to see them go out into the world and then wonder if "it was all for nothing?"  I don't know and I don’t think so.  I don't mean it in the sense that there was no value to what I had tried to finish, but rather, just wondering if the sacrifices of time, comfort and connection with others in these solitary moments of cranking out a manuscript are or will be worth it.  

I have a small confession to make.  The Son of San Diablo: A Manifest Galaxy Novel is still "finding its audience."  Translation: I've sold a few copies, but I've given away a lot more.  Reviews of the book have been good and not every single one has been solicited.  Those are nice things to have. 

On the other hand, one of my kids (I think in a moment of pity, curiosity and/or kindness) took it up as an assignment to read and then do a book report in school shortly after it had been published.  What parent wouldn't be excited, proud and maybe a little nervous to have their own offspring read something they published and put it out in the world?  Well, I suppose I had nothing to worry about.  A couple months after she had turned in the report, she confessed to me that she had never finished the book.  I asked if she'd at least gotten to the part regarding the miscarriage and sad to say, she didn't know about it.  That's in the first 50 pages from what I remember.  

Honestly, that right there should be enough source material for a short story or something...

So, why am I telling you this?  Well, at the moment, if you are reading this, my analytics tell me that you might be one of the few persons in Norway or one of the three or four people in Germany who seem to like to check in once and a while.  There are the Canadians, but the ones who intrigue me the most and keep coming back to check in are people from Russia and that area of the world.  I'm guessing somewhere out there, at least one of you, in one of those countries (that is not the United States of America) has wanted to get published and see your name in print.  Maybe something I'm saying here is valuable to you.

To you, wherever you are, in whatever country you live, here is one simple truth:  Writing to the finish is hard. Promoting your own work seems to be harder.  

My Brain is like an Apartment Building...

...And I'm the landlord who must evict the tenants that come in the form of stories.  

I wish I could take credit for such a great metaphor, but that was my brother, Ken’s doing.   You should check out his website sometime at www.kenlonclark.com.  Recently, I encouraged him to take some of his more cinematic ideas that aren't getting traction in La La Land and translate them into novels.  Even if the novels are published independently (in the old days, it was derisively called self-publishing) on Amazon, he could feel good about getting the stories out there and the prospect of getting paid once in a while, when someone bought a book.  Thus the metaphor above was born.

I'm no different from you or anyone else.  I write with the goal of publication.  More importantly, I write so that someone, anyone out there, will read my work.  The dirty little secret is that you are going to struggle to get people to read what you write.  More difficult will be most of your friends and even harder will be your family.  I don't know where that struggle comes from, but rarely should you ever expect a member of your family to read your work.  I'm making my way through Lawrence Block's classic Telling Lies for Fun and Profit and he laments this problem as well somewhere in the middle of the book.  It just happens.  

I can count on one hand the family members who have struggled through the slog that I suppose is The Son of San Diablo:  My brother Ken (Thanks, Bro) and my wife, Cara (Love you, babe).  I have about the same number of friends who finished it as well.  Other than that, I get: "Oh yeah, I started on the book and it was pretty good, but I got distracted." Translation: It didn't hold my interest enough to keep going.  

Perhaps the problem isn't family or friends.  

Perhaps the problem is me.  Or maybe it's the book itself.

Maybe I'm the problem.  In corporations, they call this "owning the problem" which they view as a good thing.  In psychiatry, they also refer to it as "owning the problem," but they say it is a very negative thing.  

Maybe I won't bother to publish this particular post.  After all, doesn't it sound like I'm bitter over not getting any recognition for work?  Perhaps.  Or I could just chalk it up as an honest assessment of where things are for me at this point in time and dust myself off and keep going. 

And that is a good reason to use a pen name next time.  I don't have to get guilted into sending copies of my books to friends and family. I also won't make anyone feel bad for not finishing their creative work, whatever it might be.  

Oh well, it's all good.  I live in America and I publish books I wrote on the side and I'm glad to be alive.

Daily Starting Total: 13 756

Daily Finishing Total: 14 274

Daily Word Count: 518