On Writing: Wrong Way Go Back ... How My Career As a Writer Died
Some of you may have noticed that I was a bit quiet on here last week.
That happened for a number of reasons, the most relevant of which was that I was preparing my short story Searching For Audrina for publication. It may have been a 7000 word short story, but it was a heck of a big deal for me. It is the first thing that I have released since 2015, apart from anthology inclusions, most of which I had already written and signed contracts for back in 2015. One of these experiences was quite unpleasant, which is why I do not promote or mention the anthology on this blog.
As far as writing and self-confidence goes, the past eighteen months of so have not been easy for me. There is no logical reason for this, I've had very few rejections or negative reviews during this period, in fact I've had some great reviews coming in for my books from around the world, particularly for Best Forgotten which has struck a chord with a diverse cross-section of people, far more than what I had ever anticipated. Cats, Scarves and Liars and Being Abigail are still selling in respectable quantities for an independently published book by a relatively unknown author.
My reasoning, I think, is based on emotion.
When I started writing, I did it for one reason. Because I loved to write. Inevitably, their came a moment when I decided that I wanted to write professionally. I was fifteen. Fortunately, I didn't have long to wait--I had my first article published when I was seventeen years old and still in high school. At nineteen, I had my first short-story published and by the time I was twenty my work had appeared in an anthology that was put together by a well-respected publishing house.
And then ... nothing. After uni, I missed out on a cadetship at The Advertiser and a number of other opportunities to work in the media. I found work at a major supermarket, went back and did more study and ended up with the job I have today, at a major Australian corporation. It wasn't until a few years ago that I started blogging and independently publishing my work. And I'm fairly confident that the opportunities that I've had since never would have happened if I had not forced the issue and put my work out there for the world to see.
The only problem with all of this is that in a lot of ways, it feels as though I have settled for second best. Gone are the days when I used to dream that one day, maybe not today but one day, one of my novels would be picked up by a publishing house. (I don't even bother sending my work to anyone anymore.) Gone are the days when I used to dream of seeing a quote from this blog on the back cover of someone's book. Gone are the days when I used to hope that once, maybe just once, someone would talk about this blog and actually say something nice about it.
The reality is, my career is a farce, this blog is little more than a joke and ... fuck, now they're playing Runaway Train on the radio and it describes pretty accurately how I'm feeling right now. I think in recent times, some part of me is either sleeping or dead, and it's not a nice place to be. I don't have any answers, either, apart from the fact that I'm trying to push on as best as I can.