Some of you may have noticed that my creative output over the past few years could be optimistically called "sporadical." If I am to return to writing for people other than myself, I believe it prudent to explain where I've been, and what it mean beyond that point.
I love posts like these because they afford me the chance to navel-gaze a bit. This is a crucial point to the whole thesis of this post (and any future topic-related posts, and I promise you all nothing) - writing what *I love*. But more on that in a bit.
In the months leading up to the release of the candy book, (buy a copy today!) something happened to my mindset regarding writing, something that I wasn't able to put my finger upon until recently.
If getting a book contract with a major publisher requires goal setting, a certain level of adaptability, and the ever required level of hard work, then so does shaping one's career after obtaining said book contract. But here's the tricky bit: what worked during the stage in acquiring the contract would have to evolve in the stages afterward.
I knew this, to a point. I knew that my writing would have to get better. But how I promoted myself would also have to change, as well as how I sold myself. And when I compared the level of effort needed when compared to my time available - a variable heavily influenced by my possession of a full-time aerospace engineering job - I decided to take the easiest path and focus on my already established career.
My pocketbook welcomed that news. As anyone who has stepped into the professional food writing arena can tell you, as a career is not the most lucrative of endeavors. There are rare exceptions, of course, but they are rare for a reason.
After this choice - which as formal as it sounds in this post - I pulled back from writing. The world, as it is want to do, moved on without me.
The problem that surfaced from this decision was predictable. My depression reared its head.
My work at the engineering firm was...fine. I wasn't truly overworked, unlike many in the aerospace industries are, and I was (and am) well compensated.
But I wasn't creating anything that could be defined as mine. I never really counted on that aspect of it. Hell, I never considered how much I depended upon that. There's much to be said for setting challenges for oneself and then developing the processes needed to accomplish those challenges. What isn't talked about quite as often is the joy and bliss one can find in successfully addressing the problems that pop up in the course of developing a writing career. Let me give you some examples:
Challenge: How does one go about getting a book published? Answer: Sell them on an idea that the publisher believes they can leverage for a profit.
Challenge: What should a writer do in order to ensure a fair amount of income? Answer: Promote oneself as much as they promote the book. Seek out various forms of media, both pre and post the-dawn-of-the-Internet, and seek out new customers/readers.
Challenge: How do you make yourself happy as a writer? Answer:...
A couple of points on this last question:
- While I don't know the solution to this challenge, I do know how you go about accomplishing the first two challenges directly impacts that solution to the third.
- All three solutions should be in harmony with one another.
- My current theory is that the act of solving the third challenge is the actual solution to the third challenge.
- I may be wrong on point 3, but it might be fun to find out.
And this is where I am currently at. I want to see what it would take for me to be happy when pursuing a writing career. I want to challenge every assumption associated with it.