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The Past | The Previous

Down Time

"How many copies you sold?" C asks me.

We're talking about Black Sheep.

"Last I heard it was 167," I tell him.

"That kinda sucks."

"Yeah."

Lately, I've been all kinds of down on the writing gig. Career wise, if you want to call it that, I've definitely got this feel of not moving anywhere. Dead book, ignored in my own country, and a few other whiny moments I could add there, but won't cause I hate the sound of my own whine, and there are people much worse off than me. I got cool things, after all: I get nice reviews whenever I get reviewed, I get offers for shit other people don't, and I've made my life the way I want so I can do this gig. Lot of folk can't. Most days, you get the feel that I'm doing better in the pros column than the cons, but I've been working away at this for thirteen years now and, as I've gone through the last few months with limited cash, and a book time line that's increased simply cause of Life during the last year (starting a business, girls, traveling, the usual) it's starting to feel as if I've got more in the negative side, and my little goal, of reaching a point where I can write what I want and be assured of having an audience that justifies my continual publication, feels like its slipped a bit.

I've been talking bout this round my friends for the last few weeks, and they're probably sick of it (S in particular). There's that line in Raymond Carver's 'Why Don't You Dance?', where he notes that the woman in the story is trying to talk it out of herself, to find some way to come to an understanding, or at least peace of it, if you follow, and I've been trying to do that. Sometimes I'll tell myself that a real job with real money and real benefits and real holidays is the ticket, but it never is. I don't much give a shit about any of those things, after all, and you have to do what you love. But it'd be nice if I did have that dead movement feeling. If I didn't feel as if it came from things outside my control, and things that I have done--this blog cuts both ways, after all, and there's a part of the readership who're thinking that going nowhere is what I deserve--and the niggling sense that I might be pushing through the wrong markets for a bit. That last one I'm not sure of, but the thought sits there.

Anyhow, like Raymond Carver says, you try and talk it out of yourself until you stop cause you're good with it. Or something like that.

Mostly, I figure the feeling will hang round till either I hit that sweet patch of things going right, or when I start getting more money, and I can afford to go places, and do things, once again. That shouldn't be so long, I don't imagine, as everything is being dragged back into school.

But, with that said, it's not all whiny bullshit here today.

No. Instead, I also give you Kevin Rudd eating his own ear wax:

Comments

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ashamel
Feb. 1st, 2008 06:11 am (UTC)
I have no solution to any of this.

Especially as you already play World of Warcraft.
benpeek
Feb. 1st, 2008 06:12 am (UTC)
it's a nice, cheap drug to pass the time with, it's true. i'm nearly fully epic. heh.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 1st, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
Hey,

167 copies. You're clearly in decline. Perhaps Alisa could give it a rave review and boost the sales? Really what did you expect? Was that really the novel that was going to set the world on fire. Man, you are truly up yourself if you did. Grow up.
benpeek
Feb. 1st, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
thank you anonymous. clearly you've got balls of steel.
angriest
Feb. 4th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
A person who posts anonymous snarky attacks on the Internet asking other people to grow up. Classic!!
mastadge
Feb. 1st, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
I'll push it on my book club. That may bring it, depending on the week, up to maybe 180 copies. . .
benpeek
Feb. 1st, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
thanks, man. that'd be appreciated.
garykemble
Feb. 1st, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
It's funny, pretty much none of the aspiring writers I've met are ever really satisfied. Including myself.

If you pare it right back to its most basic level, writing is a creative process without a means or an end.

But of course, that's taking the human element out of the equation. Unpublished writers want to be published; published writers want to carve out a niche; and authors who have carved their niche want to grow their reader base and get to a position where they can give up their day job (if they have one).

Matthew Reilly was pretty happy with his situation in life. Maybe you should go talk to him? :)
benpeek
Feb. 1st, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
yeah, matthew reilly is a well adjusted sort, innit? maybe he'll give me a whole heap of tips on life in general.

i suspect you're right about people feeling they're not right on various aspects. i get the audience i want, i'll probably want to grow it. but those are later concerns, really.
coppervale
Feb. 2nd, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
That's a hella great summation of the writer curve.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 3rd, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
Funny thing is, if you hadn't posted that, we wouldn't have known and neither would editors, publishers, and others who have an affect on your career. So the more you post shit like this, and the more you make it sound like you're not doing well...the less you will do well. Congrats!
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