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Friday, January 31, 2014

Never Say Never

For a very long time, going way back to childhood, I thought I could be a writer. I dreamed of writing books and having them published and maybe even make a living at it.

In adulthood, I gave it a real go, writing books and hoping to get them published. If it gets published, people read it, right? I feel fortunate to have started my endeavors just as e-publishing began to take off in a big way. Suddenly, getting published was an easier thing to accomplish. Makes sense. With e-books, a publisher doesn't need to judge manuscripts based on how many copies they might sell or worry about warehousing unsold books or how to promote and advertise, etc., not to mention author advances which might never be equalized with sales. In the old days of print-only, this meant that readers never saw some really good books because what would sell took precedence over what was good and was determined by a handful of people. Now, it's a new world where books get to readers in numbers once unimaginable. This is a two-edged sword, however, in that the book-buying dollars of the public are now spread among many more books.

Anyway, I achieved my goal. I wrote books, got them published, and even sold a few. But reality has come a-knocking on the door of my conscience. My expenditures in the name of promoting my published works has outstripped income from them by a factor that makes me cringe. I think ten-fold might be understating it. Paid advertising, brochures, business cards, membership fees, conferences and fairs, supplies, and hours upon hours of writing, editing, polishing, proofing, cover designing, and online promotion. In short, it's less a living than an expensive hobby. Added to that, I looked around at the rest of my life and saw rampant neglect. In the face of these realizations, the last time I opened my in-progress ms. to work on it in early December, I stared at the screen and asked myself, why do this? All the time, effort, and expense seemed like a waste. The situation became intolerable and had to change.

My plan is to resurrect my Information Technology career, and this will absorb much of my time going forward. My free time will be devoted to attending to all those facets of life I let slide while I chased my dream.

Have I quit being a writer? I don't know that that is something one can quit. The urge to spin stories is wired into the brain, I think. Will I ever write for publication again? Who can say? Never say never. (Oops, I just said it.)