Once upon a time I was happily writing away with tons of ideas and scenes and characters I couldn't wait to visit. I had good reviews, ugly reviews, and on a good month I sold three whole books!!!!! Golly. A person could make money at this - and enjoy it!
And that is when I fucked up royally. I started reading all about how to promote my books, sell books, and from there into how to write books that would sell, then how to write books. How to mash whatever story was in your crazed imagination into a genre that readers would recognize and buy, buy, buy. How to force your free form story into a rigid structure that would sell, sell, sell because readers are clearly so stupid they have to be spoon fed carefully in a certain order exactly what they expect. What, are you all autistic or something?
I read all about how to write a blog and post comments and mention articles about the subject you write about if you write non-fiction. Since my only non-fiction is about dialysis, and I read more of the latest up-to-date information on dialysis than any nephrologist or dialysis nurse I've ever met, I figured I could do that. I am forever telling them about new research or a new drug that they never heard of and don't give a shit about because it isn't on their companies syllabary anyway. Why not inflict that on all three of my blog readers, too? Yeah! Maybe I could do something good in the world. (And then I learned that peritoneal dialysis likely was the base cause of hubby almost dying last year. They could have stepped in earlier and prevented it getting that far - but where's the profit in that? So I've lost the faith, so to speak, in that methodology and am now questioning if I want to promote it.)
But sadly, the world of the Internet has changed and since I am not writing at the Huffington Post or The Info Wars, who gives a fuck? You couldn't find a blog post of mine if you searched with the post title, the blog title, and my exact name. We are all freaked out that the corporations are going to take away the Internet freedom? Wake up people, it's a done deal.
Oh yeah, I forget. I should have a mailing list of millions so I can beat the hell out of their inbox every single fucking day with inane shit and buy, buy, buy my book and thanks if you did, forward this to your friends and give me their email, too, so I can beat on them until they buy.
I read extensively. Fiction, non-fiction, everything I can get my hands on. I've read so many "Indie" Kindle books that are backed by some "let us publish and promote your book" company who probably charged the author thousands while propping up their ego and not mentioning that the book was AWFUL. Barely literate. Read like they were written by a four year old. Whose first language was not English. But I guess they did follow the plot structure laid out by blahblahblah in their book madomadmado.
But they had 1000 5 star reviews, were featured in every single newsletter and on Facebook, and on Twitter, and every place else they could shove it up your nose. Gushy reviews from paid reviewers on book websites. While Amazon is removing reviews a real indie author without a big budget might have gotten by giving a copy of their book away. (By the way, I never got any of those anyway - I could never figure out how to give a book away unless I bought a copy and I cannot afford it)
The days of simply writing a good book and hoping someone reads it are gone. I figured out the other day that my chances of one of my good novels being discovered is approximately the same as purchasing a lottery ticket and winning the MegaMillions. Actually, I may have a better chance at the MegaMillions jackpot. Especially since I took down all my really good novels, because none of them fit the mold and I had to choose a BRAND and then I could only write one kind of book for that BRAND and would have to create an entire extra persona for each type of book I might write because apparently readers are too stupid to deal with the idea that someone might write a mystery AND a literary novel AND sex AND childrens books AND Non-fiction. Because you know, writers are too stupid to have knowledge of more than one subject and more than one step by step book formula.
And it would be just as random as winning the lottery. I mean, some of the GARBAGE I've read that had a bazillion stars and gushy reviews. Well, I take that back, I don't really read past the first few pages anymore. So many books, so little time. And I still want to read through all of Dean Koontz back catalogue. Now that man can WRITE.
Anyway, it's very clear to me that quality of writing, a good story, has little or nothing whatsoever to do with landing on the best seller lists, or recommended titles, or whatever. I used to think that in the end the readership would thin out the herd of wannabe Indie writers. But I've come to see that "readers" like "voters" are sheeple led by the corporate overlords, without ever seeing the puppet strings that lead to their facebook page or inbox and what ads they see or do not see. So rather than the good writers eventually rising to the top, the flood has only elevated the flotsam and jetsam of the debris to the surface while threatening to drown the reader with sheer volume. No wonder people just read whatever Amazon is advertising that day.
Every single person who is teaching you how to write says you have to write every single day. Two hundred words, one thousand words, an hour, eight hours, and you have to crank out book after book in boilerplate style, each one exactly like the others with only the character names changed because otherwise you confuse your readers. Because readers are so stupid, I guess. And because the way to get rich is to have a huge back list of identical books to read. Preferably in a series.
Now I've never written every day. I'm more of a binge writer. I get a great idea and I cannot let it go until it is all down on the page. I can write 10,000 words in a day and not write for a month, then write 10 or 20 or 30K more.
But conventional wisdom is every single day. Two hundred a day. Like a hammer pounding a nail into my coffin. For the first time in my life, I had writers block. In 55 years I have never not had a million ideas swirling around struggling to pour out of my head. But now they all stand back, no one willing to jump off that cliff and bounce all the way down the jagged rocks of self-criticism and doubt, so they can land at the correct slot at the bottom or be twisted and turned and mauled until they fit.
I literally rolled a dice to pick a WIP - one of many. Then I sat down and did background, world building, character sheets, and even a pantser friendly plot. I've written 3000 words of the most boring, depressing, uninteresting crap I have ever written in my life. It's horrible. I hate it. I cannot face trying to fix it or go on with it. This was a story that was once over 30K only halfway done that I loved and couldn't get enough of. If it was on paper I'd burn it now.
If I could bring myself to publish it, I guess it would sell?
I have successfully learned to be so severely self critical I can no longer write at all. I am miserable. I am slipping rapidly into depression and PTSD flashbacks about how worthless I am. How weird I am. How different I am. How much everyone in the world detests and hates me because I am different. Given our current political climate where different means you should be beaten to death by the police as the crowd cheers - well, it doesn't help any. And I seem to have moved to a place where most of the people around me think I am SO WEIRD and worse, a mean, horrible interfering bitch who actually expects people to DO THEIR FUCKING JOB CORRECTLY - which apparently is not politically correct nowadays.
No, I am not suicidal. Please don't write me about how BAD I made YOU FEEL because you couldn't HELP me by calling the authorities and turning me in as suicidal! How dare I post something that made you think I was so miserable. Oh, yeah, and you who sent me that message. Go fuck yourself. I never once mentioned suicide. What, people cannot be unhappy in your sparkly little world? After all, there's a pill for that! So sorry!
So. I'm done. No more self promotion. No more sharing hopeful and true stories about dialysis since the establishment wants you to think it is a life of misery and wallowing in self pity, until the miracle kidney transplant turns the world into rainbows and unicorns. I will not follow that party line - because is it a dead ass lie and like many lies in the medical world, meant only to enrich doctors, hospitals, and drug companies while causing more misery and suffering than they alleviate.
And I can't write fiction. At least not right now. And if I did write anything, I sure as fuck would not publish it. Under any name. Because it won't follow the party line on fiction and genre either, and I can't pay a shit load of money to someone to "help" me promote it, only to still make the same pennies a month. I really cannot waste any money at this point in my life on dead end, pointless shit. And I really don't know if I want to waste any time on anything that isn't ever going to make me any money that is so much effort for no return.
I can't even write porn. I've read that "erotic romance" stuff and it turns my stomach. It is so badly written that even the sex scenes are painful for someone who has actually HAD sex a few times - with other people even. And the reviews of my work is *gasp* it's so...so...BLUNT. Yes, dear, a dick, is a cock, is a penis - not his staff of light or his magic wand and your's is a vagina, pussy, or cunt, but certainly not your "lady parts" going all "tingly" at the sight of his six pack abs. (Turns and vomits into a pan) And my characters actually LIKE sex, so they don't have to pretend they fell madly in love and knew he was their one and only the moment they laid eyes on him so that it is okay to actually have sex an hour later because they are soul mates. Or because the oogabooga magic forced them to. My characters go, hey, sexy, wanna fuck? And the other one says, sounds like fun. And then they fuck. And it's fun. And they part and go on with their lives. Unless it was so much fun they want to do it again some time.
2 of the 3 blog readers I might have just fainted. And called me a promiscuous whore when they woke up. Yes, I am different. Weird. And everyone hates me for it. My cruel, abusive, psychopathic mother was right after all. (Cue more flashbacks)
So I'm going to go fold some origami. I'm thinking about picking up the supplies to make cute little bead animals again. I'll leave them here and there where someone can find them and maybe pick them up with a smile (since they don't realize the weird awful person they stare at every other day made it). I'll feel like, hey, I brought a little beauty and maybe a little smile into the world.
Because I can't write any more. There is no joy left here.