Every once in a while, I have a day where I can cut through all the B.S. in my head and just sit down and start writing. My major goal in life is to figure out how this happens and make it happen more often.
Today I woke up with a small idea for a story in my head. I sat down to try to write it. I wound up writing something else instead. That’s okay. Part of why it worked is I followed where the idea took me, not where I had expected it to take me.
The resulting story (short story, 4000 words) is now up as a patron-only piece on my Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/AlexandraErin).
I know that part of the B.S. in my head is that the kinds of stories I like to write—and the plural is used deliberately, as it’s not like I write just one kind—don’t sell easily. They tend to be longer and more introspective. I don’t always have a traditional plot or the conflict that people are looking for. The story I wrote today falls into a niche that I’ve started calling “eldritch realism”… stories that are to horror what magical realism is to fantasy. It’s not a horror story. It’s kind of like a Lovecraft story if, when faced with something unfathomable, people in Lovecraft just shrugged and got on with their lives.
I also know that Patreon is really an ideal solution to the problem of writing things that I know people want to read but I don’t know who’d want to publish. That’s basically what it’s there for. You can support me directly, if you like to read the sorts of things I like to write, and you can read them.
But the feeling of “But how can I sell this?” still stops me dead in my tracks far too often. I know the market as it exists is not actually a referendum on anyone’s value. There are a lot of externals, a lot of hidden biases, a lot of randomness, a lot of confluences of circumstance, that flow together to make the market what it is at any given moment. I’ll tell anyone else who’s writing for themselves not to mistake the market’s actions for a judgment of their worth or the worth of their work, and I’ll mean it. I’ll mean every word and hope they believe me.
But it still gets me sometimes.
I’m having a good week so far. I’m a little gunshy about observing when I’m having a good week. It’s like I’m afraid I’m going to jinx it. But yesterday I designed and posted a monster, which sparked some inspiration that might turn into a new D&D pamphlet, and I wrote a filk song. Today I wrote 4,000 contiguous words of fiction that I’m happy with. That’s good.
Sometimes I make a post like this and people (who, I’m sure, are mostly well-meaning) tell me not to focus on the negative or stop dwelling or whatever. They miss the point that if I’m talking about my problems, that means I feel good enough to confront them. A lot of my blogs over the years have had a tagline along the lines of “quietly thinking out loud”. I’m not necessarily writing them so that people can keep up with me, though you’re welcome to do that. I’m definitely not writing anything here looking for advice, unless I explicitly say so. Most of the time, I’m just working through things, the best way that I know how.