Thursday, December 21, 2006

Down Time

No matter how much momentum I build up, no matter how much I resolve not to, my writing output always seems to grind to a halt around the Holidays.

There are several reasons for this (aside from my usual laziness, that is):

- It's dark. I do a lot of my writing on the bus, and around the solstice, good light is hard to come by.

- It's cold. True, the bus has lights, but they are not very bright on these dark mornings, and it is so cold right now my fingers would freeze up on the keyboard even if I did try.

- I'm tired. I don't just mean my usual laziness or procrastination; this time of year brings with it a bone-weariness that I find hard to work through.

You could helpfully point out that this is why I am an amateur and will never be published yadda, yadda, yadda, but as a Level I player, I might as well take advantage of the one perk I possess, which is, I'm not working against the clock. If I had a paid assignment I needed to finish, believe me, I'd find a way.

But for now, I think I'll just wait for Boxing Day.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Writing for Dollars

I've come to the conclusion I don't write for money, I only wish I did.

I've used the painter/artist analogy before but I'd like to alter it a little as I don't want to compare artists--meaning those people who operate on a different plain--with us normal people.

A person who can make a living at painting (or anything else for that matter) works at his craft and, when he's good enough, goes out and finds people willing to pay him to do it. In my scenario, the painter would canvass potential customers asking, "Do you have anything you want painted?" If they did, he could do it and they would pay him.

Only a stupid person would stay locked in their house, to paint a chair and then, when it was finished, go out and try to sell it. A stupid person, and one who isn't going to make any money.

To bring this analogy into my world, it is unquestionably easier to write an article for an existing market than it is to find a market for a completed article. Yet that seems to be what I am destined to do. I can't help it, really, that's the way I'm wired.

I have tried to learn this skill, but have never been successful. I put my failure down to laziness, a complete lack of market savvy and the fact that I make too much money.

I can see now how a freelance career, in the grand scheme of things, wouldn't really be that difficult to achieve with some dedication and hard work. But at this point in my life, I am not about to quit a well-paying job while I'm struggling to save for retirement and living in one of the most expensive countries on the planet simply for the chance of selling a 2,000 word travelogue for $25. It is simply not feasible.

On the other hand, I have the advantage that a journeyman writer does not have; I can write whatever I damn well please. No one is going to go without shoes or a hot meal because i couldn't sell my latest creation.

I'm not sure how I would want things to be in a perfect world, and I guess it's moot, at any rate. Things are what they are, I do what I do and nothing is going to change that.

With the possible exception of a juicy book deal.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Writer's Groups

Lately, mostly because I'm a bit lazy and these days, I've been hanging around Writer's Sites when I should be writing.

I've always harbored a desire to belong to a writing group, but I wanted to belong to a good one, which is why I am still on my own.

The actual, real-life writer's group I tried here in Sussex was a bit sad. It was little more than a group of people who periodically came together to applaud each other's efforts and self-publish their own books. I never went back.

On-line, there are lots of places for writer's to hang out, but in digging just a bit under the surface I am finding that many of the forum members who claim to be professional writer's with published books are actually self-published as well.

Self-publishing has it's place, but a writer is not (in my opinion) a published, professional author until he is paid for his efforts. Professional means payment, end of story. If you are paying other people to publish your stuff, or if you are still trying to get other people to pay you for your stuff, then you are, my friend, engaged in a hobby.

I guess I need to stop hanging around these non-author writing sites and get back to writing.