Saturday, October 23, 2010

These days, it's not the same.

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.


becomingkate said...

I always wanted to be a writer! But life had other ideas for me,lol.
Have a nice weekend.

aka mag said...

Having read comments you've written, emails you've sent, AND some of your published articles, there is no doubt in my mind that you deserve far more credit than you give yourself in any of those areas. Certainly you deserve to be working writing and being paid well for it. Very well. I'm hoping that the pendulum will swing back soon. That there will be a realization of the drivvle that they have been publishing and that the readers will demand better of publishers.

If you can't PR yourself, give us some ideas on how we can help.

KIT said...

I can't imagine how hard this time must be for you. Wish there was more I could do to help.

Breath-e said...

So...can we help? (See Mag above)

Of course, we are a band of misfits. There may be some beauty in that.

SunTiger MOJO said...

Awesome post. I think every writer has been here at one time or another. These ups and downs you describe are common to the world's most talented artists ...

MrScribbler said...

Yes, Sun Tiger, and they're common to ME as well! ;)