Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Writing Shuffle

There's a little dance we do here in the writing world.  Stop me if you've heard the tune. 

Two steps forward, experience paralyzing self-doubt, two steps sideways, dodge falling book sales, two steps back, run into a wall.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 

The order of the steps changes from time to time, but however you go through them, they're all there.  Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get to do step one repeatedly and skip all the others.

I'm stuck in the 'paralyzing self doubt' and 'dodge falling book sales' loop.  No steps forward or sideways.  Thankfully, also no steps back and no wall. 

It looks like this:  "Why bother writing when it's all been done before and no one is buying your books anyway?" 

It sounds like this bit of Cabin Fever from Muppet Treasure Island. "Allemande left, allemande right, it's time to sail or sink.  Swing your partner over the side.  Drop him in the drink."

Yep, it's nuts.

Why any of us put ourselves through this escapes me sometimes.  Then I remember that I have stories inside my head that need to come out.  Getting it from inside my head through all the screaming meemees there onto virtual paper?  Ah, there's the niggle.

I'll get through this.  I always do.  I simply have to tell all those meemees to get the hell out of my way and to shut the hell up.  Or try to dance around them. 

The Writing Shuffle.  It's got a bad beat and you can't dance to it.

Have you done the dance?  Can you think of a better name for it?  Because The Writing Shuffle is kinda lame.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't had a book sale on Amazon in weeks. But then I haven't put a book out in almost a year. One of the panels I attended at RWA Nationals in July was about production equaling sales when it comes to self-publishing. But like you, I'd been caught up in the shuffle for over a year. Total suckage.

    I'm convincing myself that I'm climbing out of that pit. I just finished two books--one about the character, the second where he played a pivotal role. He has a tattoo (biker dude) and he repeats the poem "Invictus" several times during high-stakes incidents. I've heard the poem for years but this time around, it struck and stuck. So it's my motto now. When that shuffle's missteps hit, I say the last two lines in my head and I get back to work. You can do this. I can do this. No matter the odds. No matter the obstacles. We are writers. It's what we do.

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

    Invictus - William Ernest Henley