I want to be a writer, but…
Yeah, I know, everyone at one time or another wants to be a writer, painter, photographer or some other type of artisan or craftsman. I do a great deal of writing for my current job but it is of the dry, Joe Friday, “just the facts, ma’am”, kind of stuff that floats around from office to office. Stating the facts, making reccomendations and read once or maybe twice and then never seen again. I try to punch it up and add a bit of my personal style but there is only so much you can do within the confines of authority requests and claim summaries.
I often get compliments on my writing from colleagues and clients. To me that means most people don’t write very well because I don’t consider the writing I do at work to be anything special. I’ve won awards for my writing in high school and college but I have never taken the time to pursue my passion. Sometimes I worry that it really isn’t my passion. I want to be a writer but maybe I’m not willing to do the work to get there. There are stretches of time where I actually spend my spare time writing but those are few and far between. Life gets in the way. Work, travelling for work, studying for professional examinations to advance in a career that I really don’t care about any longer. I won’t say I’m burned out, but just no longer interested. I’ve made a great living for almost 20 years but the passion and excitement just aren’t there anymore and I find myself working hard to check the boxes just to get my ticket punched for a ride I no longer wish to take.
My preferred form is the short story. Maybe it’s because I was raised in the glory days of the sit-com. Thirty minutes is about all the time I’m willing to give anything my undivided attention, so short stories are what I like to read. They are a challenge. You have to work with few characters and develop them quickly. It’s a one act play on paper. The plot has to be bite sized and resolved in an interesting yet efficient way.
Everything I’ve ever read about writing tells you to write what you know. I’ve wracked my brain to try and figure out what I know. It turns out that I’m not a very interesting guy. At least not to myself. Then I read an article about all the people who were making money self publishing erotic fiction. As a joke I wrote three smutty short stories and put them on Amazon under a nom de plume. Much to my surprise, people bought the book. So I wrote three more and once again, they sold. Not a lot, but someone was paying to read my writing. Sure it was verbal porn, but it was writing and people were buying it. I made $100. Barely enough to cover the cost of the stock photos I purchased for the covers but still. I’m a published author. Well, a published author of filthy e-books. It won’t go on my resume but it does help my ego. I even sold a few in the UK, Australia and Denmark. My smut is international.
Where am I going with all of this? I’ve decided to actually write for the next five years. At least 5 pages a day. I do still have to make a living, so my goals are modest. I’d like to finish one short story a month. I’ve begun a journal in which I write my story ideas. I’m interested to see if I can actually get someone to pay for respectable fiction. Something I can tell my wife and mother about. We’ll see. I’ll let you know how it goes. Now I’m wondering if anyone will even read this.