Tuesday 29 November 2011

The shape of it

I've had a good think about my future in the genre, and I'm continuing to think. Right now, a double-track approach seems to make the most sense. The melodrama and the hate mob have driven me to reconsider whether I do want to stay in the genre. The messages of support and love and several versions of "don't leave me!" have made me reconsider how much power I'm giving the haters over my writing and the Muse.

Make no mistake, the Muse is still having dinner with the dodo, wherever they are. Not a wingbeat, no words, thoughts, or images coming from him, so as far as the writing urge is concerned, I'm currently "healed", like I haven't written a word in my life and can go happily on living without ever writing another word. There's an interesting calm in that emptiness, in the absence of story. Like a haunted house suddenly exorcised. A schizophrenic healed. Awakening after a night crammed full of dreams and nightmares. Deep breath - calmness - meditative silence.

It's odd not to be writing. All the time I have now for reading. The pre-Christmas stress seems manageable. Above all, I'm getting to bed at a reasonable hour. This is how "normal" (non-writing) people live. It's nice. No obsessing about word counts, no submission stress (I have nothing out there to sell, and nothing even remotely ready to go out anytime soon - the emptiness also characterizes the state of my projects folders).

I know, rationally, that I'll need to write the last parts of Dark Soul, but, as I said, not one wingbeat. I know, roughly, what'll happen, and that used to be a state I could rely on to carry the writing, but I've stared at a white screen long enough now to know that it's not that easy. I might have entered a prolonged dry phase (I've been dry for three weeks now). No writing at all. I've had a few of those earlier in my career. The longest was two years. I suffered like an animal in that time. Short dry spells can be anywhere between a few weeks and a few months.

I don't know, and I'm not going to stress over it. I'm just saying I'm pretty sure I can blame outside forces for it. The Muse asks "why bother" and "for what", whenever I get him to talk.

I'm working on finding an answer, but that's the rational part of me. What I want back is the ability to fall into my story and feel the passion for writing and for sharing a story with anybody outside myself (I'm happy to entertain myself, but I can do that day-dreaming without the hard work of actually sitting down and typing it all up. I can entertain myself with a novel-length day dream in one day and enjoy that for a week).

It doesn't help that everybody around me (in real life) tells me I'm "too good for that". Part of me knows, and that's why those words are gaining so much traction - I've done THAT dance before, I know the markets, I have the contacts, I can actually sell in the mainstream if I really, really want to. It means a lot of work and networking, might involve switching back into German, might involve building a totally new writer persona online. It's all daunting and complex and exhausting - last thing my Muse needs. I've been writing m/m because it's what I'm good at, what's natural for me, because it's fun and because of the readers.

But that doesn't mean I don't, ever, have mainstream ideas. And at the same time, I'm already pushing that particular envelope, and it might just be one more step to re-enter that realm.

For the moment, I've removed all "In the Works" projects from my website, because I think that some of the things I'm working on can go into the mainstream and those might need to go under a new pseudonym (I'm working on a few, but none has yet "clicked" for me), and because I have no visibility how many projects will actually happen. I had a pile of about twenty projects that I might potentially want to do, but after the last month, the life has been leached from all of them.


  1. I'm glad you're feeling good with where you're at.

  2. I don't know about you, but I find breaks are a natural part of writing. That's one of the benefits of self-publishing, I guess, the only deadlines I face are my own. While I do rely on travel writing to make a living, that's more a matter of research and organization, which doesn't take a lot of 'feeling'.

    Writing fiction is something I do for myself, so I'm inclined to just give a rest when it becomes too much like work. It seems to be that inspiration often strikes when I'm the most distracted - at the gym or on the road researching.

    So, while you're a much more experienced writer than I am, my advice is to give it a rest and stop even trying. Take a vacation, get away from it all.