Taking Stock

–I haven’t read a book of prose since October.

–I haven’t sold a short story in a year.

–I sure haven’t sold this novel.

–I have written a (one) story in the past…um…probably also since October.

–I think I’ve been doing good work at the Scene and the drugs definitely help me feel like I’m not on the verge of getting shot or murdered in some other way by my commenters so I’m going to score that twice.

–I got to write for the Washington Post and they’ve asked me to come back again in February for a few posts.

So, I’m going to be honest. I threw everything I had into that novel. I know I have always had anxiety and I know it increases as you age, but I also suspect that writing the novel and trying and failing to sell it exacerbated the problem. And I feel like I’ve been nursing some wounds and trying to get back to the feeling of why I love fiction in the first place. But it’s taking me longer than I’d like.

But also, if I’m being honest, I sometimes wonder why I want to be a good fiction writer so much when I’m doing pretty okay in the non-fiction department. But also, I suspect, if I wanted it as bad on the non-fiction side, I’d be in just as much agony about where I am there, too. So, I still think that my attitude toward non-fiction, “this is what I do because it is interesting to me and we’ll see what happens” is the right one. And I’d like to get back to that place with fiction.

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2 thoughts on “Taking Stock

  1. This sounds so familiar. I tried and failed to sell my first manuscript (really, the third novel I’d written, but the first one worth a damn). I went through a great many rejections (and my fav: the resounding silence of no response at all) trying to sell the one that did finally make it. I came this . close to quitting altogether. I mean, shit. I’m a good teacher. It’s fulfilling. And knitting is a damn sight more satisfying as a hobby, ffs, I can SEE the progress and there’s a THING at the end of it. But nothing else makes me as miserable/happy as fiction, so….

    All I can say is keep writing, which sounds so trite, but that’s the only trick I know.

  2. Right? I enjoy and find my nonfiction work very fulfilling. But it doesn’t feel magic the way writing fiction does. I don’t look back at posts I made five years ago and think, “Wow, how did that happen? How could I do that?” the way I feel when I read a story that really works from that long ago.

    There’s a tingle I get up my back when I read a story I wrote and I see that it’s working. And I don’t get that feeling from anything else.

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