Friday, October 29, 2010

When the thrill is gone

I haven't been in a good place lately.

No, I don't mean that I've been lurking in back alleyways or sinister bars. I'm talking more metaphorically. As we used to say back in the day, my head is in a bad place.

How so, you ask? Well. My personal life has been a bit, um, precarious the past couple of weeks. Kids and leaking roofs and bitter disappointments. Rinse and repeat. If there truly is a God, then He's been piling on of late.

But perhaps the biggest concern, for me anyway, is my recent reluctance to write. Be it this blog or my new book, I have been avoiding the keyboard like the plague. It's not even a reluctance, actually. More of an intense YAWN. Like, who the frick even cares?

Being an inquisitive little bugger, I've spent several days researching my dilemma and I believe I've stumbled upon the answer.

I am, in a word, paralyzed. (See? I'm a genius, aren't I?)

There's a reason for my nascent malaise, I believe. I suspect (or at least, I hope) some of you can relate. See, I spent so much time earnestly working on The Devil You Don't Know, naively believing that I would write my masterpiece and then, somehow, just get it published!

I mean, duh. Why would I not want to publish it? So, having no clue as to what I was doing, I rolled up my sleeves (as best I could, since I tend to write in tee-shirts) and wrote my book. Only after the two years it took me to write it did I learn enough of my craft to realize that it's JUST NOT THAT EASY.

While I'm not ready to say just yet that TDYDK will never be published, I admit I'm not as confident as I once was.

And now, I've sat down and started writing book two, Empty Spaces. It's a really awesome book, if I may say so myself. Really, really good. I've done my homework. It has pacing, snappy relevant dialogue, a smart plot and enough tension to string it between two electrical poles.

So what, you ask, is my problem?

To be honest, I sit and allow myself to look forward to another year or two of incredibly hard work, only to find myself right here again.

Look, I am a writer. I must write. Or die. It's that simple. But like most of us, I secretly want to succeed at it, to have others read it. To have an agent and ultimately a publisher love it as much as I do.

I want to -- let's be honest here -- make money at this thing called fiction writing.

I would give anything to go back in time, to that point when all I did was sit down and write, without worrying about all the crap that was to come.

So tell me, how do you soldier on when the thrill is gone?

ROLLER DERBY UPDATE: For those who care, my beloved Hard Knocks lost 134-109 Saturday night. It was a great bout and a tremendous success. The place was sold out, alternative rock and roll blared and the media was all over it. Very cool. And the wife took a teeth-jarring hit and bounced right up, although one girl on the other team was knocked unconscious for a few seconds.


  1. I know 'exactly' how you feel.

    Enough said ...

    Hang in there, Terry. I'm sure your zest for writing will return - well, that's what I tell myself anyway.

  2. I take time off when I get that feeling. A week, two. But as you say, if you're a writer, you write. Or maybe it's better said, if you write, you're a writer. And some of us do it. Can't think of not doing it. But taking time off to enjoy life usually helps me and gives me new ideas.

    Sorry your team lost. Glad you wife's okay. That's a darned rough sport!

  3. Thanks Wendy and Cheryl. I've been here before, unfortunately, and it always seems to work itself out. I just need to shut out the world and do it.

  4. I'm in the same boat as you right now, only you are at least working on your second. I started it but am now paralyzed. After blogging consistently for ages, I now have basically dropped it. I wish I knew how to get started again.

  5. Oh my God, do we have to talk. As they used to say back in the day -- I totally relate, man.

    I think we need to plan a meeting. Truthfully, I think this whole solitary writing thing is driving us all over the edge -- because we've sent out our first book and it got rejected. And I'm not saying that's a good thing or bad thing, I'm saying it's a learning thing. Now that we know the process, we wished it had a better outcome and because it didn't, now we have to start all over again. And that just sucks.

    And I totally get the "I am too old for this shit." (even though you didn't say it, I heard it anyway.)

    Maybe we should set up our own conference. Get a bunch of us "goomba's" together for a weekend and just go crazy talking. It might not cure us of our lack of motivation but it would sure be one helluva weekend. Can you imagine?

  6. Ted: I'll make you a deal: If you keep at it, I will. ;)

    Anne: We should. I'll buy the pizza!

  7. I think this is one of the big dilemmas of life. You think your job is amazing until it's not. You love having kids until they drive you crazy. You're in love until the four hundredth time you find dirty underwear in the clean laundry. For a writer, I think this is the point that you start writing whether you feel like it or not and the rewarding bits come intermittently. Just enough to keep you going...

  8. I think you're right, Sierra. In fact, I'm thinking of blogging along these lines tomorrow (since it's Halloween and, well, football is on. Oh, and the World Series. You know...). :)