With the exception of emails, blog comments and very occasional posts here, I haven't been doing much writing lately. The reason is not a shortage of subject matter; instead, it's a lack of motivation.
The motivational factor, now vanished, was mainly financial. I spent 24 years being paid for a combination of opinion, research and writing skills. That was a good deal all around (at least as far as I'm concerned): I entertained and educated people, and could buy myself space under a roof, a meal or two and, on rare occasions, the odd useless-but-entertaining gadget.
It's not easy to wean oneself off that kind of situation. When I think about belting out a slew of words, I am brought to a screeching halt by the lack of an audience. Yes, a paying audience; people who work hard to develop skills are generally reluctant to give 'em away for free.
PARENTHETICAL ARROGANT-BUT-WHINY THOUGHT: I sometimes read what my colleagues are writing. Some of them have pretty well-paying gigs, too. I never was one for reading magazines (unless they featured one of my articles!) but I do see various websites, usually of a general-interest nature, where my particular subject is covered. Most of what I see displays adequate talent at best, more often a definite shortage of the kinds of knowledge, common sense and analytical/communication skills that separate professionals from amateurs. But those writers seem to know something I don't, which is how to project an image of competence even when there's nothing to support it. They know how to sell themselves; I'm one of those old-fashioned losers who expected a body of good work to sell me.
Worse, maybe, is that I've fallen behind in my field. A lot of things have happened in that world during the six months or more that I've been separated from it. If, by some miracle, someone were to call and offer me a chance to get back in harness, it'd take me a lot of solid study to get back up to speed. Weeks, maybe months, at a minimum. And I would have to find some way to replace at least some of my lost library on the subject.
I've never understood people who are so driven to write that no little handicap -- like crushing poverty, for example -- can stop them. I admire them, for sure, but that's not how I roll.
I love writing. It's a wonderful craft. But, like any craft, if one is good at it, takes it seriously, devotes time and effort to it, works to hone the skills necessary to be considered a "real" writer, some return should be forthcoming.
In my case, it isn't.
Not that there ever was a flood of spondulix rolling my way. Enough (with some prudence) to survive was about as good as it got. That was sufficient, really.
I'm not even sure why I bring this up again. If I had to guess, I'd say that trying to sell myself -- a good, proven product -- to people who simply aren't buying has worn me out.
When one is worn out, all that's left is crankiness.
I'd love to be writing again. I miss it in a very essential, deep-in-the-gut way. I still have plenty to say. And I can say it better than those who have read only my blog, emails and comments can know.
But I'd also like to get something back. Appreciation ain't enough, Jim. Bring money.
1 hour ago